ITF has approved 10 types of surfaces for tennis courts including Acrylic/Polyurethane, Artificial Clay, Artificial Grass, Asphalt, Carpet, Concrete, Grass, Hybrid Clay and others( Modular Systems (tiles), Wood, Canvas ets.). Among these surfaces four major surfaces are used to construct a tennis court venue i.e. Clay Court, Carpet Court, Grass Court and Hard Court.
Clay Court- Red Clay Court
Untill late 19th century 7times wimbledon champion player William Renshaw- came to save the tennis lawn grass from scorching while playing & sun-burning to pour powder of clay pots on grass. It became first red tennis court and later it was ammended.
It’s made of crushed small size stone, bricks shal, red brick dust or coal residue called clonker. It’s easy and low cost solution to play tennis but at the smae time it’s hard to maintain this as it costs more.
One of Grand Slam tournaments French Open tennis use this surface only. Once US open was also played on this from 1975-1977.
A reason that why this court is madeup of shales or crushed stone is that it slows down the ball and bounce high as compared with other courts. That’s why it difficult for players to play on it.It’s popular in regions like Latin America, North America & Europe.
Green Clay Courts
Clay court and Green clay court are not only visually different but also have different conditions for players. This court is popular in USA (Eastern & Southern) and made form volcanic rock or crushed basalt. Which tends to ball on this court travels or bounce faster. While the red clay court’s surface gripes the ball and bounce it back slowly. Red clay courts are mostly found in European region. Green clay court is branded as Har-Tru or Rubico as well in some regions.
As children grows up while playing on different surface courts. Which makes them strong or weaker on different type of surfaces. Accordingly weather it’s green or red clay court for some people it’s advantage or disadvantage.
After the game this court requires to maintain to brush to dislocated and redistribute it on court which makes surface dry. So to play better next time it’s watered to avoid cracking surface. Rolling is also helpful to keep surface smooth and in optimal condition.
Professional Tounamentes & Players on Clay Courts
It’s important to know that how professional players played on these courts professional tournaments to know them better. A clay court professional / expert can be termed as on who had won majority titles on clay and play more drop shots as rallies on court push players away form baseline making them hard to play like other surfaces.
Players: Some players are believed to be clay specialist Juan Carlos Ferrero, Thomas Muster and Gustavo Kuerten. Majority clay court and French Open champions are Sergi Bruguera, Albert Costa and Gastón Gaudio. While female players are very less who has titles or good results in clay courts. Among top clay courts are Rafael Nadalm Rogger Federer and Justine Henin.
Primarily three clay court seasons Winter Clay Season, Winter Clay Season, Spring Clay Season held in a year but not longer than hard court tournaments. Monte Carlo Rolex Masters, Barcelona Open, Rome Master and in Grand Slam the French Open as well are some examples.
Grss court is usually associated with Wimbledon Championship Oldest one the tennis history. It’s played in July First Monday or Last of June. It’s one of the four types of tennis courts Clay, Hard and Carpet. Its orignially know as Lawn tennis court as it’s abovious. Grass is grown on hard soil and due to sleepry grass it’s fastest than other courts.
The ball bounce is dependent to some variables like grass health, Trimming timing and wear & tear of latest matches played. Due to Uneven surface of grass it bounces unpredictably.
Although this court is considered fast but it’s also fact that now a days Racket Technology has changed the pace of game. As in past when players used to play with wooden rackets there tend to be interesting matches due to inconsistent grass surface.
Now new rackets are powerful than wooden which tends to make match one-dimensional. Many surfaces have been emerged recently as mentioned earlier that makes it difficult to play on grass.
It’s most popular in Britain and somehow exists in Northeastern United States as well.
Grass is difficult to maintain as it involves many factors like growth, Humidity (Dew/Rain/Watering etc.). It’s difficult to play when it rains and have to left it for latest one day to become playable or use some suitable covers.
Most Sucessful Players on Grass Courts
Despite the fact some players find it difficult to play. One famous Spanish player Carlos Moya has commented that “Grass is for cows to eat, not for tennis.’ He is clay court specialist. Many players have performed wonders on these courts. Some most successful player whom everyone has at least have won 5 Grand Slam singles titles are Billie Jean King, Björn Borg, Chris Evert, Evonne Goolagong Cawley, John Newcombe, Margaret Court, Martina Navratilova, Novak Djokovic, Pete Sampras, Rod Laver, Roger Federer, Serena Williams, Steffi Graf and Venus Williams.
In females most successful player remained Serena Williams by winnig seven Wimbledon single titles and her sister Venus Williams five. Roger Federer is considered most successful player in males after Pete Sampras. Roger Fedrer has won 19 grass court titles in open Era.
Professional Grass Court Tournaments
Many professional tournaments are played on grass courts including Wimbledon a grand slam, Hall of Fame Tennis Championships, Stuttgart Open, summer season ATP 250 & 500 and WTA Mallorca tour. These tournaments are short term consisting of week or 2 weeks time.
It’s very common and easy to maintain court. Hard court is a surface made up from concrete or asphalt covered by an acrylic material to protect and lock the surface. Underneath of the surface sand is filled on top of concrete/asphalt. Speed of ball lays between clay and grass courts and players tend to play on it of both surfaces . As ball travels in between the speed of Grass and Clay courts and bounce is high and most importantly predictable-easy to control, obviously due to hard surface.
When ball has high bounce then players are able to apply spin, so flat balls are used to play quick style. Bounce back speed depends on sand quantity and is reduced. Tennis experts have the opinion that this court favour the players who have good serves and for base liners.
How to Maintain Hard Court?
As it’s easy to maintain due to controlbility of surface and material that’s why many techniques are followed. Goal of maintainance should be that playbility of surface remain for long time.
- No play while any debris is on surface.
- Surface should be cleaned once in week or before it breaks down by cleansweap machine ( Leaf Blower, Vacuum Machines & pedestrian power brushes etc) and pressure washing to improve foot grip with cleaning solution. Ant Slip paints can also improve the safety and play quality.
- There should be algaecide and moss-killer sprays regularly on court and dead moss must be removed to avoid any winter sponge. Which can absorb water and while low temperature can break asphalt up.
Professional Tennis Tournaments on Hard Courts
From Grand Slams the Australian Open & French Open are played of hard courts. Some try out or practice games are played in USA as well.
Carpet Courts / Synthetic Court
It’s indoor type court where indoor events are organized. Carpet is defined by ITF (International Tennis Federation) as “Textile surface of woven or non-woven nylon, or a polymeric or rubber material, typically supplied in rolls or sheets” . It’s removable material cover which varies in terms of thickness & texture. According to material ball bounce varies fast to low resembling real grass courts. But these courts are banned by ATP in 2009 and by WTA in 2018.
Types of Carpet Court
This court falls in two categories Indoor & Outdoor. Indoor courts has textile surface of rubber or nylon matting covering the concrete base. While outdoor court uses artificial turf filled with sand. Its became famous back in 1980’s due to low cost and easy to maintain as compared to grass.
International & Professional Tournaments
As discussed earlier it was banned from professional tournaments but back some years many tournaments used to play on it. For example ECC Antwerp, Kremlin Cup, Paris Masters, U.S. Pro Indoor, WCT Finals and Zagreb Indoors used to play on these courts. ATP banned this court due to increasing injury cases and criticism from professionals.