PDA

View Full Version : Red courts in US=Blue skies on Mars?


splitstep
05-29-2006, 09:53 AM
Over and over again, I read the comment that Americans can't win on red clay because there are few clay courts in the US and that its not a significant part of the development of most American tennis players. My question is why are there so few red clay courts in the US? Is it the cost of installation and maintenance? The instant gratitude theory is an interesting one, but does that really explain why there are so few red clay courts in the US?

Conversely, why are there so many clay courts in Europe and South America? Are they more willing to put up with the expense?

christo
05-29-2006, 10:33 AM
There is no logic to it, Calif is one of the wealthiest places on Earth, nowhere to be found are clay courts, old guys like myself are killing ourselves to play on hard courts, I lived back east and green clay courts were everywhere, my bod was very happy and it made me a better player.

dmastous
05-29-2006, 10:42 AM
It's not that the US has no clay, it's as you say we have very few red clay. We have plenty of Har Tru, grey, and green clay courts. But those are crushed rock instead of crushed brick. My understanding is that the crushed brick is cheaper and so red clay is cheaper, but it does require more maintanence. Maybe it's the climate. Maybe it's the availabilty of brick to crush for the clay.
I wish there were more of these types of courts in the US. I've only seen a couple and never played on one. I've played on plenty of Har Tru courts but it's just not the same.

migjam
05-29-2006, 10:44 AM
The problem is, at least in the Pacific Northwest, the club players don't care to play on the clay. They would rather hit on the hard courts. So, the club owners can't justify putting in clay courts only to have them sit there.

legolas
05-29-2006, 10:46 AM
thats cuz white men sucks on clay

LordRaceR
05-29-2006, 11:08 AM
Clay courts are very nasty and expensive to maintain in good order. Even if they are good maintained, clay courts always are not flat, ball skids of the line etc. Itís cheaper to make clay court then some sorts of fast courts, but maintenance is much, much more expensive. In other words, clay sucks, big time. In hate clay but I must played on it hence there is 99% of clay courts in my town.

jackson vile
05-29-2006, 11:48 AM
what about grass?

Buuurnz
05-29-2006, 11:48 AM
clay courts are the best courts...what are you talking about!?!?!?
Most fun sliding up and down the courts or to have really long and spectecular points...!

dmastous
05-29-2006, 11:50 AM
clay courts are the best courts...what are you talking about!?!?!?
Most fun sliding up and down the courts or to have really long and spectecular points...!

Plus being much easier on sore knees and feet.:p

sureshs
05-29-2006, 12:56 PM
Clay courts are very nasty and expensive to maintain in good order. Even if they are good maintained, clay courts always are not flat, ball skids of the line etc. Itís cheaper to make clay court then some sorts of fast courts, but maintenance is much, much more expensive. In other words, clay sucks, big time. In hate clay but I must played on it hence there is 99% of clay courts in my town.

I have to agree to some extent. Expensive to maintain, specially where it rains. The club I used to be in before in California had clay courts. They had to do maintenance work on it every year before the European clay season. Lindsay used to practise there. After every session, we were instructed to sweep the courts to get rid of the marks. Shoes get dirty and there were strict rules about not walking with them into a hard court or the clubhouse after playing on clay.

But it sure is good on the knees.

!Tym
05-29-2006, 01:01 PM
I understand they're expensive to maintain, but is there a reason why pretty much the rest of the world uses them when they're far less well-off than the oh so spoiled US of A?

sureshs
05-29-2006, 01:34 PM
thats cuz white men sucks on clay

Courier didn't do badly on clay

sureshs
05-29-2006, 01:39 PM
I understand they're expensive to maintain, but is there a reason why pretty much the rest of the world uses them when they're far less well-off than the oh so spoiled US of A?

I am not sure, but in many parts of Asia, tennis is not an affordable sport. It could be different in S. America and Europe, but I have a feeling most places do not have the abundance of affordable courts like in the USA. I know players from several European countries have said so, even in this board. If you have fewer courts and they are clay and only a few get a chance to play, is it better than having many easy to maintain hard courts where practically anyone can play?

slice bh compliment
05-29-2006, 01:44 PM
thats cuz white men sucks on clay

Hhahahah, I don't want this to get all racial an' *****, but well, uhm, there have been some good non-white American claycourters (Chang), and there have been a couple of cracka-*** crackas who've gone a few rounds at Roland Garros. Some of 'em were even Americans.

Dibbs, Solomon, Borg, Vilas, Courier (about as white and as American as humanly possible), Rafa, Guga, Wilander, Sergi, Muster, Andre (a Caucasian from the Caucasus).

Oh, and sorry about the "up yours, whitey".
^that was a Mel Brooks reference.

tonysk83
05-29-2006, 02:40 PM
I think it has to do with all public courts are hard. When peopel grow up playing on the hard courts, they want to play hard at clubs, so clubs install hard. Of the 4 private clubs that I go to often 3 have clay and one has carpet. I love playing on clay, it just is fun to do. It mixes it up when you mainly play on hard courts. And I just feel cooler playing on clay.

raspell38120
05-29-2006, 06:50 PM
I live in memphis and play mainly on clay. it was not good for my game for many years although I have now adapted. I actually play on Har-Tru, green clay. I have also played on red clay at the Vinoy in St. Petersburg FL. Love it! it is MUCH slower, very fine particles that somewhat explode when the ball hits. Very, very slow and great fun. Unfortunately, when they did a remodel, they removed the red clay. when i complained, they said the local players in their tennis club just wouldn't use them. they used only the Har-Tru. So, away goes a few more red clay courts.

I am building a home now in Puerta Aventuras, 40 miles south of Cancun. We are putting in a "red" Har-Tru court. it is being made in Mexico but a company out of America is a partner as they believe there will be a market for it. They eventually hope to market it in America.

The real problem is the juniors generally practice on hard in virtually every site i have seen when there is Har-Tru and hard. they may play a tournament or two on clay, but then right back to Hard Courts. Probably just a continuity maintenance issue. there are clubs in the south that have mainly clay so there are some kids growing up on clay but it is very few. Unfortunately, until more people grow up on clay, it will not change.

I just watched a satelite tourney in Tunica MS. an Argentine (I believe) beat a new pro from Kalamazoo and then Mardy Fish in the final. the guy won two satelites in a row but his game didn't look that good. But defensively, he got everything back making people have to win the point more than once. The young American was so frustrated. And that's what a person with clay experience can do with a big hitter.

Rickson
05-29-2006, 06:59 PM
It's not that the US has no clay, it's as you say we have very few red clay. We have plenty of Har Tru, grey, and green clay courts. But those are crushed rock instead of crushed brick. My understanding is that the crushed brick is cheaper and so red clay is cheaper, but it does require more maintanence. Maybe it's the climate. Maybe it's the availabilty of brick to crush for the clay.
I wish there were more of these types of courts in the US. I've only seen a couple and never played on one. I've played on plenty of Har Tru courts but it's just not the same.
I play on gravel and the slide factor is almost none. The park charges more to play on that gravel than the hard court, but the poor excuse for clay slides about the same as the hard court. Get us some crushed brick!

Max G.
05-29-2006, 07:03 PM
I just watched a satelite tourney in Tunica MS. an Argentine (I believe) beat a new pro from Kalamazoo and then Mardy Fish in the final. the guy won two satelites in a row but his game didn't look that good.

Was it by any chance Diego Hartfield, the guy that played Federer in the first round of the French?

His record is here: http://www.atptennis.com/en/players/playerprofiles/playeractivity/default.asp?player=H502 - he did indeed just win two challengers in a row a couple of weeks ago, beating Scott Oudsema and Mardy Fish in the semi and final!

DX_Psycho
05-29-2006, 07:18 PM
you didn't think he had good technique? i only watched him play federer but he really ripped some forehand winners.

arosen
05-29-2006, 09:11 PM
There is no logic to it, Calif is one of the wealthiest places on Earth, nowhere to be found are clay courts, old guys like myself are killing ourselves to play on hard courts, I lived back east and green clay courts were everywhere, my bod was very happy and it made me a better player.

I know man, seriously, not a single club with all courts HarTru or clay? That's just stupid, all those old club guys love playing on soft surface, it's so easy on your joints. It's a mistery, I suspect it has to do with a lack of businesses that lay down and maintain these courts in California. THat's the only reason I can think of.

baseliner
05-30-2006, 06:22 AM
But why no true clay (crushed brick) in the U.S. There are plenty of green Har-Tru ("artificial clay") courts in U.S. Are the crushed brick that much more expensive to build and maintain than the green Har-Tru? One down side of the red clay is how dirty you get. After 3 sets on the crushed brick, you are reddish brown all over. Not so the green clay. Plenty a good pair of socks hit the trash because couldn't get them white after playing on the red clay.

sureshs
05-30-2006, 08:06 AM
But why no true clay (crushed brick) in the U.S. There are plenty of green Har-Tru ("artificial clay") courts in U.S. Are the crushed brick that much more expensive to build and maintain than the green Har-Tru? One down side of the red clay is how dirty you get. After 3 sets on the crushed brick, you are reddish brown all over. Not so the green clay. Plenty a good pair of socks hit the trash because couldn't get them white after playing on the red clay.

It is very difficult. Jim and Linda over at the Westside Tennis Club in Houston had to get experts from Paris to install red clay courts. First time, they got it wrong and players complained.

If you watched the Nadal-Vilas presentation, you would have seen the tranparent glass case trophy they gave out. Inside was a cross section of the 3 layered red clay court.

Gugafan_Redux
05-30-2006, 08:11 AM
Raspell, perhaps you need a trustworty and reliable English-speaking American with a Mid Western [wow, TW boards filter the name of their retail competition] work ethic to supervise the maintenance and upkeep of your clay court in your Cancun home. Also, I understand lots of daily play on the court would benefit the surface -- especially during the long Minnesota winters, where I live. I would be willing to offer my services.

;-)

johnkidd
05-30-2006, 09:09 AM
I'm purposely playing all my practice's on Har Tru this summer to get my point construction back. I've played primarily on hard court or indoors the past three years and my game has got to the point if I don't win the point with my serve or shortly there after I struggle. You learn so much more variety playing on the slower surfaces.

Rabbit
05-30-2006, 09:38 AM
I think I read somewhere that he historic reason that California had no clay courts was water, or lack thereof. No one wanted to waste the amount of water it would take to maintain a clay court. That, combined with a very dry climate which promoted evaporation. That was the primary motiviation behind the hydracourt system which waters from underneath by allowing the court to wick water up to the surface.

I'm all for more clay courts. Growing up on them, I did not, makes for a more complete player. Federer, McEnroe, Borg, Edberg, Becker (all clay), and most every other pro in the history of the sport grew up on either clay or grass. Agassi was/is the anamoly with his roots going back to hard courts.

I think the issue in the US is the USTA. They are the ones who really push the hard court agenda. If the US Open was played on clay or grass, there would naturally be a supporting network of tournaments on a like surface to support the Open. The pros use those tournaments to get ready for the Slam. And, there would be clay or grass tournaments before and after the Open. The same is true of every Slam.

I lament the passing of the US clay court season as it was one of the best around. IMO, green clay is probably the most fair surface going. It is consistent in as much as you can't build one faster or slower like a hard court. The surface speed changes with the amount of water and likewise will change during the course of a match, but it's a great surface.

The other big factor is the amount of injuries that the players are sustaining now. I think that the powers that be in tennis will have to address this sooner than later. If they don't, then tennis will begin to lose stars or run less events to help mitigate the loss in players. From a Grand Slam historic standpoint, hard courts have not been around all that long, the US Open went to hard in 1978 and the Australian in 1988(?). The amount of hard court tournaments went up drastically following these events.

IMO all Grand Slams should be played on natural surfaces. This would leave the much shorter indoor season for hard courts.

baseliner
05-30-2006, 10:45 AM
Yep, Rabbit remember when 3 of the 4 slams were on grass? No hard clurt slam until USO in 1988.

dubsplayer
05-30-2006, 01:54 PM
I play on red clay all summer long in, believe it or not, Albany NY. :-)

raspell38120
05-30-2006, 08:02 PM
you didn't think he had good technique? i only watched him play federer but he really ripped some forehand winners.

DX, he was a fine player but really had no weapons. Great passer, great mind but no real offense. he did move well to hit his FH crosscourt when they went down the line but, no, he really did not impress me as someone that was really a top level player. I watched with the local sportswriter and we were analyzing the match. there were so many points in the semifinal where the American would push him, push him, and then make an error. i watched Fish win his semi and the level looked so much better I thought for sure Fish would kill him.

Obviously, you would have to say I am very wrong based on results. All I'm saying is mentally you have to be good to win on clay. Americans are not. they want the point over early and get frustrated when it is not. Think of AA late in his career when he was willing to move his opponent around wear him out and win with consistency and mental approach. Early in his career he couldn't do that. That's all I'm saying. More clay would make Americans better.

Gugafan, let me finish the court first unless your a court builder also. :>0