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View Full Version : My first experience on clay...


Falloutjr
07-20-2010, 04:52 AM
So yeah, yesterday I was playing in a B18s tournament. On the USTA site, the tournament was listed as a hard indoor tournament, so I didn't think much of it. I get in the building, check in, and pick up my shirt, and see a bunch of girls playing on hard courts about an hour before my match is scheduled to begin. I hung out in the lobby until my opponent called for me as he walked past to go check in. Me and him walk down to the tournament director to find out which court we're playing on, and he says court 2 outside. My first thought was "Well, I thought it was going to be indoors, but I suppose an outdoor court isn't too bad either". I follow my opponent to the courts and wouldn't you know it? When we get there, there's about 20 Har-Tru clay courts and I didn't believe it. I felt like I had been completely duped. And NATURALLY my opponent went to school right down the street from the club and lived in the immediate area; one of the employees of the pro shop said he comes up there and plays on those courts all the time. He won rather easily, he was a good clay court player and I obviously am not. My footwork fell to pieces. Tried to slide but failed, it was like a hard court with a layer of dirt on it. Not one of my more enjoyable tournament experiences to say the least. Anyone have any experiences like this? Feel free to share :D

aceX
07-20-2010, 05:01 AM
I've never played on clay... when you push off at an angle was it difficult to find traction?

Falloutjr
07-20-2010, 05:11 AM
I've never played on clay... when you push off at an angle was it difficult to find traction?

Most definitely. On hard courts, I usually push off my opposite foot hard to start sprinting to the ball, but if I tried it on the clay, I would slip; my speed was severely crippled. If he moved me from side to side with something as simple as a 21 or a 31, I was doomed. He also hit about 8 or 9 drop shots, and I only managed to get about 2 just because I usually play about 4 or 5 feet behind the baseline and his drops were good, but on a hard court I could've gotten them. I couldn't sprint as much I wanted to because I was scared I would fall. I would try, but they would usually be a couple feet too far out of my reach on the second bounce. It was like the first time I played on carpet, almost. Wasn't used to the slick surface and quick pace, but once I got better at it, I could play decent on it. Guess next time I'll be more prepared.

aceX
07-20-2010, 05:14 AM
Sounds crazy dude, thanks for the description I can see it in my minds eye. Sounds like trying to play on a wood floor with socks on.

pricey_aus
07-20-2010, 05:16 AM
how good does playing behind the person instead of going into the open court work.

Falloutjr
07-20-2010, 05:16 AM
Sounds crazy dude, thanks for the description I can see it in my minds eye. Sounds like trying to play on a wood floor with socks on.

Well it wasn't quite THAT bad, but it was enough of a changeup to where I didn't quite play like myself or feel comfortable.

Falloutjr
07-20-2010, 05:17 AM
how good does playing behind the person instead of going into the open court work.

I don't think I follow, could you rephrase that?

pricey_aus
07-20-2010, 05:19 AM
instead of hitting the ball into the open court when playing on clay, i find it far more effective too play behind the person.

changing direction is so hard on clay, that most people (except maybe nadal) cannot change direction effectively enough to get a decent shot on the ball behind them.

Falloutjr
07-20-2010, 05:27 AM
instead of hitting the ball into the open court when playing on clay, i find it far more effective too play behind the person.

changing direction is so hard on clay, that most people (except maybe nadal) cannot change direction effectively enough to get a decent shot on the ball behind them.

Ah, I see. Yeah, that was the one bright spot on the day. I usually don't change direction as much as other players, I usually push people back with deep topspin. This gave me some weak balls down the center of the court. When it was my turn on offense, I hit my loopy topspin shots back on his baseline, and made him his his big aggressive forehand on the rise, and usually drew an error from him in this circumstance, but I do that on hard courts anyways, so it wasn't anything new, my balls did bounce just a tad bit higher though, which I found to be useful. I was just nervous to hit into the open court unless it was a really easy chance for a winner. I knew if he started moving me around, I wouldn't win the point. Couldn't afford to let him decide where he wanted to go with the ball on a regular basis so I hit down the middle to cut my run distance for both DTL and CC. I had to make him a pusher basically. When I did make him push, I did well, but I couldn't do it on a regular basis. He served pretty well and he followed his serve with a big forehand when I didn't get a clean strike on the ball. Didn't serve particularly well either, I probably served around 45% for the match on first serve, so he had a lot of options to come for me. The only thing I did particularly well was hit spins, which he struggled with, but again, didn't get him out of offense enough to do it. Once he got a chance to go on offense, the point was over.

muzza123
07-20-2010, 05:29 AM
*thinly veiled "Nadal is GOAT" thread* ;)

But whatever you do, don't tell Bud or davey25, OK?

Falloutjr
07-20-2010, 05:30 AM
*thinly veiled "Nadal is GOAT" thread* ;)

But whatever you do, don't tell Bud or davey25, OK?

Oh gosh, now my thread is gonna turn into a *******-******* debate. Thanks :O

muzza123
07-20-2010, 05:31 AM
Oh gosh, now my thread is gonna turn into a *******-******* debate. Thanks :O

I told you to stay quiet!

Slazenger07
07-20-2010, 11:20 AM
Thats really weird man, if they had hard courts there and the tournament said the surface was hard you should have made more noise about having to play on clay, as this put you at an immediate disadvantage. In any other situation Id be happy to play on clay, in my limited exposure to it I enjoyed it alot. In this case though, that's not cool

jswinf
07-20-2010, 01:47 PM
Probably makes you wonder if the fix was in, if your opponent from down the street got an earlier look at the schedule and said "those indoor courts are really busy, why not put my match on one of the outside ones?"

But isn't it good to get some experience playing on clay? Probably come in handy someday.

Falloutjr
07-21-2010, 12:01 PM
Probably makes you wonder if the fix was in, if your opponent from down the street got an earlier look at the schedule and said "those indoor courts are really busy, why not put my match on one of the outside ones?"

But isn't it good to get some experience playing on clay? Probably come in handy someday.

Well yeah, my second match on the clay, I did a little better. I didn't slip as much and I did a little better at accelerating. I still got smoked though. It's good that I got some clay experience, I just would've preferred that my first clay experience hadn't been in a tournament like that. I'm not one for conspiracy theories, though. I was just mad about the way the whole thing happened; they didn't say on the website that there was any chance some matches would have to be played on clay. I think the situation threw me off more mentally than mechanically. If they had said that the outdoor courts would've been played on clay, I wouldn't have been upset about it. If it had been on a hard court, my matches definitely would've been more competitive. My first opponent was a 3-time state qualifier, so he obviously is good, and I likely wouldn't have beaten him on a hard court, but I could tell he had a lot more experience on those courts than I did.