Do you prefer fast or slow courts?

Which do you prefer to watch?


  • Total voters
    92

aaron_h27

Hall of Fame
I've always liked watching tennis on Green Clay. Not super slow like Red Clay but a bit slower than most hard courts, quick enough to play any type of style on
 

RS

Bionic Poster
That one will actually require an absolute vs relative level. Any team before about 2007 is getting smoked because of the massive 3 point shooting disparity.
I will bear that in mind. Maybe I will do 80s teams vs 90s too.
 
This is about watching tennis, not necessarily playing it. I've been re-watching a few classic matches from my favourite tournament, Wimbledon. Some of my favourites include Sampras-Federer 2001, Federer-Henman 2001, Ivanišević-Rafter 2001, Federer-Nadal 2008, Federer-Roddick 2009.

The courts did begin to slow down over this period but compared to today, the points were so quick and fluid. I also loved the old serve/volleying and best of all the dominance of single-handed backhands.

What do you prefer?
Both. I enjoy variety.
 

Kralingen

Bionic Poster
Even the 15 Warriors shoot less threes than the average team nowadays
My fear is the 2024 Celtics will basically be the only model of basketball moving forward. The Warriors were pretty unique in comparison. But Boston is soulless efficiency and they don’t have any star players that are totally irreplaceable (such as Steph). Endless 3&D players, 5-out searching for corner threes, an arms race to 3 and nothing else.
 
It takes more skill on the slower courts. Slower courts reward variety and all court play. Faster courts get boring as it’s just bashing and a power contest until someone hits an error.
 

Rovesciarete

Hall of Fame
Mid 2000s US Open surface made for a real, real nice watch. I love those slugfests with Agassi, Fed, Blake, Dave etc. Really good tempo to the rallies.

Agreed. Overall I enjoy the slightly faster courts more but foremost I like to see some range in the conditions tennis players face. Apart from the balls that is.
 

PMChambers

Hall of Fame
I don't think court as speed in today's game makes much different. The surface type makes more of a difference. Grass - HC - Clay
US 2 Slow-Med
AO 4 Med,-Fast
Both HC play similarly.

Clay are all Slow they play similarly to each other. Though high altitude courts play a little different.

Wim 3 Med plays doesn't play like HC but it same speed as most HC

Indoor HC play faster though the court speed is the same. AO 42 v Sha 42.2 index.

There are a few comment here about liking fast courts then indicate Medium. So obviously the eye test doesn't indicate speed.


According to ITF there are no Majors or Masters currently Cat 5 Fast. I can't find Halle as 500 which could be Fast by eye test. Carpet and Wood are gone and Grass is too "Grassy" manicured to be fast. IE if it's green it's not Fast.

I'd go with
1. Med or Slow-Med HC
2. Med-Fast HC
3. Clay
4. Grass
Fast HC doesn't exist, not since 90s when it was smooth concrete

Reason is HC is consistent. Bounce, movement, etc. Grass is like watching a cat on ice, it's not hampering not helping.
Slow-Med are gritty so the spin effects are more pronounced. Topspin kicks, slice pulls up, side moves, etc. So variation is a thing, so to on serve as kicker force players back and slider open the court. So more cat and mouse than on fast.

The Mad Russian showed you can still volley on Med-Fast in AO final. But it's not a winning strategy long term. Whilst poly exists volleying is purely a surprise or easy put away tactic.
 

nolefam_2024

Talk Tennis Guru
I like Djokovic on HC. Be it on fast or slow HC.

I don't like clay courts be it faster or slower. The sapping of strength due to slowest courts is not really fun for me. Neither is constant exchange of break of serves. That gets me frustrated.

Instead I like players shaping up the game around their serves.
 

T&M Returns

Rookie
Fast. Requires more talent and ability and mental toughness . Why? Fast courts Makes you prone to upsets. On a slow court in a best of 5 the best baseliners wins 9 times out of 10. On fast anyone can win. Your margin of error is much smaller. Slow courts is basically bumper bowling for kids LOL. While the adults further down the lanes doing real bowling on fast slick surfaces with no bumpers. If you’re having an off day on fast courts, youre. in trouble. You can get away with sucking for the day on slow courts especially in a best of 5. You also have to think quick on your feet on fast court. On slow courts you know the routine and can just grind the guy down
This is false and, ironically, you describe exactly why after saying you think it takes more talent.

It's expressly because it does allow for more upsets is the reason why it takes less skill to win on the surface. Look at who has had success on the grass courts at times in recent years, or even historically. I'm sure you can think of a few names where these players are unable to do much on higher bouncing courts (the courts are not actually slower, and in fact the ball speed off the court is faster. It's just that the bounce is so much more vertical you get more time to get to it, while grass is actually slower in velocity but lower bouncing).

Think about it. If you have to pick a court where your life depended on being able to win a game off a pro. What court are you picking? You're going to pick grass simply because of the easier time holding serve. Picking anything else would be kinda stupid wouldn't it? So it's actually pretty obvious it takes "greater skill" to play on the higher bouncing courts where you get more time. It requires more overall skill, more athleticism, better stamina, basically anything that makes you an athlete. You could literally get on a grass court and bang down serves all day to win matches, and there are plenty of people who basically were able to ride that strategy to winning the championships.

On no other surface is that possible. Grass is great, and Wimbledon is maybe my favorite tournament, but gotta call it the way it is.
 

Humble Crumble

Semi-Pro
This is false and, ironically, you describe exactly why after saying you think it takes more talent.

It's expressly because it does allow for more upsets is the reason why it takes less skill to win on the surface. Look at who has had success on the grass courts at times in recent years, or even historically. I'm sure you can think of a few names where these players are unable to do much on higher bouncing courts (the courts are not actually slower, and in fact the ball speed off the court is faster. It's just that the bounce is so much more vertical you get more time to get to it, while grass is actually slower in velocity but lower bouncing).

Think about it. If you have to pick a court where your life depended on being able to win a game off a pro. What court are you picking? You're going to pick grass simply because of the easier time holding serve. Picking anything else would be kinda stupid wouldn't it? So it's actually pretty obvious it takes "greater skill" to play on the higher bouncing courts where you get more time. It requires more overall skill, more athleticism, better stamina, basically anything that makes you an athlete. You could literally get on a grass court and bang down serves all day to win matches, and there are plenty of people who basically were able to ride that strategy to winning the championships.

On no other surface is that possible. Grass is great, and Wimbledon is maybe my favorite tournament, but gotta call it the way it is.

This is cope for clay merchants.
 

ChaelAZ

G.O.A.T.
At my age I personally like a little slower court, though I don't have a ton of play time on anything other than HC. As for watching, I can appreciate any court speed, but fast grass and servebotds, watching quick points and games is totally boring to me - Raonic just had his day, is a perfect example.

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AgassiSuperSlam11

Professional
I don't care too much court speed when watching, just care more about the quality of the tennis. However, I do like medium-fast at times as it's closer to a neutral speed. An interesting stat is that Madrid despite being classified as a category 1 court pace index it had a 71.4% 1st serve hold percentage last year. The stat is actually higher than many hard courts and even some grass tournaments. It shows the impact of altitude on the ball.

As for playing due to some degenerative issues in my left arm I focus more on the tennis balls than court speed. I never had issues with Wilson (US Open 4 recently) and Penn balls. There are several brands notorious for not being easy on the arm (no need to mention names). I also use a 105 square-inch for the BH wing as I prefer OHBH to protect the strained muscle fibers on the tendon of the left arm. As long as i burn some calories and don't aggravate any pre-existing condition then I'm fine with the speed.
 
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