Topspin on clay

Discussion in 'Tennis Tips/Instruction' started by Rickson, Oct 15, 2007.

  1. Rickson

    Rickson G.O.A.T.

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    I've played on clay a few times and I don't really understand why topspin is considered more effective on clay than on other surfaces. The ball supposedly bouncing higher on clay than on harcourts has been proven to be a myth so why play with extreme topspin on clay?
     
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  2. ZPTennis

    ZPTennis Semi-Pro

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    On average, clay court points are longer than hard court points. Its not as easy to put the ball away on clay than it is on hard court.

    Therefore more consistency on average is needed to win a clay court point.

    Hitting the ball with topspin allows you to go for more net clearance without worrying as much about hitting the ball out and for this reason is a more consistent shot than a flat shot. Hope this helps.
     
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  3. Slazenger

    Slazenger Professional

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    Red clay plays slower than hardcourt, carpet or grass. It is harder to hit through the court and will usually favour the more consistent of players. Hence why topspin is favoured on clay.

    Basic generalization but you get the point.
     
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  4. fuzz nation

    fuzz nation Legend

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    It probably depends on the context of that recommendation to use topspin. The ball bites and slows down a lot off a clay court bounce, so the addition of topspin in a baseline rally will do more to keep your opponent deeper in their court. Without extra topspin, the ball will slow down and sit up for Agassi wannabees to step up and take an earlier rip.
     
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  5. Slazenger

    Slazenger Professional

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    Lol
    10 char
     
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  6. Rickson

    Rickson G.O.A.T.

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    Ah, so the longer rallies make topspin ideal for more margin of error.
     
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  7. ZPTennis

    ZPTennis Semi-Pro

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    yeah exactly
     
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  8. Rickson

    Rickson G.O.A.T.

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    Wait a second. That would make the topspin player on clay a pusher!
     
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  9. ZPTennis

    ZPTennis Semi-Pro

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    lol. well i play mostly on clay. i hit heavy topspin shots until i get a weaker return that i can flatten out more and come in on.
     
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  10. junbumkim

    junbumkim Professional

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    um, I don't think it's a myth.....If you hit with the same amount of topspin clay and hardcourt, it's going to be more accentuated on clay.

    It's also why it's easier to get the balls above your shoulder height..
     
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  11. Rickson

    Rickson G.O.A.T.

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    Don't think so, bumpkin.

    Quoting some dude named Holbrook:

    "This is a very interesting aspect of tennis and something that is not
    very well understood by even experienced tennis players. When the term
    "fast" is used to describe a court surface it means how much the ball
    slows down on the bounce. On clay courts, the ball slows down the most,
    and so clay is called a "slow" surface; on grass is slows down least
    (the "fast" surface), and on hard courts it slows down between the two
    extremes, with some hard courts being "faster" than others. But there's
    more to it than that. The ball on grass moves through the court faster
    because it's angle of reflection is less. The ball slides on the grass
    and doesn't bounce up, it skips through, like a flat stone across a
    pond. On clay the ball's energy is blunted by the surface more than on
    the other two, and a topspinning ball will bounce more vertically than it
    will on grass due to less sliding. The clay rebound is more vertical,
    with less pace, than grass. On hard courts you have even less sliding,
    and more of the energy of the ball's incoming pace retained on the
    bounce. The bounce is more vertical than the other two (all incoming
    balls will bounce higher on hard than on clay or grass), but the ball
    doesn't slow down as much due to the bounce as it does on clay; more
    than it does on grass. On hard courts you have the combination of more
    vertical bounce with faster through the court, which is midway between
    grass (lowest vertical bounce, fastest after the bounce) and clay (low
    vertical bounce, slowest after bounce) which is why many call hard courts
    the fairest court to compete on.

    Topspinning balls bounce higher on hard courts than on clay, and they get
    through the court faster. The reason topspin is so linked to clay courts
    is that the ball slows down so much on the bounce on clay you have to hit
    it really hard to get it past your opponent. The way to hit the ball
    really hard and have it stay in the court is by using topspin. On hard
    courts heavy topspin actually can be a benefit to the opponent since the
    greater vertical bounce will give him a chance to catch up to the ball
    better than if the ball had less topspin."
     
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  12. junbumkim

    junbumkim Professional

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    even from my limited experience on red clay court, I could tell I was immediately dealing with a lot more higher balls than I was on hard court, which I rarely experience on hardcourt. So I honestly don't think topspin is more accentuated on hardcourt. Unless you are playing on rebound-ace.

    Har-Tru, I don't really find them similar to red-clay.
    So unless you are mixing those two, I must say I don't really agree with you..
    Of course, there are always faster clay, and slow hard court.
     
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  13. Rickson

    Rickson G.O.A.T.

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    I'm talking about red clay and it's been proven that balls bounce at the same height or lower than hard courts, but to your defense, clay has been shown to have tennis balls bounce higher than on grass.
     
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  14. junbumkim

    junbumkim Professional

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    I don't know how the authore determines that hardcourt has less "sliding"surface than clay. That's pretty interesting. Obviously, the surface of grass is pretty slick. The surface of hardcourt is also pretty slick. I don't know if I would call the surface of clay "slick".

    They put more clay underneath the hardcourt to control to speed of the hardcourt, right? So less clay, faster the hardcourt becomes (more sliding). More clay, the slower the hardcourt gets (less sliding).
     
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  15. Andres

    Andres G.O.A.T.

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    It doesn't bounce HIGHER, but it bounces in a more vertical plane. That is, it bounces more upwards than upwards-forward. Add that to the extra topspin, and you have a kicking surface.

    The height of the bounce of the claycourt is STILL HIGH compared to the hardcourt, but not THAT higher. But there's a difference. The trajectory of the ball changes.

    Slightly higher bounce on claycourts + vertical-ish trajectory + heavy topspin = high bouncing balls.
     
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  16. habib

    habib Professional

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    I can't understand why this hasn't been brought up yet, but aside from the fact that it's a slower surface and rewards consistency over shotmaking, clay generates a lot more friction than either grass or hardcourts (which is WHY it's slower than either). The result is that the topspin you apply to the ball grabs the court much better than it does either grass or HC, and this any spin you put on the ball, whether side or top or back, is going to be accentuated.

    This is also why, contrary to the snippet posted by Rickson, balls DO kick up higher on clay. Note: they do not BOUNCE higher. If you drop a ball on HC, grass, and clay, it'll rebound higher on HC, and actually pretty similarly on grass and clay. If you hit a ball with a ton of topspin, it will kick up more aggressively and higher on clay than it will on HC or grass because the ball can dig into the surface more, and better use its own spin to propel itself upwards and forwards. It won't kick up nearly as much on grass as either of the other surfaces because the friction coefficient is very low, and the spin of the ball doesn't interact nearly as much with the surface.
     
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  17. Teh_pwnerer

    Teh_pwnerer Semi-Pro

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    AG is right, im a very spinny player and i can tell you, on clay courts my ball seems more difficult to return than on hard courts
     
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  18. SalvadorVeiga

    SalvadorVeiga Rookie

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    and also you can tell by serves...whenever i hit serves on hardcouts i struggle for topspin serves to get over 4 feet... on clay sometimes i go over 6 feet ! like AG said it's a more vertical ish plane allied with topspin that makes the balls on clay bounce higher...
     
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