Tennis court surfaces are an important part of tennis and its history. Like no other sport, tennis is played on lots of different surfaces. And each surface completely changes the look, feel and speed of the game, which affects everything from the tactics used to how players move around the court and even how shots are played. This is why the French Open which is played on red clay, is a completely different game to Wimbledon which is played on grass. So, whether you are an Us Open player or Wimbledon performer – let me help you be better prepared for your next game. Let me get you through the differences between clay and synthetic grass surfaces.
Clay courts are made from crushed natural stone. Typically, they are built in five layers, with larger particles at the base, decreasing to a fine top dressing on the surface. There are many types of clay court, made from a range of materials. Some common clay tennis court construction ones are:
- Red Clay: Made from red brick dust. These are the most popular clay courts worldwide.
- Green Clay: Crushed basalt
- Grey Clay: Natural grey clay
- En Tout Cas: Crushed brick surface with a more granular appearance than other clay. En Tout Cas is French for ‘in any case’ or ‘in any weather’.
- Antbed: Made from disused anthill or termite mounds which have been broken apart, watered and flattened. Most of the tennis courts in Australia until the 1960s were ant bed courts. Rod Laver, Roy Emerson and many other champions trained on them. Many of the courts in Australia until the 1960s were ant bed courts.
Clay is one of the slowest surface types. The gritty, soft surface slows down the ball, produces a high bounce and magnifies any topspin on the ball.
The loose clay surface requires a different approach to moving around the court than other surfaces. Controlled sliding is an effective way to quickly move to the ball on clay. However, mastering the art of sliding can only come from time spent on the surface.
You are more likely to get an odd bounce on a clay court. This is because sand shifts and gathers around the court during a match. Clay courts are also more affected by the weather, with balls bouncing higher on a dry day and lower on a wet or overcast day.
Artificial or Synthetic grass tennis courts are a common alternative to real grass because of lower maintenance costs. These courts usually have a concrete or asphalt base, covered in a synthetic grass carpet with sand infill. The sand holds the carpet in place, provides a firm playing surface and helps with water drainage.
It is commonly thought that Synthetic grass tends to play at a similar pace to real grass. However, it is difficult to generalize the pace of synthetic grass because it varies a lot between brands and products. The pace of these courts varies based on the amount of sand infill, fiber length and the condition of the courts.
Based on the 83 different artificial tennis courts rated by ITF, their pace covers the full spectrum from slow through to fast. However, most of these courts (81%), range from a medium to fast pace, with 81% of the courts falling in this range.
- Slow: 2%
- Medium-slow: 17%
- Medium: 34%
- Medium-fast: 27%
- Fast: 20%
A sandy top coat makes synthetic grass courts more slippery than traditional grass courts. Where there is enough sand infill on the court, players often slide on the surface like a clay court.
Synthetic grass courts tend to play fairly consistently. This is because the ball bounce can be affected by sand shifting and gathering around the court during a match.
Consider the above factors and make an educated decision when it comes to choose the right tennis court surface between the clay and synthetic grass surface. When you choose Sport Surfaces as your court construction organization to create your tennis court surface, you know you are getting the best court for your conditions along Palm Beach, Florida’s 1998 expertise. Our team, at Sport Surfaces has expertise to develop and manufacture your synthetic tennis courts as well as clay tennis courts.
We are one of the Most valued Tennis court construction company in Florida and along with Florida you can also hire our construction as well as repair services Miami, Fort Lauderdale, Plantation.