2018 US Open Court Slowing Likely Permanent

Gary Duane

G.O.A.T.
And I think its actually wrong. The concrete base just means its a bit higher bouncing. Grit level effects speed. My statement that the higher bounce in and of itself would slow the courts down is largely incorrect. Friction level (or grit) determines this. I'm still wrestling with the whole thing. At this point we know that concrete base for asphalt is a significant change.
I'm glad to see we have gotten this right, and in fact what we are saying here goes way beyond what most people understand. We don't care why the bounce is higher or lower, we only care that it is. Anything that makes the bounce higher is more like clay. Anything that makes the bounce much lower is more like grass. HC remains in between but with quite a bit of variation. I don't understand all the factors that make indoor tennis on HC slower, but I have read that often the surface is laid over something that is less firm. Is that true? Can someone confirm that?

Regardless, I think we all know that generally indoor courts bounce lower.

That's one factor, and it's huge.

The other factor is what causes friction, what the ATP apparently labels as COF or coefficient of friction. I'm in danger of embarrassing myself if I go any further, but as I understand it anything that adds friction slows down forward motion. The only balls not affected spin at the same rate they are moving forward, and that is very VERY rare. It demands something like a 5000 rmp spin (39 mph) with the ball slowing down to no more than that at the moment it bounces. A bit of thought tells us that most shots are going to "brake", with moderate topspin slowing down and flat balls slowed a lot. Most of all slice is hugely reduced at the moment of the bounce.

So it becomes obvious that making the courts very smooth will reduce this friction to a minimum, and for sure HC surfaces could play as fast as grass or faster if you make them very smooth and reduced the bounce. But I don't think we are ever going to see such a low bounce in events like the USO or even the AO. The bounce there is reasonably high.

And the bottom line is that anything that causes the balls to "put on the brakes" changes the angle more at which they bounce, so the bounce will be more vertical.

In addition - and I finally learned this last week - the less spin, the more the speed of the ball contributes to the height of the shot. The reason is that less spin means the ball is spinning slower than the forward motion, so the friction takes some of that forward motion and transfers it to more vertical motion. This means that a shot of 2500 rpms, spinning around 19.5 mph, is going to sit up more as grit is increased while it loses pace since quite obviously that shot is traveling faster than that. So yes, a grittier court that has the same bounce as a smoother court, when the ball is simply dropped with no spin, will increase the bounce and take off pace. The result will be a court that is much harder to hit through.

I suspect this is the main factor we are seeing, although an overall higher bounce is also likely - such as at Wimbledon.

Finally - and this I have no idea about - if the hardier rye grass grips the ball more than the old grass, that is going to slow down Wimbledon. And that, in combination with firmer ground under the grass which is making the ball bounce higher, would also make the ball sit up even higher and move through slower. I would assume cutting the grass a bit shorter or doing any of a number of things could reverse some of that. Does the grass grip more when there has been a lot of rain? Is the grass itself then hardier and perhaps courser?
 

Gary Duane

G.O.A.T.
The big factor in all this is the lack of transparency. We could have all this data, but they aren't tell us. It's pretty obvious to me that the lack of transparency is deliberate, calculated.
Crucially thought, the older asphalt is the harder it gets. After a couple of years it's as hard as concrete - hence why it cracks more and more as it ages with temperature changes.
So this would make concrete more stable over time. I also think whatever effect the "harder" concrete has on the bounce is easily negated by other factors in the surface itself, though I suppose theoretically it could make the bounce a tab higher if all other things are equal.
Massive, way more than people seem to give thought to. Changing the pressure of a ball by 10% would make it play significantly different. This is a big part of Wimbledon's change this year.
The eye opener for me is the fact that there is a 5 inch range in what is legal for the bounce. Most of the balls tested back in 2007 or so were not near the lower end, but there was still a difference. Even a difference of 3 inches would be huge. I don't know how much pressure alone changes this. I suspect other variables change the bounce, but do we really care? The bottom line is that a reduction in bounce of 3 inches would be huge.

However, I suspect both the soil under the grass and the grass itself are also huge factors.
Similarly, the changes in balls are not necessarily deliberate either. Season to season variation in the supposedly same ball is basically unavoidable given how cheaply they try and make them and the supply chain (of the components) which would set benchmarks for characteristics that would not be set in stone at all (because would make it impossibly hard to manage). So if you buy two cans of the same balls produced a year apart there's little chance they will be as identical as the ball companies would have you believe.
Tests showed variation in balls from the same can, and those variations were not only bounce but also diameter and the amount of the material on the "cover". So yes, it's not a science or as much as it could be.
100%. And their often claims to have done "nothing different to last year" are suspicious in the extreme imo. Seeing how different the Aussie Open 2017 vs 2018 or Wimbledon 2018 vs 2019 played the differences just can't be explained as random occurrences. They changed too clearly in general conditions but it is entirely against their interest for them to admit, even inadvertently, that they created conditions which get interpreted as trying to help or hinder particular players.
Yup. It's also impossible to know their reasons for changing things. I suspect often it is more stupidity/incompetence than outright favoritism towards this or that player. The way the world works, the people with the most power to change things often are the worst people to be in charge. They get power and then can't be controlled/dislodged. No reason to think tennis is any different.
 

Meles

Bionic Poster
Manufacturers could make whatever they want, but ATP players would have to use what complies with the rules. It's no different to drug testing.

It really is that simple.

Sent from my Pixel XL using Tapatalk


But it would be banned everywhere like the Spaghetti string racket. Nobody is going to put the Poly genie back in the bottle.
 

Meles

Bionic Poster
Not seeing the Popyrin thing. He is not that good, he just does not seem very stable. His game seems chaotic and uses a lot of top spin for a guy that moves below average. Then again, I have only seen him play like 3 times.
He's young so we're just going to have to weight at three years before dubbing him some kind of lightweight Isner. What you say applies to Jarry and he's winning events on tour now. Popyrin is much higher ranked at the same age so he's almost assured of some measure of success at this point.
 

beard

Professional
The organizers should just make a rule that federer and only federer needs to pour quick drying cement into his shoes before every match. Might as well, with all these changes its basically how they treat fed right now.
Pathetic.... Fed fans whining is out of all proportions... Every tournament same story, even during Wimbledon... Its slow, its slow... And their man was great at that perfect conditions for him...
I mean, its fun to listen all that whining, so dont stop pls...
 

Lleytonstation

Hall of Fame
Pathetic.... Fed fans whining is out of all proportions... Every tournament same story, even during Wimbledon... Its slow, its slow... And their man was great at that perfect conditions for him...
I mean, its fun to listen all that whining, so dont stop pls...
See, not everything is about Fed. I don't like slow courts because I like variety in tennis that showcases all types of tennis talents. There needs to be some really fast, really slow, and some in between.

Like you, I believe Fed at his age needs slower courts (not insanely slow). He wants low bounce, but I am looking more to the future. You can't have all the courts playing similar. I think you can even agree that courts as a whole play more similar to each other than previous generations. Now I guess it is in a opinion on whether that is good or bad.
 

Meles

Bionic Poster
.....HC remains in between but with quite a bit of variation. I don't understand all the factors that make indoor tennis on HC slower, but I have read that often the surface is laid over something that is less firm. Is that true? Can someone confirm that?

Regardless, I think we all know that generally indoor courts bounce lower.

That's one factor, and it's huge.
......

The norm is the interlocking prefinished 4x8 sheets, but we see above where they put that down and then recoated the whole thing at the O2 in London.

This article shows the typical interlocking system now used by the ATP for indoor events:
https://newyorkopen.com/the-courts/

They actually make them offsite and then bring in the pieces.

Of course depending on the venue what is under these pieces could vary. I believe for the Laver Cup they went over an ice rink:

You could also have a venue where they have to enlarge the floor area and elevate it. So the sub floor will vary at indoor events. Its crude, but its like comparing a floating laminate floor to pavement outside. Sure you can put your layers on the surface, but its going to have more give and likely a thin protective layer to protect the floor over which it is going. As far as indoor venues go I'd say Vienna the last few years has been the slowest with Basel being on the faster side. The problem for the Austrians quest for a Thiem victory is the altitude is nearly 2000 feet so the ball goes quicker through the air due to lower air density; they can't win.:cry:
 

beard

Professional
See, not everything is about Fed. I don't like slow courts because I like variety in tennis that showcases all types of tennis talents. There needs to be some really fast, really slow, and some in between.

Like you, I believe Fed at his age needs slower courts (not insanely slow). He wants low bounce, but I am looking more to the future. You can't have all the courts playing similar. I think you can even agree that courts as a whole play more similar to each other than previous generations. Now I guess it is in a opinion on whether that is good or bad.
I like watching sv tennis too, but it seem impossible to make surfaces suitable for that kind of tennis and not to make tournament servebot fest.
So, I am ok with slowing, because hate watching serveboting...

There were si many complaints about latest W, and for me it was very pleasant to watch, specially big 3 matches, great tennis...
 

Lleytonstation

Hall of Fame
I like watching sv tennis too, but it seem impossible to make surfaces suitable for that kind of tennis and not to make tournament servebot fest.
So, I am ok with slowing, because hate watching serveboting...

There were si many complaints about latest W, and for me it was very pleasant to watch, specially big 3 matches, great tennis...
Can't argue with that.
 

Gary Duane

G.O.A.T.
See, not everything is about Fed. I don't like slow courts because I like variety in tennis that showcases all types of tennis talents. There needs to be some really fast, really slow, and some in between.

Like you, I believe Fed at his age needs slower courts (not insanely slow). He wants low bounce, but I am looking more to the future. You can't have all the courts playing similar. I think you can even agree that courts as a whole play more similar to each other than previous generations. Now I guess it is in a opinion on whether that is good or bad.
We've all been talking about "speed", but the bottom line is still the bounce. Anything that makes the height of bounce more standardized is going to standardize tennis. Everything else is probably secondary, including the grit of the surface.
 

Gary Duane

G.O.A.T.

The norm is the interlocking prefinished 4x8 sheets, but we see above where they put that down and then recoated the whole thing at the O2 in London.

This article shows the typical interlocking system now used by the ATP for indoor events:
https://newyorkopen.com/the-courts/

They actually make them offsite and then bring in the pieces.

Of course depending on the venue what is under these pieces could vary. I believe for the Laver Cup they went over an ice rink:

You could also have a venue where they have to enlarge the floor area and elevate it. So the sub floor will vary at indoor events. Its crude, but its like comparing a floating laminate floor to pavement outside. Sure you can put your layers on the surface, but its going to have more give and likely a thin protective layer to protect the floor over which it is going. As far as indoor venues go I'd say Vienna the last few years has been the slowest with Basel being on the faster side. The problem for the Austrians quest for a Thiem victory is the altitude is nearly 2000 feet so the ball goes quicker through the air due to lower air density; they can't win.:cry:
Those vidoes are interesting for sure. Anyway, the bottom line is that there is more give, and that makes the bounce lower. Do I have this right? So it's still coming down to bounce and friction, friction coming from the surface and who they modify the surface. I guess the old carpet matches were done a bit like the events you showed.
 

Bobby Jr

G.O.A.T.
Those vidoes are interesting for sure. Anyway, the bottom line is that there is more give, and that makes the bounce lower. Do I have this right? So it's still coming down to bounce and friction, friction coming from the surface and who they modify the surface. I guess the old carpet matches were done a bit like the events you showed.
You have it right. And that has been the experience in London - it's been a slowish, fairly low bouncing court which gives both ends of the spectrum of play something to be happy about. It's not zippy, but it's also hard to crank up the power moonballs too. Hence Federer's success there.
 

Meles

Bionic Poster
Those vidoes are interesting for sure. Anyway, the bottom line is that there is more give, and that makes the bounce lower. Do I have this right? So it's still coming down to bounce and friction, friction coming from the surface and who they modify the surface. I guess the old carpet matches were done a bit like the events you showed.
I've not had the energy to get back into this thread, but its on my mind and I've got more replies to make to your big poast earlier.
 
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