Badminton and Tennis: A Comprehensive Comparison

While the game of tennis has enjoyed tremendous media coverage over the course of the last 40 years or so, badminton has quietly established itself as an entertaining, more recreational sport. Tennis matches can usually be seen on the big screens at most sports bars, whereas badminton matches are much more likely to be seen taking place in someone’s backyard during a graduation party. Regardless of the differing statuses of the two sports, both are enjoyed for different reasons.  Let’s find out why!

Badminton and Tennis A Comprehensive Comparison

A Quick Look at Badminton

Badminton was invented by bored British officers looking for some form of entertainment during the English occupation of India in the mid 1850’s.  They took the concept of an old children’s game known as “battledore and shuttlecock”, which consisted of one very simple rule. The players’ objective was to keep a small object up in the air by using rudimentary racquets fashioned out of animal intestines and laminated wood. The small object was made of cork and adorned with feathers (the official precursor to the “birdie”). A net was added by a few of the British officers and when this happened, the way was officially paved for the version of badminton we know today. Here are some of the basic rules:

  • The game consists of 2 players on one side of the net and 2 players on the other, with each player occupying a square set on the court.
  • To win each rally, one of the teams must reach 21 points.
  • When the birdie hits the ground, the rally is ended and the next player in line to serve then does so. The birdie is passed to the left either to a teammate or to the player immediately opposite them if both players have already served.
  • The game is considered over when one of the sides is the victor 2 rounds out of the 3.

A Quick Look at Tennis

The modern game of tennis that we know today was conceived around the same time as badminton, in the mid 1850’s. Unlike its counterpart, however, tennis actually originated in England. Here are some of the basic rules of modern tennis:

  • The game can be played in either singles or doubles format,
  • It is only the server on either side that can score points.
  • With every point earned, the score progresses in the following order: love, 15, 30, 40.
  • Once one of the players/sides has scored at least 4 points and beaten their opponent by at least 2, they are considered the winner for that game.
  • Tennis matches are played in sets.
  •  In order for a set to be won, one of the players/sides has to be the victor at least 6 games out of 8 while winning at least 2 more games than their opponents.

Most of the best racquets in tennis are known for their commercial endorsement and use by pro tennis players.  Like the lucrative market of designer athletic shoes in basketball or soccer, the racquets are often huge money makers if an athlete uses them on the court. A good example of this is Andre Agassi’s iconic use of the Head TI-S6. I have no doubt that Agassi’s celebrity helped to boost the commercial appeal of that racquet indirectly.So Which Sport Is More Physically Demanding?In order to give an educated opinion, I will be looking at the various physical attributes of both sports.


  • Ball is hit by a tightly strung, solid tennis racquet. A lot of times it doesn’t take much to send the ball rocketing to the other end.
  • There may be more running required from the player due to the size of the court.
  •  The players are granted a rest period every two games
  • Reasonably fast-paced sport
  • Balls are hit at rates of easily 125 miles per hour


  • The games are continuous (no rest period between matches) which can make for physical exhaustion setting in at a much faster rate
  • Lightweight racquets are used to hit the birdie. The player has to have a lot more power behind their swing to get the birdie moving  and therefore requires more effort
  • Players are more likely to chase the birdie all around the court in an effort to return the shot

Postgame Wrap Up

My conclusion. I think badminton has got tennis beat in the strenuousness department. Bear in mind that this is just my opinion and I’m making it based on my observations of the two sports. Nevertheless, both sports are a lot of fun to play and are also immensely beneficial workouts. Just like all soccer moms, you should pack essential with you when you are out to play either of these games. Why not try one of these sports for yourself today?