The four tennis majors are all distinctly different based on their court surface. Wimbledon, the oldest and most prestigious tournament in tennis, is played on 100% rye grass, which is considered slower than other grass courts. Clay courts, where the French Open takes place, is made of crushed shale, stone or brick. The US Open is played on acrylic hard courts while the Australian is played on synthetic hard courts.
Clay courts are the best surface for leg health (ankle, knee and hip). The reasoning for this is the fact that clay has the least traction without sudden slips or grabs of the feet. The slower surface is also beneficial for players with heavy topspin (such as Nadal) and makes points last longer, which can lead to better rallies and more enjoyable matches.
Clay Tennis Courts at the French Open
Hard courts benefit the hard-serving player. This type of court, however, calls for a more well rounded strategy. Fast, low bounces keep rallies short and benefit the player looking for a more fast-paced match compared with those who prefer the slowed down action on Clay.
The softness of grass makes it relatively easy on the legs. Grass courts tends to produce shorter points and benefits the serve-and-volley tennis player. Low bounces makes getting under the ball to hit topspin passing shots more difficult, and unpredictable bounces add an incentive to hit the ball in the hair. Slice groundstrokes are also rewarded on grass.
Different types of court surfaces can certainly affect the casual players’ game. If tennis players focus on the fundamentals that they’ve learned with their private and group tennis lessons in Columbus, Ohio at Scarborough East Tennis, they will be able to master any surface!