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SMASHER
04-21-2005, 09:08 AM
Hello mates!

Last night I got a chance to watch some of the Houston Clay Court Tourney on the tennis channel. After watching the Monte Carlo tourney, I was not impressed at all of the Texas event.
First question is how can they turn a hard court into a red clay surface. Is there a difference from the European clay. Also the quality of play. It seemed that the Americans had a hard time on it. Roddick seemed like a fish out of water. To his credit his kick serve was vicious. But the match was pretty plain. Just my opinion. I really don't see any American winning the FO. Why is clay so unpopular, and why didn't more American players play in Monte Carlo to tune up for the FO.

Andy Hewitt
04-21-2005, 09:12 AM
That IS European red clay!

Vlad
04-21-2005, 09:19 AM
Hello mates!

Last night I got a chance to watch some of the Houston Clay Court Tourney on the tennis channel. After watching the Monte Carlo tourney, I was not impressed at all of the Texas event.
First question is how can they turn a hard court into a red clay surface. Is there a difference from the European clay. Also the quality of play. It seemed that the Americans had a hard time on it. Roddick seemed like a fish out of water. To his credit his kick serve was vicious. But the match was pretty plain. Just my opinion. I really don't see any American winning the FO. Why is clay so unpopular, and why didn't more American players play in Monte Carlo to tune up for the FO.

Monte Carlo is relatively early in the season and Americans know that they have no chance of doing well in it, so they just don't come, but rather stay with their families in US. More players will show up for Rome and Hamburg however, but still don't expect them to do so well..

Craig Sheppard
04-21-2005, 09:37 AM
That IS European red clay!
Yes, last night on the broadcast one of the announcers clearly stated they shipped in the exact red clay from Roland Garros and tried to make an exactly copy of the court surface there.

What I want to know is--how the heck did they do that? I guess RG must have a supplier and they just bought it from them? Must be hard to build a clay court on top of a hard court....

rhubarb
04-21-2005, 09:40 AM
I'm sure I read that RG gets its clay from Italy. Perhaps Mattress Mac does too...
I think they dig up the main court to change the surface rather than laying it on top each time - they must have been changing it at least twice a year to accommodate this tournament and the TMC. Wasn't there a news story earlier in the week reporting that they didn't have it ready in time, and the players had to practise on green clay instead?

tennis*bill
04-21-2005, 10:02 AM
It is the same red clay from Europe. However, this year the maintenance crew that put together the clay courts from the last few years was unavailable and the court was done by locals. It has been obvious from the first day the court has problems. They did not allow enough time to setup the courts. The hard courts from the Masters were totally removed to make way for the clay courts. It's a shame the courts are in such sad condition. It's obvious the players don't like it. I've been there most of the week so far and the bounces are very unpredictable. There are dead/soft spots where the ball doesn't even bounce, to hard spots where it takes off in any direction. I know clay doesn't give true bounces like hard courts, but this is way out there.

The players even gave the tournament an award before it started. Bet they wish they could take it back now. It's still a great tournament for us in Houston, but they will get bad reviews for the court conditions.

Kevin Patrick
04-21-2005, 10:09 AM
Maurice Lambri, the man in charge of the project for the company, Supersol, and his men lived here for weeks. Fifty-two containers full of limestone subsoil and hundreds of bags of the crushed brick clay had to be shipped from France to the Port of Houston. Then, when the first conversion from the Masters Cup cement back to clay was necessary, the Supersol team returned en masse.

But this year the gents weren't able to come, McIngvale said. So Westside tackled the job in house, and things went badly from the beginning.

"It's a very complicated process," McIngvale said, "much moreso than the green clay requires. We have some of those (courts), too, so we know."

The red clay also hasn't been the star magnet the McIngvales had hoped as none of the super-elite European clay-court specialists have yet deigned to play Houston.

"We're not getting players because of the red clay, so it's probably time to rethink what's best for us and for the tournament," McIngvale said.

Which isn't called the U.S. Men's Red Clay Court Championships.

more at:

http://www.chron.com/cs/CDA/ssistory.mpl/sports/ten/3145805

Craig Sheppard
04-21-2005, 10:43 AM
Excellent article Kevin, thanks. Had no idea there was such a difference between red & green clay (I've only played on red once a long time ago)... The Macs really spared no expense in the past it seems--flying those guys in, that's almost nuts.

Jill
04-21-2005, 11:48 AM
Sounds like it's gonna be green clay next year.... really dumb

gugafanatic
04-21-2005, 03:38 PM
I belive James Blake may be at surprise clay court threat.

baseliner
04-22-2005, 04:54 AM
Hard to believe there is only one crew worldwide able to install and maintain a red clay court. Saw some of the matches on TTC and the bounces are affecting the matches. I am not a groundskeeper but can't you drag and roll the courts to get consistency? Won't they improve as the tourney goes on? I for one would hate to see the one red clay event in the US go green.

Marius_Hancu
04-22-2005, 05:54 AM
Hard to believe there is only one crew worldwide able to install and maintain a red clay court. Saw some of the matches on TTC and the bounces are affecting the matches. I am not a groundskeeper but can't you drag and roll the courts to get consistency? Won't they improve as the tourney goes on? I for one would hate to see the one red clay event in the US go green.

There are much less expensive crews all over Eastern Europe and just as good.

But if Houston wanted the particular team dealing with RG ...

Also, I don't think one should try make the courts interchangeable from HC to clay. That's simply a no-no in terms of destabilizing the soil bed and the underlying layers.

Rabbit
04-22-2005, 06:00 AM
It should also be noted that the club has a bunch of red clay courts, not just the one they set up for the tournament. The club has courts that match every Grand Slam surface available for play.

baseliner
04-22-2005, 08:25 AM
Based on Marius hancu response (which is logical and I assumed in my rhetorical question), looks like Mattress Mack screwed up royally on getting the court installed. Clearly this mistake should not signal the end of the red clay court's for the tourney.

Jill
04-22-2005, 08:34 AM
Based on Marius hancu response (which is logical and I assumed in my rhetorical question), looks like Mattress Mack screwed up royally on getting the court installed. Clearly this mistake should not signal the end of the red clay court's for the tourney.Mack prided himself in having the only tennis club in the US that had real red claycourts exactly the same as at Roland Garros and laid down and maintained by the same exact French crew. That crew was UNABLE to come this year (from everything I can gather, it was not Mack's fault) and it created the problems. Now, they've realized that green clay is easier, plus having the RG red clay is not attracting the caliber of claycourters they were hoping it would (gee, I wonder why!?). Mack is a smart businessman, he will make the decision that he feels is best financially, it's pretty much the only way he thinks, it seems.

If he thinks he can still get his big American stars and save a lot of money by switching to green clay, that's what he'll do - even if it's bad for the guys who seemingly refuse to stop playing this tourney and also for the tournament itself which retained what little pride it had by actually being a red clay tourney.

Free_Martha
04-22-2005, 09:39 AM
My guess is that the Americans would rather play a home tournament than fly a few thousand miles away to Europe and then fly back after the first round.