Generally, tennis court surfaces are rectangular with a single net stretch across the center of the court. Sometimes, the court can be of grass, clay, or concrete. Every tennis player knows that the surface of the tennis court impacts the game. Each surface has its qualities that take an effect on the overall game. The four main types of surfaces include clay courts, grass courts, and hard courts, or Carpet courts.
Clay Tennis Courts
The clay material used for tennis court surfaces is a combination of crushed stone, rubber, and various types of plastics. Although they are the most expensive and require high maintenance, clay courts are more smooth and consistent. When the ball bounces, the speed of the ball reduces and players can have longer rallies. Experienced baseline players have an advantage as a result, while serve-and-volley players experience reduced power when the ball bounces on the opponent’s side. Sliding and skidding occur on clay surfaces due to the looseness. The foundation of a clay court is concrete, which makes for a smooth surface. Balls with a greater spin that bounce in deep into the opponent’s court allow for more wins. The French Open uses the clay courts.
Grass Tennis Courts
The grass is less popular for tennis courts than others. Grass courts are comprised of actual grass that is flattened out. The foundation is a firm layer of soil. Like clay courts, grass also requires more maintenance for evening out. Major tournaments use grass courts except for Wimbledonwhoich uses grass courts. The grass is less smooth unlike clay surfaces, which makes them bounce less consistent. Usually, the ball bounces lower and faster, allowing for more quick and low shots.
Longer rallies are more difficult to achieve. A variety of shots played is also a helpful tactic to be at an advantage over the opponent.
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Hard Courts (Concrete)
Hard courts or concrete courts are the most common types of surfaces for tennis. They are made of concrete, which is often combined with asphalt or some type of rubber. These courts are often called Rebound Ace courts, which is firm material containing a mixture of asphalt or concrete and sand. The surface contains a layer of acrylic paint or a synthetic substance. The more the sand, the less the speed the ball will have. The amount of sand also determines the friction on the surfaces. The ball will have more of a grip and the ball will slide less.
These courts require the least maintenance and are flat and firm. Bounces are consistent and predictable. Those who play with speed and hard-hits have an advantage with concrete courts. However, hard courts are generally compatible with any playing style and level. Hard courts also record more injuries cases or rebound ace than any other. The U.S. Open and the Australian Open are the two professional tournaments that use the hardcourts.
Carpet Tennis Courts
Literarily, carpet used to refer to any type of adjustable surface material used to cover the soil. In tennis, a thick synthetic rubber covering can be used on tennis surfaces especially in the indoor arena. However, in 2009, ATP disallows this type of court surface as it isn’t professional. Typically, it makes the ball move faster and the tennis ball will have a low bounce.
Certain tennis court surfaces are an advantage for certain playing styles and can be a disadvantage for others. Whether the court is clay, grass, or concrete, the tennis court surfaces require a degree of maintenance to have a successful game. While Clay courts and grass courts require regular care, concrete courts are relatively sturdy. Not every tennis court is the same and the outcome of a game can be affected by the type of surface. Players must be aware of the surface to be able to adjust their game style accordingly.