How Tennis Court Surface Affects the Game

The general idea of a tennis court is a rectangular surface with a single net stretch across the center of the court. Sometimes the court is grass, clay or concrete. Every tennis player knows that the surface of the tennis court impacts the game. The four main types of surfaces include clay courts, grass courts, and hard courts or Rebound Ace.

Clay Tennis Courts
The clay material used for tennis courts is actually a combination of crushed stone, rubber and various types of plastics. The amount of speed is reduced when the ball bounces and players are able to 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 occurs on clay surfaces due to the looseness. The foundation of a clay court is actually concrete, which makes for a smooth surface. Balls with greater spin that bounce in deep into the opponent's court allow for more wins. The French Open is played on clay courts.

Grass Tennis Courts
Grass is less popular for tennis courts than it used to be. Grass courts are constructed using actual grass but flattened out. The foundation is a firm layer of soil. Like clay courts, grass also requires more maintenance for evening out. Major tournaments used to be played on grass courts, but Wimbledon is now the only one played on grass courts. Grass is less smooth compared to clay surfaces, which makes the bounce less consistent. Usually, the ball bounces lower and faster, allowing for more quick and low shots.

Hard Courts (Concrete)
Hard courts or concrete courts are the most common types of surfaces for tennis. 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. Injuries are also more common on hard courts or rebound ace than any other. 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, there is a degree of maintenance involved in order to have a successful game. While Clay courts and grass courts require regular care, concrete courts are maintained about once a year. Not every tennis court is the same and the outcome of a game can really be affected by the type of surface.