Courts & Surfaces: Which Side Are you?


The good thing about tennis is its variety of surfaces played either outdoors or indoors. The covering can be in clay (like used in Roland Garros where Rafael Nadal is the king!), in grass (called as Federer’s niche and is used in Wimbledon), in concrete (used in Australian and US Open) and there’s also in polished wood, rubber, carpet and plastic.

The grass court is known as the fast surface where the ball slides and bounces low. “Serve and volley players take advantage of the surface by serving the ball (usually a slice serve because of its effectiveness on grass) and then running to the net to cut off the return of serve, leaving their opponent with little time to reach the low-bouncing, fast-moving ball. Players often hit flatter shots to increase power and allow the ball to travel faster after and before the ball hits the ground.”

Clay surfaces are rough. The movement of the ball is slow but produces higher bounces. “This is because clay courts have more grab and when the ball lands there is more friction pushing against the ball’s horizontal path, therefore slowing it and creating a higher bounce… making it hard for serve-based players to dominate on the surface.”

Hard courts, usually made of asphalt, are considered “medium” surfaces, where fast hard-hitting players have a slight advantage. Hard courts can vary in speed, they are faster than clay but slower than grass courts, which allow the ball to slide. Depending on the amount of sand added to the paint the amount the ball slows down can vary greatly. These courts are considered the most equal for all playing styles.”

“The U.S. Open is played on an acrylic hard court, while the Australian Open is played on a synthetic hardcourt. The main difference between a synthetic hardcourt and a true hardcourt surface is the level of hardness.”

“Indoor Courts — Special surfaces can only be used indoors. Most commonly carpet surfaces, carpet courts vary in playing characteristics due to differences in thickness, texture, and materials used in the base and yarn. Suspended surfaces may be used indoors. The ATP tennis tour also considers rubber surfaces as carpet, such as that of the Paris Masters…It is also the fastest surface, which the ball bounces faster and lower than grass.”

Info source: Wikipedia

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