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Ballinbob
01-20-2012, 07:50 PM
I never really thought I would ever play on clay (didn't know there were any courts close to where I live even) but today I did. My friend works at a nice country club with indoor clay courts and so he gets free court time. And since the weather was bad, I was like what the heck lets give this a try

The second I stepped onto these courts I didn't like them. It was green clay, and it was extremely humid inside which I didn't like. So we started rallying, and I noticed I had trouble planting my feet without slipping slightly. First time it happened I thought it was my fault, but I then realized I was playing on one slippery court.

I was wrong footed easily, and couldn't sustain a rally to save my life ! The times when I was daring enough to run I found it was extremely hard to stop.

Second thing I noticed: The bounces on clay courts are not consistent at all. Many times my friend would a deep topspin shot that should bounce up but instead just dies and skids.

I haven't seen this friend in a long time and I told him I've improved a lot, but I ended up looking like an idiot because I put on such a horrible performance today. I don't understand how anyone can play on these courts.

I guess I'd like to hear everyones experiences with clay court tennis ? I personally found it extremely frustrating and will avoid it in the future

LeeD
01-20-2012, 08:15 PM
Just be glad you didn't play that kid from Israel or wherever, the good one (we thought from vids).
Need grippier shoes.
Clay IS inconsistent, that's why everyone tends to stay back and wait for the ball to bounce.
Footwork is small slow steps to start, then faster, then skid to stop for change of direction.
There's a reason American's aren't good on clay. You found it.

LeeD
01-20-2012, 08:33 PM
My first match on carpet, at SanFrancisco's Cow Palace.
I'd won a couple of earlier matches at the GoldenGatewayClub, 5 miles away on HarTru.
Opponent was some kid from Tennessee, either Tech or U, I didn't bother to check. Just warming up, we both wiffed on easily one out of 20 rallyballs! We look at each other and smile, knowing this was going to be ugly.
I think I miss hit or missed at least 15 easy shots, and he double. I thought I was blind, and he wore glasses. Comedy central, he hit one flat serve which hit me in the knee. I wiffed, of course.
My doubles partner said it was the ugliest blind man's folly he ever saw, and he was No1 at SanFranciscoState, after 2 years of top 2 and CCSF.
I actually fell down walking to the chair between changes of court! Caught a sticky spot.
Hoping it would be better in the final round, my opponent didn't whiff once, and neither did I spell it the same. 0 and 1, out with me. The carpet actually had some small folds!

Ballinbob
01-20-2012, 08:34 PM
Haha that kid was from Chile it turned out and he plays Challengers, he would have killed me regardless of the surface.

I consider myself to move fairly well (not amazing, but definitely not poor) and it was embarrassing not being able to stop and go effectively and being wrong footed time after time.
It seems like sliding is a necessity on clay, something I dont know how to do

And I refuse to play from far behind the baseline (ala nadal). Not my style, never was.

Yeah, long story short, im sticking with hard courts. I like being able to feel something solid under my feet when I run

Ballinbob
01-20-2012, 08:36 PM
speaking of carpet, hows that like ? and how is grass like ? I hear grass is slippery but the bounce is consistent ?

And yeah weve all had some of those matches lee haha

LeeD
01-20-2012, 08:36 PM
"there's a reason American's aren't good on clay, and you found it"

LeeD
01-20-2012, 08:41 PM
I played on grass on Oahu, next door to where I stay.
Topspin shots bounce normal.
Slices skidd normal.
What's weird is sidespin shots, which skidd and bounce different every time.
Carpet is interesting. Normally slow compared to cement, it grabs the ball for a certain force, then completely releases.
Softer parts of carpet can bounce really low, but not skid.
Transitions are impossible to play, something the final round opponent seemed to have found in abundance, both years.
Both those surfaces gave little audio feedback, so I thought I was playing with half my senses. The grass court has a cement backdrop on one side, delaying the sound like I was watching a badly made movie that's out of synch.
Boy, do I ever complain a lot, waa waaa. I was lucky to ever get to play on those surfaces and courts.

Limpinhitter
01-20-2012, 08:48 PM
I never really thought I would ever play on clay (didn't know there were any courts close to where I live even) but today I did. My friend works at a nice country club with indoor clay courts and so he gets free court time. And since the weather was bad, I was like what the heck lets give this a try

The second I stepped onto these courts I didn't like them. It was green clay, and it was extremely humid inside which I didn't like. So we started rallying, and I noticed I had trouble planting my feet without slipping slightly. First time it happened I thought it was my fault, but I then realized I was playing on one slippery court.

I was wrong footed easily, and couldn't sustain a rally to save my life ! The times when I was daring enough to run I found it was extremely hard to stop.

Second thing I noticed: The bounces on clay courts are not consistent at all. Many times my friend would a deep topspin shot that should bounce up but instead just dies and skids.

I haven't seen this friend in a long time and I told him I've improved a lot, but I ended up looking like an idiot because I put on such a horrible performance today. I don't understand how anyone can play on these courts.

I guess I'd like to hear everyones experiences with clay court tennis ? I personally found it extremely frustrating and will avoid it in the future

Hahahaha! Speaking as one who learned to play on hard, and then clay, I feel your pain. But, I'll tell you this, playing on clay will make you a better player than playing on hard. Clay forces you to play high percentage tennis. It forces you to be better prepared for your shots. If forces you to be patient and work the points. It requires better conditioning. My advice, keep playing on clay.

PS: Clay court tennis shoes have a slightly more prominent herring bone tread pattern than hard court shoes. And, learn to slide in to your shots.

ace_pace
01-21-2012, 02:45 AM
LOL I felt that way when I first played on clay too. That happened when I joined a new tennis squad. They had synthetic grass, clay and hard courts but they made us train on clay. At the start I could even rally properly, I couldnt find my balance. After a while though you'll get used to it, you'll tend to skid quite a bit. Its a good surface to learn on, forces you to play safer and to stay alert with line clipping balls and skidding shots.

ace_pace
01-21-2012, 02:47 AM
LOL I felt that way when I first played on clay too. That happened when I joined a new tennis squad. They had synthetic grass, clay and hard courts but they made us train on clay. At the start I could even rally properly, I couldnt find my balance. After a while though you'll get used to it, you'll tend to skid quite a bit. Its a good surface to learn on, forces you to play safer and to stay alert with line clipping balls and skidding shots.

Whoops, I meant that I couldnt rally.

dr325i
01-21-2012, 04:28 AM
"there's a reason American's aren't good on clay, and you found it"

However, they are good on...?

chrischris
01-21-2012, 05:01 AM
Hard courts at home ,now and then ,maybe?

BobFL
01-21-2012, 07:28 AM
What happened to you has happened to many players including this one :) The main problem is the quality of the court. I played on state of the art clay courts in Europe and I kind of liked it. However, there is absolutely nothing worse than poorly maintained clay court. One thing that I just cannot stand is irregular bounces. The ball hits line or lil' pile of clay and the point is pretty much decided. Well, lemme just quote Mr. Federer :)

"On clay you don't need a volley or a serve. You just need legs, an incredible forehand and backhand, and to run after every ball. I'm not trying to take anything from Rafa: He has been successful in other surfaces as well. But on clay you can get away, you can be competitive even with a very incomplete game. I'm not saying it's so simple, but it's too easy."

maxpotapov
01-21-2012, 07:45 AM
Playing on green clay is like playing beach volleyball. Regular red clay is a different story, even if poorly maintained you can adjust to irregular bounce etc. and you can always feel firm ground under your feet.

Raid
01-21-2012, 09:11 AM
Playing on green clay is like playing beach volleyball. Regular red clay is a different story, even if poorly maintained you can adjust to irregular bounce etc. and you can always feel firm ground under your feet.

this!

123chars

Ballinbob
01-21-2012, 09:29 AM
What happened to you has happened to many players including this one :) The main problem is the quality of the court. I played on state of the art clay courts in Europe and I kind of liked it. However, there is absolutely nothing worse than poorly maintained clay court. One thing that I just cannot stand is irregular bounces. The ball hits line or lil' pile of clay and the point is pretty much decided. Well, lemme just quote Mr. Federer :)

"On clay you don't need a volley or a serve. You just need legs, an incredible forehand and backhand, and to run after every ball. I'm not trying to take anything from Rafa: He has been successful in other surfaces as well. But on clay you can get away, you can be competitive even with a very incomplete game. I'm not saying it's so simple, but it's too easy."

Yeah that's absolutely true. I see what Federer means. I couldn't stand close to the baseline because of the irregular bounces. I dont even know why i made this thread but I felt like I had to rant and let this out of my system. You honestly dont even need a net game to do well on this surface

Playing on green clay is like playing beach volleyball. Regular red clay is a different story, even if poorly maintained you can adjust to irregular bounce etc. and you can always feel firm ground under your feet.

Red clay is better than green clay then ? I guess I wouldnt mind playing on a properly maintained red clay court. I think clay court tennis shoes are a must though when playing on this surface.

I now understand why the pros make such a big deal about the adjustments they need to make for the clay court season. Murray always talks about knowing how to move on clay is key. Now I understand what that means haha

maxpotapov
01-21-2012, 09:44 AM
Red clay is better than green clay then ? I guess I wouldnt mind playing on a properly maintained red clay court. I think clay court tennis shoes are a must though when playing on this surface.

I now understand why the pros make such a big deal about the adjustments they need to make for the clay court season. Murray always talks about knowing how to move on clay is key. Now I understand what that means haha

Red clay is just a normal playing surface, but green clay is something else. I don't mind playing on green clay to strengthen my legs and other muscles and stamina, but playing there competitively or just for fun -- I don't think so (from my experience at Sportime @ Randall's Island)

Speaking of red clay, I would choose it over hardcourt no matter how bad it is simply because it keeps your legs safe due to all the sliding etc. And regular hard court kills your legs (knees, ankles) because of all the extra friction. Sometimes it's just as bad as playing on sand paper. Red clay can be more or less slippery (due to material, humidity etc.) but it is always leg-friendly. I don't care much about clay version of shoes - currently I'm playing on a surface that's a slippery as skating rink. Helps me to develop proper balance and footwork :)

mikeler
01-21-2012, 11:12 AM
It took me a full year before I actually started enjoying Har Tru more than hard courts.