Do Vents in Tennis Windscreens Really Help?

Windscreens help with ball visibility.
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Windscreens on a tennis court are a bit of a misnomer. While they do help somewhat with cross winds, they are there primarily for better ball visibility and to help separate a court from neighboring properties, per Vents are cut into windscreens on tennis courts to allow for air flow and to prevent damage to the fence, and if cut correctly, they do their job.

Windscreens 101

    Windscreens cover the fences surrounding a tennis court. They're usually made of one of three types of material: polyester, polypropylene and polyethylene. Polyester is the most expensive and still considered the gold standard, per, and the new kid on the block polyethylene is the cheapest. Screens come in either open mesh or closed mesh, but unless you live in an area with very little wind, open mesh is recommended to better protect the fence it's covering. Windscreens are usually 6 feet, 9 feet or 12 feet high; 6 footers provide less coverage, but are less susceptible to wind damage and vents aren't necessary. If choosing a taller screen for larger coverage, cutting vents in the screen is a must.

Why Cut Vents?

    The purpose of vents in windscreens is to prevent wind damage to the fences they cover. Vents allow air flow between the screen and the fence. Vents are important especially if you choose 9 foot or taller windscreens that cover the whole fence with a closed-mesh fabric that has very little give.

How to Cut Vents

    According to Welch Tennis, vents should be cut in the windscreen beginning 5 feet from the left edge, approximately every 10 feet. You should also hem your vents to prevent the fabric from fraying.

Advantages of Windscreens

    So if they're not really protecting against wind, what are those screens doing? The sport of tennis requires a lot of concentration and distractions can affect your playing level. The dark-colored windscreens block out whatever is adjacent to the tennis court, which may take your focus away. And against a dark backdrop, the small yellow ball is also considerably more visible.

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