Tennis ball and racquet on the court

A Guide to Tennis Court Surfaces

Tennis is an indoor and outdoor sport and one of the most popular in the world! Tennis was initially played by the aristocrats and was called court tennis in the USA; in France, it is called Jeu de Paume and in Australia, it is called Royal Tennis. In Great Britain, it was called Real Tennis and today is known as Lawn Tennis.

The tennis court is rectangular in shape and divided into two equal halves by the net that lies horizontally across the middle of the court. The length of the court is 23.77m long, the width varies, for singles—it is 8.23 m wide and 10.97m wide for doubles matches.

Types of Tennis Court Surfaces:

  • Clay – red, green
  • Hard
  • Grass
  • Indoor

Red clay courts are made of compressed brick particles and are covered with a layer of loose particles. This kind of court is common in Europe and South America. The French Open is played on a red clay court. The other kind is a green clay court, which is similar to a red clay except for Har-Tru(C) or American Clay is used to make the underlying bed and is then covered with red clay. Green clay courts are mostly found in the Eastern and Southern parts of United States.

Hard Courts are made of plastic, asphalt and concrete – an advantage for people who play speedy games and like to hit the ball hard. The US Open is played on a hardcourt surface and these are quite common in West America and California. The Australian Open is played on a Rebound Ace—a synthetic hardcourt. The difference between the Rebound Ace and the ordinary hardcourt is the degree of hardness. Rebound Ace is softer as a result of which when the ball bounces the first time its speed decreases. The speed and friction also depend on the materials used to prepare the top layer of the court.

Grass courts are used at Wimbledon and can be made of synthetic or natural grass—the bounce of the ball is dependent on the quality of grass. Synthetic grass court is similar to Astroturf used for football matches. Grass courts are expensive to maintain, the ball does not bounce well but takes on a good pace.