How to play on a super-slippery court?

TeamOB

Professional
I was playing in a tournament this week under very tough conditions. The surface was Har-Tru, but it was poorly maintained. The courts are used year-round (they put up a bubble in the winter), often rolled and rarely watered. Because of this, the surface is super dry and rock-hard with a little bit of dry clay dust on top. It is pretty much a hard court with about a quarter inch of sand sprinkled on. It is impossible to get a footing or push off. The stuff is like an ice rink. Absolutely the slipperiest court I've ever seen. Throughout the tourney I (and most of the other players) struggled tremendously with movement. I couldn't dig my feet into the clay to push off or change direction. I couldn't take a ball early because I had absolutely no confidence in the position of my feet. I couldn't slide without risking a fall. Many players (including me) complained to the tournament director and asked for the courts to be watered, but it didn't really help. The courts were so hard that they could only be watered very lightly to avoid forming puddles. The little bit of water didn't change much and quickly dried up. We were pretty much stuck with playing on uber-slippery courts. How do I adjust to these conditions? Any tips on how to fix my movement to work on this court?


P.S. This seems to be the same issue that came up in Madrid 2012. Nadal and Djokovic couldn't handle it but Fed found a way to adjust. What did Fed do?
 

GoudX

Professional
Fed hit serves, forehands, slices and volleys that forced his opponents to run, while hitting on the rise so he didn't have to move much himself. That way his opponent slipped sooner.
 

TeamOB

Professional
Fed hit serves, forehands, slices and volleys that forced his opponents to run, while hitting on the rise so he didn't have to move much himself. That way his opponent slipped sooner.
This is pretty much what I tried to do. The "hitting on the rise" part gave me trouble though. Hitting on the rise requires precise footwork and is tough to pull off when you are slipping and sliding all over the place. I made lots of UFEs by trying to take the ball early without being able to set my feet. It is a very tough adjustment to make. Fed managed to pull it off with his GOAT footwork. Since my footwork is orders of magnitude worse, I played some ugly matches this tourney. My opponents were all in the same boat though, so I managed to scrape out some decent wins. The quality of play was pretty low though.
 

smileydamp

New User
Well this is the only thread/discussion I found on the internet for hardcourt with sand on it.

I have played on 2 courts for the 1st time this year, with a thin but uniform layer of sand. Much less than yours, perhaps few millimeters only.

I struggled badly but my opponents didn't and I lost on both the courts.

I guess the main strategy for lower level players might be to have much newer shoes with deep treads and perhaps slice quite a bit - away from the opponent - so they have to run.
 

movdqa

Talk Tennis Guru
If I were playing on a court with debris on it regularly, I'd bring a push broom and clean it off before playing. It's somewhat like playing on a clay court that you have to groom yourself though you usually sweep the clay court and do the lines after playing.

I slipped on a tennis court a long time ago and fell. There was melting snow on the court. I was young and there was no real damage but falls when you're older can put you out of commission for a while.
 
D

Deleted member 23235

Guest
I was playing in a tournament this week under very tough conditions. The surface was Har-Tru, but it was poorly maintained. The courts are used year-round (they put up a bubble in the winter), often rolled and rarely watered. Because of this, the surface is super dry and rock-hard with a little bit of dry clay dust on top. It is pretty much a hard court with about a quarter inch of sand sprinkled on. It is impossible to get a footing or push off. The stuff is like an ice rink. Absolutely the slipperiest court I've ever seen. Throughout the tourney I (and most of the other players) struggled tremendously with movement. I couldn't dig my feet into the clay to push off or change direction. I couldn't take a ball early because I had absolutely no confidence in the position of my feet. I couldn't slide without risking a fall. Many players (including me) complained to the tournament director and asked for the courts to be watered, but it didn't really help. The courts were so hard that they could only be watered very lightly to avoid forming puddles. The little bit of water didn't change much and quickly dried up. We were pretty much stuck with playing on uber-slippery courts. How do I adjust to these conditions? Any tips on how to fix my movement to work on this court?


P.S. This seems to be the same issue that came up in Madrid 2012. Nadal and Djokovic couldn't handle it but Fed found a way to adjust. What did Fed do?
Obvious question... but since I didn't see it mentioned... were you wearing clay court sneakers?
Yes, there is a difference (in traction) between hard court herring bone sole patterns, and soft court herring bone sole patterns.

Aside from that,... more footwork (ie. smaller steps), avoid extend too far beyond your base (ie. shoulders),... exactly what you'll do if you were walking or running on ice.
 

Fintft

Legend
.

I guess the main strategy for lower level players might be to have much newer shoes with deep treads ...
Yeah I wanted to ask the OP if he used clay shoes? And even among those after reading here that Asics Gel Resolution have the deepest treads, that's what I started to use over the last few years and it helps a lot.

Smaller steps and bouncing helps of course, but if you are deep in dust (of har-tru) sometimes you can't even take off (push), so I also try to vary my position so that I'm not in that zone (usually 1 m behind the baseline, in the center of the court).
 
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