Throughout the past 30 years, the sport of tennis has changed dramatically. The shapes and materials of rackets have changed, new technologies (like hawk-eye) have been introduced, and even rules have changed. And as the sport changed, players have had to adapt. Tennis players today are stronger, more endurant, faster, and even taller.
Back in the 80’s, it would be crazy to even imagine that one day we would see players taller than 6 feet 5 (195 cm) moving all over the court and enduring 5-hour matches. However, this has become a common sight on the ATP tour today. In fact, 4 out of the top 10 ATP players are taller than 6 feet 5. In addition, 13 out of the top 50 players (26%) are taller than the same mark. So as we can see, taller tennis players are finding increasing success and height is playing a stronger role in tennis year after year. But at what point does height begin to help a player’s game?
In order to answer that question, we’ll start by answering another question – what is the average height of professional tennis players on the ATP? As of 2019, the average height of the top 500 male tennis players in the world is 185.5 centimeters (or 6-feet-1). As you can see in the chart below, 222 of the top 500 players measure between 183 cm to 188 cm, so that can be considered to be the average height of professional tennis players.
The average height of the top 10 players is 190.9 cm (6-feet-3), while the average height for the players ranked between 401 – 500 is only 183.5 cm (6 feet). As you can see, there’s a significant difference in height between players of different rankings, so we will explore that a little further. Below, we will cover the heights of different ranking “zones”, and eventually come up with the ideal height for tennis players.
Top 10 – Average Height of Professional Tennis Players
In 2019, the average height of the top 10 ATP players is 190.9 cm (6’3), a surprising 6.3 cm (3 inches) taller than the average player ranked between the top 50 and 100. While Djokovic, Federer, and Nadal are not extremely tall, new players in the top 10 like Alexander Zverev, Mateo Berrettini, Karen Khachanov, and Daniil Medvedev are all taller than 196 cm (6’5) – which brings the whole top 10 average to the previously mentioned 190.9 cm.
As of November 2019, the shortest top 10 players is Roberto Bautista Agut, who measures 183 cm (6 feet). On the other hand, the tallest players are Zverev, Khachanov, and Medvedev, all at 198 cm (6’6).
Below you can see a chart representing the height of the top 10 players.
Top 11 – 25 – Average Height of Professional Tennis Players
The players in the next section of the ranking is actually quite shorter than the top 10. The average height of the players ranked #11 to #25 is 186.9 cm (6’1), a total of 4 centimeters (1.5 inches) shorter than the top 10. However, the difference between the two groups is normally not that significant. Currently, some relatively short players (Nishikori, Fognini, and Goffin) are ranked just outside the top 10, and if they once again enter the top 10, they will make the height difference smaller.
As of November 2019, the shortest player ranked between #11 and #25 is Diego Schwartzmann, who is 170 cm (5’7) tall. On the other end of the spectrum is John Isner, who measures 208 cm (6’10).
The chart below shows the height for the players ranked in this range.
Top 26 – 50 – Average Height of Professional Tennis Players
Players ranked between #26 and #50 in the ATP rankings measure on average 189.3 cm (6’2). Interestingly, they are shorter than the average top 10 but taller than the players ranked 11-25. Some of the tallest players are ranked in this range, like Reily Opelka and Kevin Anderson.
The tallest player in this ranking range is Reily Opelka, who measures an astounding 211 cm (6’11). In comparison, the shortest players in this range are Daniel Evans and Radu Albot (175 cm / 5’9), a striking 36 cm (14 inches) shorter than Opelka.
You can see the height of the players in the chart below.
Top 51 – 75 – Average Height of Professional Tennis Players
|Average Height:||184.3 cm / 6 feet|
|Tallest Player:||Lorenzo Sonego and Andreas Seppi (191 cm / 6 feet 3)|
|Shortest Player:||Yoshihito Nishioka (170 cm / 5 feet 7)|
Top 76 – 100 – Average Height of Professional Tennis Players
|Average Height:||184.9 cm / 6 feet 1|
|Tallest Player:||Nicolas Jarry (198 cm / 6 feet 6)|
|Shortest Player:||Corentin Moutet and Damir Dzumhur (175 cm / 5 feet 9)|
Top 101 – 150 – Average Height of Professional Tennis Players
|Average Height:||185.5 cm / 6 feet 1|
|Tallest Player:||Ivo Karlovic (211 cm / 6 feet 11)|
|Shortest Player:||Thomas Fabbiano (173 cm / 5 feet 8)|
Top 151 – 200 – Average Height of Professional Tennis Players
|Average Height:||187.8 cm / 6 feet 2|
|Tallest Player:||Danilo Petrovic (203 cm / 6 feet 8)|
|Shortest Player:||Steve Darcis (175 cm / 5 feet 9)|
Top 201 – 300 – Average Height of Professional Tennis Players
|Average Height:||184.4 cm / 6 feet|
|Tallest Player:||Christopher Eubanks (201 cm / 6 feet 7)|
|Shortest Player:||Horoki Moriya, Roberto Ortega-Olmedo, and Shuichi Sekiguchi (168 cm / 5 feet 6)|
Top 301 – 400 – Average Height of Professional Tennis Players
|Average Height:||184.8 cm / 6 feet|
|Tallest Player:||Michael Redlicki (203 cm / 6 feet 8)|
|Shortest Player:||Yuta Shimizu (163 cm / 5 feet 4)|
Top 401 – 500 – Average Height of Professional Tennis Players
|Average Height:||184.2 cm / 6 feet|
|Tallest Player:||Louis Wessels, Benjamin Lock, Tobias Simon (198 cm / 6 feet 6)|
|Shortest Player:||Evan Furness, Sebastian Baez, Yusuke Takahashi, Johan Nikles (170 cm / 5 feet 7)|
Does Height Matter in Tennis?
As you were able to see, the height of professional tennis players is all over the place. You have successful players who measure 211 cm and others who measure 170 cm. Shorter players generally tend to move better, but taller players can serve faster and will get more angles. One is not necessarily better than the other, but we shouldn’t go as far as to say that height does not matter in tennis. While it is possible to succeed even if you are short, based on the analysis of the numbers above, it seems that the optimal height for playing professional tennis is between 185 and 190 cm.
The chart below compares the average height of players in different ranking ranges. As you can see, the trend is that the higher the ranking goes, the tallest players are.
Who is the Shortest ATP Tennis Player?
Just to add some fun facts at the end of this article, I wanted to come up with a list of the 10 shortest players in the top 500 of the ATP rankings. Here they are:
- Yuta Shimizu (#367) – 163 cm
- Hiroki Moriya (#224) – 168 cm
- Roberto Ortega Olmedo (#248) – 168 cm
- Shuichi Sekiguchi (#272) – 168 cm
- Rio Noguchi (#398) – 168 cm
- Diego Schwartzmann (#15) – 170 cm
- Yoshihito Nishioka (#72) – 170 cm
- Oscar Jose Gutierrez (#371) – 170 cm
- Evan Furness (#407) – 170 cm
- Sebastian Baez (#430) – 170 cm
Who is the Tallest ATP Tennis Player?
On the other end of the spectrum, here is a list of the 10 tallest players on the top 500 of the ATP:
- Reily Opelka (#31) – 211 cm
- Ivo Karlovic (#101) – 211 cm
- John Isner (#17) – 208 cm
- Kevin Anderson (#45) – 203 cm
- Danilo Petrovic (#172) – 203 cm
- Michael Redlicki (#321) – 203 cm
- Christopher Eubanks (#201) – 201 cm
- Daniil Medvedev (#4) – 198 cm
- Alexander Zverev (#6) – 198 cm
- Karen Khachanov (#8) – 198 cm
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