The Showdown of Tennis Court Surfaces Alexandra McDaniel November 10, 2015 Tennis Skills Depending on where you live, the climate, and your personal coach, you may have started developing your tennis game on one of three surfaces. Clay, grass, and hard court are the three main surfaces that people play on. All three surfaces have different speeds and require players to develop certain strategies in order to be successful. Clay Courts The French Open is played on this surface, and it is considered the slowest of all the surfaces. The ball bounces relatively high, but playing on clay requires a lot of physical exertion from the player. Unlike a hard court, the clay is a lot more slippery and malleable. This can cause players to fall or slip a bit more, so safety is key when playing on clay. Aggressive players usually enjoy playing on this surface as they have extra time to set up for their shots. The clay court also favors players who incorporate a lot of spin into their game. Grass Court This the fastest of the surfaces, and the ball skids the lowest on this kind of court. Wimbledon is associated with grass courts and is also considered the most prestigious of the grand slams. Speed and power are greatly valued on a grass court as the ball rarely reaches past the waist of the player. A serve and volley style of play is extremely efficient on grass, and players like Roger Federer and Venus Williams have been extremely successful by using those tactics. Hard Court Many tournaments including the US Open and the Australian Open are played on hard courts. The basic hard court is a medium to fast court depending on the amount of sand included in the top coat of the court. Hard courts are typically slower than a grass court, but faster than the average clay court. The actual court is usually made from asphalt or concrete which does not allow for too much energy absorption. This results in high-bouncing balls and favors players who prefer to hit heavy flat balls. This court is the most popular out of the three and it is the most readily available one as well. Ultimately whatever court surface you play on, you will be able to adapt your game to its conditions. If you are serious about tennis, you will most likely play on all three surfaces. Each of these surfaces have unique qualities that make them special, however you will most likely favor the court that is most suitable for your individual style of play.