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kevhen
06-02-2005, 07:48 AM
I played on clay (hard tru green) for the first time and here are my observations. The surface can get worn down from others using it and cause for bad bounces. Slices can stay low and short and were trickier to deal with than high topspin balls that you have more time to adjust for the bounce. Dropshots were king. I was like 20/25 on dropshots and didn't hit many of them all winter on a fast surface but used to be a dropshot dragon in my younger years, and found they worked well on clay since you have alot of time to setup for them and clay makes it hard for your opponent to change directions so if you can get them moving the wrong way, it's an easy shot. The speed of clay is slow, maybe slightly slower than gritty hard courts, and my serving was affected but also the wind was affected placement and consistency of my serve. Plus I didn't feel like I could push off the clay as well as on hard court with my legs to hit with as much power as I normally do. I wasn't sliding that much but my legs would tense up as I slid a few inches so it was a great workout for the legs and easy on the body as hitting hard is not usually rewarded. I was at Sea Pines at Hilton Head and ended up playing a 4.5 rated lefty who lives an hour away from my home in Iowa. He beat me 6-4, 6-3. I preferred hitting to his topspin forehand and staying away from his slice backhand. On hard court where the bounces are true I would have done the opposite since he had a pretty big forehand, but I hated those low short slices on clay. I liked clay and my dropshots were a highlight but the rest of my game suffered a little bit and it felt more like a pusher's game than one where you can hit many winners. Going to net was hard too since you opponent had lots of time to pass and footwork can be slippery when going to net. It was a fun experience though and maybe with a better unused court the bounces would have been truer.

Thanatos
06-02-2005, 08:35 AM
I played on clay (hard tru green) for the first time and here are my observations. The surface can get worn down from others using it and cause for bad bounces. Slices can stay low and short and were trickier to deal with than high topspin balls that you have more time to adjust for the bounce. Dropshots were king. I was like 20/25 on dropshots and didn't hit many of them all winter on a fast surface but used to be a dropshot dragon in my younger years, and found they worked well on clay since you have alot of time to setup for them and clay makes it hard for your opponent to change directions so if you can get them moving the wrong way, it's an easy shot. The speed of clay is slow, maybe slightly slower than gritty hard courts, and my serving was affected but also the wind was affected placement and consistency of my serve. Plus I didn't feel like I could push off the clay as well as on hard court with my legs to hit with as much power as I normally do. I wasn't sliding that much but my legs would tense up as I slid a few inches so it was a great workout for the legs and easy on the body as hitting hard is not usually rewarded. I was at Sea Pines at Hilton Head and ended up playing a 4.5 rated lefty who lives an hour away from my home in Iowa. He beat me 6-4, 6-3. I preferred hitting to his topspin forehand and staying away from his slice backhand. On hard court where the bounces are true I would have done the opposite since he had a pretty big forehand, but I hated those low short slices on clay. I liked clay and my dropshots were a highlight but the rest of my game suffered a little bit and it felt more like a pusher's game than one where you can hit many winners. Going to net was hard too since you opponent had lots of time to pass and footwork can be slippery when going to net. It was a fun experience though and maybe with a better unused court the bounces would have been truer.


Thanks for the insight. That just re-confirms my notion of never playing on clay again...since my net game su*ks on clay.

kevhen
06-03-2005, 10:19 AM
Went back to hard court last night and really appreciated a true consistent bounce compared to clay and also having good traction and not slipping and sliding. My volley still sucked though. My serve is still off too maybe due to windy conditions and using a different frame. I had 7 service faults in a row and still came back and won that service game. I don't remember ever having that many faults in a row, but I am working on hitting a bigger second serve and my mixed doubles partner doesn't have a good volley either so was trying to keep my serves deep for her while playing against a couple of 3.5 guys.

papa
06-03-2005, 12:09 PM
Its "Har Tru" which is the brand name of the material. It really doesn't wear thin but it will get redistributed a spec during play. However, thats what the brooms/sweeps are for. The bounce shouldn't vary that much but lines and the nail heads that hold the lines down can be a factor - yes, there can be "soft" spot but nothing is perfect.

The bounce on clay/Har Tru will be somewhat higher than on most other surfaces which makes the game a little slower. Sliding is a good factor on clay and it takes a little practice to get used to it. Slipping is generally because your not properly balanced and clay courts bring it out more.

kevhen
06-03-2005, 12:27 PM
This har Tru surface had many grooves in it especially on the courts closest to the club house where lessons have been taught and made bounces unpredicatable. I chose to play on court 8 instead of court 1 since there was about a 3 inch dip where the server stands and you couldn't even bounce the ball and have it come back to you. The courts farthest away from the club house seemed fine from when I played on them earlier in the day so I probably should have just moved to a better court.

papa
06-03-2005, 04:43 PM
The "grooves" are caused by a machine (most clubs have them) that cut the clay so it doesn't get too hard - the base material. You can run these machines over the lines and surface material put you have to be very carefull not to fray the lines.

If the base gets too hard then the surface material (like the green Har Tru - which is similiar to the grit on asphalt shingles) starts to act like BBs on a hardwood floor - same thing happens if too much of the material is used or when it start to accumulate at the net. This is one of the reasons why courts should not always be swept left to right but also going from the back fence to the net. Although the brushes, which are six feet, are popular with most clubs other things can be effectively used to drag the courts.

This probably explains while you "slipped" so much. Clay courts are also watered on a regular basis (generally once a day) to prevent them from drying out too much (becoming too hard) along with helping keep the dust to a minimum. Weeds are another factor in maintaining good courts.

Anyone who has played on clay for very long has had the experience of falling and getting some pretty good scrapes - as I mentioned the surface material is irregular in shape and can give you a nasty abrasion. Best thing when you do get scraped is to wash them throughly with soap and water (I mean after you finish playing) prior to putting on dressings - sure, use a Band Aid or whatever Whatever is used in this stuff, maybe the green dye, can cause local infections which are a pain.