Why aren't any courts made of crushed rubber (like a running track)?

Discussion in 'Tennis Tips/Instruction' started by HunterST, Jul 21, 2013.

  1. HunterST

    HunterST Hall of Fame

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    I was running at my local track today, and I noticed how the surface had a lot of cushion and provided a lot of friction for good footing. I started to think about what it would be like if a tennis court was made using this surface and it seems like it would provided a lot of benefits.

    It's a gritty surface and would play quite slow. Many experts suspect that European players are surpassing American players partly because the Europeans play on clay, a slow surface. It forces them to achieve a high shot tolerance and learn to construct a point.

    Another benefit the surface would provided would be longevity. The track I run on has been there for years and has no cracks and has not been resurfaced in at least ten years. Hardcourts, on the other hand, seem to begin cracking within 2 or 3 years.

    So, why are there no courts made using a rubberized surface? Are there in fact courts similar to this surface that I am not aware of?
     
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  2. Lukhas

    Lukhas Legend

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    You'd trip much more frequently. That surface grabs anything that's on it. Which is logical given the purpose (running straight or slightly curved), not for tennis (up and down, left and right, brutal changes of direction).

    On the other hand, I wonder why I don't hear much more about artificial/synthetic clay courts. Traditional clay is unplayable when soaked or frozen, which isn't the case with artificial clay. Basically, you apply clay on a specific carpet. Humidify, add clay it and it's ready to play. It severely cuts the costs. You can play as soon as the rain stops. You can cover it with Har-Tru or European Red Clay or anything you like. It's better with clay court shoes though, or you'll slide a lot. I'd love to have my local club use it, but they don't have money. I'm considering switching to HC next year anyway...
     
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  3. Sumo

    Sumo Semi-Pro

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    You don't see the cracks, but they're there.
    If a tennis court had that rubber coating, they would soon get dead spots from cracks and separations.
    I would guess these types of courts would need maintenance much sooner than traditional hard courts.
     
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  4. josofo

    josofo Semi-Pro

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  5. travlerajm

    travlerajm Hall of Fame

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    I recall the outdoor courts at UW used to have crushed rubber surface for a while. It got hot and sticky on the summer. Twist serves grabbed nicely. Ball bounced higher than on cement.
     
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  6. SmilinBob

    SmilinBob Rookie

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    I used to play at a club with four or six indoor courts that had a sub-surface of highly-compacted sand, then top-coated with something capable of holding the paint for the court surface. It was designed to ever so slightly lessen the impact and vibration on your joints. It played just like a regular hard court yet you'd feel it (or actually, the lack of feeling it) the next morning. I have no idea what the court surface was called.

    The surface was prepared much the same way any other hard court was so it wasn't any slower or faster than the speed range you would find on a regular hard court.
     
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  7. NLBwell

    NLBwell Legend

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    Rebound Ace courts such as the Australian Open used to have are a bit rubbery. The problem was, as Lukhas referred to, that there were a lot of injuries, especially when it got hot, due to players "sticking" to the court and tearing up their ankles and legs.
    Of course, the more rubbery, the more sticky, and the more problems you would have. There are indoor courts with Rebound Ace around and there are less injury problems since the temperature is pretty constant.
     
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  8. TomT

    TomT Hall of Fame

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    I would guess that it's because synthetic clay requires maintenance and costs more to begin with than the usual public hard court surface.

    That being said, I have approximately 50 synthetic clay Har-Tru courts within minutes of my home near downtown Fort Lauderdale, which are not that expensive (especially for residents, and most especially for senior residents such as myself).

    Anyway, I like playing on the usual public hard court surface. Playing on hard surfaces, even concrete, doesn't bother my knees at all. But if I play, say, volleyball or softball on grass, then that causes my knees to hurt a lot.
     
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  9. Lukhas

    Lukhas Legend

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    ^Nah, I mean why no academies or big tennis clubs use the surface. It was in answer to the second paragraph of the first post. They all see to use HC for some reason, although a couple of these academies could have a couple of courts on a artificial clay.
     
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  10. TomT

    TomT Hall of Fame

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    Lots of big tennis clubs down here use the surface. In Fort Lauderdale, Delray Beach, Boca Raton. Probably lots of other places relatively near by that I'm not aware of. Like I said, there's about 50 synthetic clay courts within minutes of my house.

    I've come to prefer playing on hard courts however, because of the truer bounce and it seems to be easier on my legs.
     
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  11. spaceman_spiff

    spaceman_spiff Hall of Fame

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    Weren't rubberized surfaces made illegal for international track and field events due to the injuries they cause for distance runners? I could have sworn I heard something about the amount of energy returned back into the runners' legs increased the number of overuse-type injuries.

    If that's the case, it's probably not good for tennis players.
     
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  12. Lukhas

    Lukhas Legend

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    Oh well, then no one can buys the "American is bad on clay because there's no clay in America" excuse anymore. Wonder why Nick B. hasn't put one or two courts in his academy. Maybe he doesn't care.
     
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  13. GuyClinch

    GuyClinch Hall of Fame

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    Har-Tru doesn't play like the red clay they use in Europe. It's faster. I too actually think hardcourts are better for practice.

    The true bounce at the lower level leads to longer rallies and maybe its just me but topspin and slice both seem blunted a bit by the faster hard court.

    On a har-tru court if you hit alot of topspin sometimes it lands in a funny spot and gets a weird bounce thats alot higher then you expect or off at an angle a bit..

    So lauching alot of spinny shots gets you free points. But on hardcourts it rewards you for simple - hit em where they aint kinda winners - where you just use topspin to keep the ball on the court.

    As far the rubberized courts - they have them. They feel fun - but I have noticed the rubber paying off one way or the other..
     
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  14. Rjtennis

    Rjtennis Hall of Fame

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    I have 12 indoor rebound ace indoor courts right by my house. I think it's a negligible difference from hard court on the body. It definetly plays slower and you get a higher bounce compared to regular HC.
     
    Last edited: Jul 24, 2013
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