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Tennis Court Surfaces

The top professional players compete at high level all round the world in tournaments lasting from the beginning of January to the end of November.

Not only do they have to be supremely fit, they have to get used to playing on different court surfaces. Three of the four Grand Slam Events are played on different surfaces.

The Australian Open is played in January in Melbourne Park where they play on Hard Courts.

The French Open is held at the end of May/beginning of June at the Stade Roland Garros, Paris, and is played on red clay.

The Wimbledon Championships take place the last week of June/first week of July and is the only Grand Slam Tournament to be played on Grass.

The U.S. Open played at Flushing Meadows, New York at the end of August/beginning of September is played on Hard.

The Barclays ATP World Tour Final held annually in November for the top-ranked 8 players in the world is played at the 02 Arena in London on Indoor Hard Courts.

Grass is the fastest surface, although some indoor surfaces such as wood is faster. Fast court surfaces favour big servers, and those who serve and volley, as shorter strokes are easier than long strokes on a fast surface.

The slowest courts are red and green clay. Red clay has a reputation for being the slowest, but green clay might just have the edge. Baseliners and those who play with consistency are best-suited to slow courts.

Hard courts are fast-type courts where hard hitting players have a slight advantage. They vary in speed depending on how much sand has been mixed with the paint, but generally they are faster than clay but not as fast as grass courts.


Red Clay is natural clay, but the other type, like the courts at Roland Garros, has clay made of crushed brick mixed with rubber and other materials. Green clay includes a mixture of stone, rubber and plastics.

The most common hard court is made from asphalt and the second most common is concrete. They are usually coated with some cushioning material ranging from multiple rubberised layers, or just a thin sealer, and special paint.

Another type of court is carpet which can be used indoors or out. This is artificial grass on which sand is sprinkled. Astroturf is commonly used at tennis clubs who find grass courts are too difficult and too expensive to maintain. The disadvantage of Astroturf, which is mainly used for hockey pitches, is it gets slippery in the wet weather if not enough sand has been sprinkled on to it. There are other types of artificial grass available which do not require so much sand.

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