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View Full Version : How do you slow down a Tennis Court?????

Mick3391
11-15-2012, 12:31 AM
This is driving me nuts. I'm reading that "Courts are slower, this is why baseliners about".

HOW do you slow down a court? I understand Clay is slower than Grass, but how do you slow down an existing court, IE Slow a Grass Court down? Slow a Hard Court down?

Thanks

tennis_balla
11-15-2012, 01:07 AM
To slow a hard court down, you add more sand mixed in with the paint. This will make the surface more abrasive and slower. Grass court you use a different type of grass. Clay courts slow down depending on how much top layer there is and how much you water the court. For example, right after rain the court will be very slow, balls will pick up more of the clay, get heavier. If it's hot and a clay court isn't watered enough the surface will harden and get quicker.

Say Chi Sin Lo
11-15-2012, 01:39 AM
Fast courts are faster because they're slicker. Slicker surfaces don't grip the ball as much so it just skids off. Because of the lack of grip, the ball doesn't lose as much kinetic energy after the bounce. Also, because the ball skids lower after the bounce, it's because there is less time until the 2nd bounce.

Slow courts are slower because they're griddier. So they grip the ball better and it doesn't skid off as easily. Unless you want a lesson in physics, just accept the griddy court will grip the ball. That grip will cause the ball to lose more kinetic energy so the ball will travel slower after the bounce. That friction causes the ball to bounce higher too. The higher bounce means there's more time until the 2nd bounce.

For simplicity sake, throw the ball across a carpet and hard floor. Which ball will reach its destination assuming you impart the same amount of kinetic energy to both?

11-15-2012, 06:51 PM
This is driving me nuts. I'm reading that "Courts are slower, this is why baseliners about".

HOW do you slow down a court? I understand Clay is slower than Grass, but how do you slow down an existing court, IE Slow a Grass Court down? Slow a Hard Court down?

Thanks

As the above posters have stated it is quite easy to "slow down" existing courts - hard courts especially. This has been a trend for the last ten years or so or the tour and now a lot of people and players feel they have gone too far and lost variety.

To give you an example of what real ATP/WTA court surfaces are like today - I play on courts that are used in major ATP events all the time and the surface is literally like playing on very gritty sandpaper - especially after they resurface it right before the tourney. So much so that it will wear a hole in your shoes VERY quickly. And likewise the balls fluff up and then go bald quick as well. And these courts aren't even really slow compared to Melbourne Oz Open etc.

Also the balls used today are a bit bigger and have more fluff to them to slow them down a bit compared to a decade ago...

WildVolley
11-15-2012, 08:25 PM
As a kid I first played a lot on an asphalt court without a surface. I can tell you that balls would bite into that rough asphalt and pop up. True, it destroyed them quickly, but it proved that it is easy to slow down a hard court.

I'd guess you could change the speed of grass based on how packed the dirt under the grass is, the type of grass, and the height to which it is mowed.

db10s
11-15-2012, 08:29 PM
As the above posters have stated it is quite easy to "slow down" existing courts - hard courts especially. This has been a trend for the last ten years or so or the tour and now a lot of people and players feel they have gone too far and lost variety.

To give you an example of what real ATP/WTA court surfaces are like today - I play on courts that are used in major ATP events all the time and the surface is literally like playing on very gritty sandpaper - especially after they resurface it right before the tourney. So much so that it will wear a hole in your shoes VERY quickly. And likewise the balls fluff up and then go bald quick as well. And these courts aren't even really slow compared to Melbourne Oz Open etc.

Also the balls used today are a bit bigger and have more fluff to them to slow them down a bit compared to a decade ago...

Good explanation, its the speed of clay.... But its a hard court.

Mick3391
11-15-2012, 08:51 PM

Doesn't this beg the question about comparing guys of today with those of old? I mean if Fed for example plays much better on fast surfaces, wouldn't that indicate a "Decline" rather than age. Likewise wouldn't Nadal suffer if he played back when courts were faster in general?

Would Sampras not do as well today due to the slower surface?

Seems like it's a big problem. I read a ton on this subject last night, they slow down the surfaces so fans get more play time and points aren't finished off as quick, but this seems like it would hurt the Feds of the world.

TennisCJC
11-16-2012, 04:47 AM
Federer would have 20 slams if courts played at late 90s speeds.

Nadal would have 2-4 less slams.

Djoko would be about the same.

Grit on the surface is one key factor as others said above. I also think the amount of cushion and how soft the cushion is under the court has a lot to do with it too. Most public and club courts are not soft. But, Australian Open supposedly had a softer give to the surface which slowed it down a bit. The AO looks almost like clay court tennis on TV.

I would like to see courts sped up just a little bit. Racket technology and poly strings have giving the returner and ground stroker too big an advantage. It is time to give the server and net rusher some advantage. I think grass and a fast hard court are the best tourneys to watch on ATP. I like seeing players come to the net and hit a variety of top and slice from the baseline instead of a battle of retrieving and topspin bashing.

LeeD
11-16-2012, 09:31 AM
But is there a way to slow down cement courts that the paint has turned slick thru years of use?
I don't mean getting the City out there, spending 2 mil on the job, but something that can be done yourself.

charliefedererer
11-16-2012, 09:41 AM
There is a yin and yang to everything.

All the majors (except the French) were played on grass up until 1975 when the US Open went to clay (Har-Tru )for 3 years.

In the mid 70's, many US tournaments switched to clay - apparently to give the fans longer points, and maybe even to draw Borg to their event.

When the US Open left Forest Hills to move to the new USTA center in the Queens in 1978, the US Open went to fairly fast hard courts.

The last Australian Open was on grass in 1987. (The ASO "grass" was usually burnt dirt by the end of the tournament - players boycotted it because of the time of travel [and purses were much smaller then], time of year [used to be played pre-Christmas to about New Years Day.] It was played on a relatively "spongy" type of hard court surface known as Rebound Ace for 20 years, then replaced by Plexicushion Prestige which alsol has rubber and latex in its formulation. (I also remember players comlaining that the Rebound Ace would get "sticky" from the hot Australian sun.)

Even at Wimbledon they have changed the type of grass, mainly to improve the terrible wear that occurs during the fortnight. But the newer grasses are not only more durable (resulting in less bad bounces), but give a slower surface.

You asked if Sampras would not do as well on today's slower courts.

Other imponderables:

What if the pros had insisted on staying with wood racquets, just like Major League Baseball has insisted on staying with wood bats?

How much have the balls changed since when they were manufactured in the US and UK?

How many titles for Rafa if the US Open had stayed on clay?

How did Borg not win a US Open when it was played on clay? (Har-Tru)? [Couldn't resist this.]

Mick3391
11-17-2012, 12:33 PM
There is a yin and yang to everything.

All the majors (except the French) were played on grass up until 1975 when the US Open went to clay (Har-Tru )for 3 years.

In the mid 70's, many US tournaments switched to clay - apparently to give the fans longer points, and maybe even to draw Borg to their event.

When the US Open left Forest Hills to move to the new USTA center in the Queens in 1978, the US Open went to fairly fast hard courts.

The last Australian Open was on grass in 1987. (The ASO "grass" was usually burnt dirt by the end of the tournament - players boycotted it because of the time of travel [and purses were much smaller then], time of year [used to be played pre-Christmas to about New Years Day.] It was played on a relatively "spongy" type of hard court surface known as Rebound Ace for 20 years, then replaced by Plexicushion Prestige which alsol has rubber and latex in its formulation. (I also remember players comlaining that the Rebound Ace would get "sticky" from the hot Australian sun.)

Even at Wimbledon they have changed the type of grass, mainly to improve the terrible wear that occurs during the fortnight. But the newer grasses are not only more durable (resulting in less bad bounces), but give a slower surface.

You asked if Sampras would not do as well on today's slower courts.

Other imponderables:

What if the pros had insisted on staying with wood racquets, just like Major League Baseball has insisted on staying with wood bats?

How much have the balls changed since when they were manufactured in the US and UK?

How many titles for Rafa if the US Open had stayed on clay?

How did Borg not win a US Open when it was played on clay? (Har-Tru)? [Couldn't resist this.]

Great points and questions from all. It just seems strange to change the rules in the middle of someones career.

I like Boxing analogies, if in 1963 they changed from 20X20 rings to say 10X10 Ali wouldn't be the greatest, in fact we'd never had heard of him, all of the slugger/brawlers would win those matches.

It just seems a pity, I may be wrong, but the guy up two posts it seems point is undeniable, if they had kept the faster surfaces, he would have a handful more of Slams, which is a hugh amount. I think it's also a testiment to his ability, that is starting as a hard court Serve and Volleyer to a all court player and still dominate.

And yea would Nadal be NADAL? I don't know why there is not more discussion on this.

Pretty selfish for the promoters slowing down the courts for the fans sake, personally I don't like the long baseline ralleys, and I probably have half of the fans on my side. It's like "Well we need to see more knockouts to please the crowds, let's make the rings smaller"

dominikk1985
11-17-2012, 12:55 PM
Great points and questions from all. It just seems strange to change the rules in the middle of someones career.

I like Boxing analogies, if in 1963 they changed from 20X20 rings to say 10X10 Ali wouldn't be the greatest, in fact we'd never had heard of him, all of the slugger/brawlers would win those matches.

It just seems a pity, I may be wrong, but the guy up two posts it seems point is undeniable, if they had kept the faster surfaces, he would have a handful more of Slams, which is a hugh amount. I think it's also a testiment to his ability, that is starting as a hard court Serve and Volleyer to a all court player and still dominate.

And yea would Nadal be NADAL? I don't know why there is not more discussion on this.

Pretty selfish for the promoters slowing down the courts for the fans sake, personally I don't like the long baseline ralleys, and I probably have half of the fans on my side. It's like "Well we need to see more knockouts to please the crowds, let's make the rings smaller"

well the problem was that in the 90s we didn't see short rallies but mostly aces and service winners. those ace fests by becker, goran, sampras or krajicek were really not good to watch. they had to slow down the courts.

in the 70s those courts were OK but when modern rackets, bigger players and modern swing mechanics came in the game there was too much power. courts were made for wood rackets and not 140 mph serves and 100 mph FHs.

however while I think the slowing down was necessary I think they went a little too far. they should only have slowed down them a little but not so much.

I don't really care whether fed or nadal win or lose more slams due to the surface. I'm more a player than a fan and whoever deals best with the given conditions deserves the win. fed did plenty well with today's surfaces he cannot really complain about them.

however I do think that some more one dimensional power servers like kraji or goran would not have won today and guys like isner or roddick might have won back then.

but if you are a versatile player like fed you can win on all kind of surfaces for him it does not make a big difference because he can play all kind of styles.

LeeD
11-17-2012, 12:57 PM
Still, nobody answers the question...How to you slow down a tennis court?
Not why, not what the effects are, but HOW.

dominikk1985
11-17-2012, 01:03 PM
Still, nobody answers the question...How to you slow down a tennis court?
Not why, not what the effects are, but HOW.

ATP courts are slowed down by using a whole new surface. I doubt they are slowing down existing recreational courts although some people believe that here. but those are probably non players who only know tennis from TV:).

LeeD
11-17-2012, 01:08 PM
I thought the original question was "how to slow down a tennis court that is already there". Not meaning grass or clay, we know how to do that. Cement with paint, already made and slick from use, besides getting the City to pay for, and take 2 years to decide to, slow down the courts.

Mick3391
11-17-2012, 01:17 PM
Still, nobody answers the question...How to you slow down a tennis court?
Not why, not what the effects are, but HOW.

Yea what I was told was that with hard surfaces, they put a paint that has chips in it, like kind of a cement or something, don't remember his answer exactly. With grass they changed the underlayment, so it's softer.

That was my original question as well.

Mick3391
11-17-2012, 01:20 PM
well the problem was that in the 90s we didn't see short rallies but mostly aces and service winners. those ace fests by becker, goran, sampras or krajicek were really not good to watch. they had to slow down the courts.

in the 70s those courts were OK but when modern rackets, bigger players and modern swing mechanics came in the game there was too much power. courts were made for wood rackets and not 140 mph serves and 100 mph FHs.

however while I think the slowing down was necessary I think they went a little too far. they should only have slowed down them a little but not so much.

I don't really care whether fed or nadal win or lose more slams due to the surface. I'm more a player than a fan and whoever deals best with the given conditions deserves the win. fed did plenty well with today's surfaces he cannot really complain about them.

however I do think that some more one dimensional power servers like kraji or goran would not have won today and guys like isner or roddick might have won back then.

but if you are a versatile player like fed you can win on all kind of surfaces for him it does not make a big difference because he can play all kind of styles.

Maybe it would be good to have clean fast courts, and clean soft courts, this way we can see some short point Serve & Volleying for those who want to watch that, then the slower courts for those who like longer rallies.

It's my understanding they aren't doing that, they are slowing down ALL COURTS, giving a huge advantage to types of players who have a distinctive style. Imagine training all of your life on fast courts as a SV, only to find out they've changed the surfaces. Again it's like training to be a pure boxer in a 20X20 ring only to find out they've changed it to 10X10, not too cool in my opinion.

tennis_balla
11-17-2012, 02:51 PM
It's quite a change going from hard courts at your local club to hard courts that are being used for pro tournaments and resurfaced often. The bounce of the ball, grip of the surface and how quickly it wears down your shoes.
Your contact point on your shots changes as well by a fair bit.

LeeD
11-17-2012, 04:44 PM
What's a bigger change is going from cement courts that are painted to slow carpet, where the uneven bounces and slower than clay bounce totally messes with your timing.

TennisCJC
11-18-2012, 06:31 AM
How did Borg not win a US Open when it was played on clay? (Har-Tru)? [Couldn't resist this.]

Connors was still on top of Borg and Connors won the USO in 76 on clay. Borg would have won in '77 but he had a shoulder injury and was serving about 50% speed and could not hit an overhead. I think Dick Stockton lobbed him to death in their match. Not sure if Stockton defeated Borg but he wore Borg's shoulder out and that was the tournament for Borg. In '78, they went back to hardcourt at Flushing.

Connors has the record that will never be broken. He won USO on 3 different surfaces: '74 grass, '76 clay, and '78 (and a few other years) on hardcourt.

TennisCJC
11-18-2012, 06:34 AM
It's quite a change going from hard courts at your local club to hard courts that are being used for pro tournaments and resurfaced often. The bounce of the ball, grip of the surface and how quickly it wears down your shoes.
Your contact point on your shots changes as well by a fair bit.

Most local clubs and public courts are resurfaces at 5+ year intervals. After a year or 2 since the last resurfacing, the courts are very fast. I have only played on grass once but a worn hardcourt is almost as fast as grass.

When I have been at pro tourneys or TV shows court surface in a close up, the court has a lot of grit and texture, and is not smooth and slick like what we play on.

goran_ace
11-18-2012, 07:47 AM
Here is a good graphic to see the difference in court construction between a DecoTurf installation on a pro court versus what you would see at a public park or high school courts.

http://www.decoturf.com/tennis/surface-options/

martini1
11-23-2012, 07:27 AM
Most local clubs and public courts are resurfaces at 5+ year intervals. After a year or 2 since the last resurfacing, the courts are very fast. I have only played on grass once but a worn hardcourt is almost as fast as grass.

When I have been at pro tourneys or TV shows court surface in a close up, the court has a lot of grit and texture, and is not smooth and slick like what we play on.

I notice that too. Prime conditioned hc has more texture and cushioning (more top coat). I have played in one before, a small tennis stadium. Beat up rec courts are like playing on bare concrete. The other difference is pro hits faster pace on slow surfaces than rec players hitting on a faster surface.

Also a change on the top coat material on hc changes the bounce therefore the speed. Look up rebound ace vs plexicushion vs deco turf. Each is slightly different. No clue what the public court uses.