Kyrgios: "Grass is pure tennis, clay is not"

I would love for a surface that rewards attacking tennis no matter the type of player you are. I yearn for Wimbledon to go back to 90's type of grass which were mixed type of grass 30/70 ratio rather than 100 percent perennial rye grass. That type of grass encourages serve and volley even more. I think that the art of serve and volley is being lost. If they bring back serve and volley, it provides a greater variety to the tennis and different type of skill that is required to be successful on grass.
 

2good4U

Professional
Why would anybody think tennis is not supposed to be played on grass-when the most revered of the four slams still is, the Aussie was played on it until 30 years ago & the US until the mid 1970's?
Why would anybody look at a worn out dirt patch that a grass court becomes when the modern game is played on it,
and think it's the way to go?

Hard to 'revere' those sadly worn out, anachronistic courts.

But hey, they're prestigious, so why ask why.
 
Why would anybody look at a worn out dirt patch that a grass court becomes when the modern game is played on it,
and think it's the way to go?

Hard to 'revere' those sadly worn out, anachronistic courts.

But hey, they're prestigious, so why ask why.
They are beautiful, but I might be biased being English & that was what I mostly grew up watching.
 

smash hit

Professional
I would love for a surface that rewards attacking tennis no matter the type of player you are. I yearn for Wimbledon to go back to 90's type of grass which were mixed type of grass 30/70 ratio rather than 100 percent perennial rye grass. That type of grass encourages serve and volley even more. I think that the art of serve and volley is being lost. If they bring back serve and volley, it provides a greater variety to the tennis and different type of skill that is required to be successful on grass.
Not everyone would agree that serve and volley provides greater variety and as a consequence more enjoyable tennis.

https://www.livemint.com/Leisure/k8zr13UyQOZB25oIRQDEOM/Byebye-serve-and-volley.html

Remember the diving exploits of “Boom Boom” Boris Becker? The blinding pace of “Pistol Pete” Sampras’ serves and the inconsistent brilliance of Goran Ivanišević’s? If you had been gripped by the serve-and-volley duels of Wimbledon, you must have felt their absence of late. Players now inevitably camp at the baseline, churning out heavy-spun groundstrokes. The dash to the net after serving has become history. It isn’t that modern players don’t want to emulate the serve-and-volley greats of the past—it’s just that they can’t. Serve and volley as bread-and-butter tennis is now no more than a figment of tennis lore.

It all goes back to 2001, when The All England Lawn Tennis and Croquet Club (AELTC) got rid of its old turf at Wimbledon (a 70:30 mix of rye and creeping red fescue) and introduced 100% perennial ryegrass. This new grass is taller and more durable, allowing the courts to dry better (note that England is rainy), making them harder and helping the balls bounce higher. In comparison, 30% of the old surface was composed of a low-lying creeping grass that retained moisture and made the ball skid. This made for low bounce and the sliding effect which made underspin shots deadly.

It wasn’t a coincidence, then, that while the 2001 final was contested between two heavy servers and quintessential net-rushers—Ivanišević and Patrick Rafter—the 2002 event saw hard-core baseliners Lleyton Hewitt and David Nalbandian fighting for the trophy.

“Not only the courts, even the balls have changed over time. They used to be harder earlier and weren’t as heavy. It was easier to be more aggressive on the volleys,” says Leander Paes, India’s most successful player at Wimbledon with five titles (one men’s doubles and four mixed doubles) to his name. “It isn’t that easy to put away shots on these courts, especially with the balls feeling heavier.”

Jaidip Mukerjea, who reached the fourth round at The Championships four times, in 1963, 1964, 1966 and 1973, is even more vocal about the impact of the change in grass. “On these new courts, there is no way that even Sampras would have got anywhere near his seven titles. It’s a different kind of tennis Wimbledon now demands of its winners.”
It is widely believed that the blitz of aces and winners had made grass-court tennis a bit monotonous—this was, in fact, one of the main reasons for the change in grass.

“The 2001 final was considered one of the most boring as there were hardly any rallies,” says India’s Davis Cup captain Zeeshan Ali. “I am told that there was a meeting of the organizers after that, where it was decided that while grass would be retained, it would be slowed down” Ali played the singles at Wimbledon in 1989 and figured in four doubles draws, in 1988, 1989, 1990 and 1991.

While old-school aficionados may not be too pleased, the slower pace on the refurbished courts since 2001 has led to longer matches and more value for money for fans, Ali points out.
 
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merwy

G.O.A.T.
I love how grass court tennis gets romanticized here.

Yes, Federer on grass is the most beautiful thing in the history of tennis. Sampras on grass was also really pleasurable watch.

But if I gave you Isner vs. Raonic, how excited would you get?
I think the hate for clay comes partly from the fact that rallies are a bit more boring to watch on tv, but also for a large part because clay isn't a prevalent surface in the US. In most European countries it's the preferred surface.
 

Big Bagel

Professional
Its certainly not a lazy man's surface.
You are definitely right. Clay court tennis and grass court tennis both take tennis-specific skills and general athleticism/fitness. Clay favors general athleticism/fitness over tennis-specific skills, whereas grass court tennis favors tennis-specific skills over general athleticism/fitness.
 

smash hit

Professional
You are definitely right. Clay court tennis and grass court tennis both take tennis-specific skills and general athleticism/fitness. Clay favors general athleticism/fitness over tennis-specific skills, whereas grass court tennis favors tennis-specific skills over general athleticism/fitness.
Just curious, which tennis specific skills are you referring to in relation to grass court tennis as opposed to clay court tennis?
 

Big Bagel

Professional
It favors feeling natural with a racquet in your hand. Being able to change it up with your groundstrokes, using topspin and slice, coming inside the baseline to attack, hitting difficult half volleys, volleying in general, and also the serve. Those are all aspects of the game that are very difficult to learn if you are not comfortable with a racquet in your hand. Clay court tennis lets you be comfortable with topspin groundstrokes and have general athleticism and still prevail. You can teach any athlete to hit topspin groundstrokes. You cannot teach any athlete to be comfortable with a racquet in their hand to hit good serves, slices, half and normal volleys, etc. Most athletes will still pick these up eventually, but it will take a lot longer, and some great athletes just will never feel natural with a racquet in their hand. Yes, grass lets you get away with only having a big serve as a weapon, but even that is not a skill very easily learned by other athletes in my experience as a player and a coach; it requires being comfortable with a racquet in your hand moreso than just hitting topspin groundstrokes. I'm not saying you can feel uneasy with a racquet in your hand and still hit great groundstrokes, just that, in general, it is a lot easier for a non-tennis athlete to learn good groundstrokes than it is to learn a good serve.
 

hoodjem

G.O.A.T.
Is Nick a TTW curmudgeon? :p

"People say tennis now doesn’t belong on the grass but that’s not true", said Kyrgios. "It is pure tennis at its finest. You have to be talented to play on grass. If you have a good serve and a good return, you get rewarded. If you come forward you benefit but if you do that on any other surface, you get punished".

"Clay-court tennis for me is not tennis at all. There is no creativity. It’s all about fitness and lasting out there. There’s none of the skill that is needed for grass", added Kyrgios.


https://www.essentiallysports.com/grass-pure-tennis-clay-nick-kyrgios/amp/
Accident versus stamina.

Grass: Bad bounces, low bounces, players slipping, worn-out surface, short points.

Clay: grinding matches, endless points, endless rallies, slugfests, long points.

Take your pick.
 

AlexanderTheGreat08

Hall of Fame
Think about the pre-Rafa days though, the list of French champs is full of one-hit wonders and guys who didn't/couldn't win anywhere else.

Chang, Gomez, Muster, Moya, Costa, Ferrero, Gaudio.

Wimbledon has Krajicek, Ivanesevic, and Stich...and has been dominated (much more so than the French) by players who backed up their results elsewhere (Sampras, Fed, Djokovic, Becker, Edberg, Hewitt)
Chang won the USO , Moyá and Ferrero reached HC major finals
 

Big Bagel

Professional
Accident versus stamina.

Grass: Bad bounces, low bounces, players slipping, worn-out surface, short points.

Clay: grinding matches, endless points, endless rallies, slugfests, long points.

Take your pick.
If you want stamina watch a marathon, triathlon, or Tour de France. I'd rather watch creativity, adaptability, and variety than just a slugfest.
 

AlexanderTheGreat08

Hall of Fame
If all tennis were played on clay, TV ratings would be lower and interest in the sport would be lower. If all tennis were played on grass or fast hard courts, TV ratings would be as good or better as now and interest would be better.

Clay is part of history and it may be the best surface to play on as a rec player as it is easy on the body, but pro tennis on clay can get boring.
BS
 

smash hit

Professional
If you want stamina watch a marathon, triathlon, or Tour de France. I'd rather watch creativity, adaptability, and variety than just a slugfest.
Do you think Nick Bollettieri got it wrong in his recent article?

http://baseline.tennis.com/article/74438/nick-bollettieri-dirt-clay-court-secrets-lesson

One great thing about dirt ball is the added style, flair and creativity that is shown off. The slower conditions allow time for the players to take bigger swings and run down shots. Often, the dirt-ball strategy involves attacking deep then short to create openings. You can exploit these openings with shots you might not otherwise try on hard courts such as drop shots, lobs, slices, chips and sharply angled shots that will force opponents to defend the entire court, not just the backcourt.
 

Pheasant

Hall of Fame
I love the variety of surfaces, especially from the last century. Watching McEnroe in 1984 trying to finally win a FO trophy on his worst surface was amazing. That is by far the most heart-breaking match that I've ever watched. Luckily, Wimbledon rolled around and my favorite player at that time got his trophy.

So although clay has been a major thorn in the side of my favorite players(McEnroe, Sampras, Federer), I wouldn't have it any other way. I am old school, however. So I wish that carpet would be brought back for the WTF. And I wish the old lush grass from pre-2002 would be brought back as well. I love Serve and Volley tennis. It's exciting. But I love the variety of the surfaces of tennis much more. We need clay.

Today, the surfaces are too homogenized, which is artificially inflating the slam count of the Big 3. One style of tennis works well on all surfaces these days. That's the part of the modern game that I don't like. But either way, clay needs to stay. Clay is a huge part of tennis history.
 

Big Bagel

Professional
Slices are not very effective on clay at the pro level other than on defense. Lobs are almost never utilized in the pro game. Sharply angled shots are just a variety of ground stroke which, again, you don't see that often because people are always focused on depth since it's easier to run down those angles on clay. Drop shots can be effective on clay, but you can't hit a good drop shot from behind the baseline consistently, which is where pros are staying 99% of the time on clay courts these days.

The clay has the potential to have similar variety as hard courts and grass (I'd argue slightly less, but similar enough), but that's not what we are seeing. What we see are topspin groundstroke battles, benefiting those who are fit over those who have variety and skill with a tennis racquet.
 

Elektra

Professional
I am not a big fan of the clay but grass nowadays does not reward a lot of players. Grass is also to expensive to upkeep. The reason why people love it is cause it is an engandgered species in sport.
 

Mustard

Talk Tennis Guru
For me, clay is the ultimate for the best tennis players. On clay, you have to rally well and you have to build up momentum from scratch on a regular basis. Nadal is the best at it. On grass, it's about taking chances and being aggressive, and riding momentum once you gain it. Grass kind of gives the underdogs more chance. On clay, you are not going to chance anything.
 

KINGROGER

G.O.A.T.
No one's good enough to play SnV at RG and win it. Atleast not for the last 15 years. I can't see how someone can play SnV on clay and win against Nadalovic. All you can do is identify the short ball and rush to the net to play a nice volley. Even this can't be done consistently.
So why couldn’t PETE do it?
 

arcadewater19

New User
Is not that one surface is better than the other. It's just that there's no competition on clay besides Nadal, joker, and Thiem. There's really no point watching the first few rounds cause the top clay court players never lose. On the other hand, on grass, there's federer, joker, Murray, Nadal, kyros , zverev, and fed jr. If grass plays faster, include ronic, isner, and Anderson. That's why I think Fed 8 Wimbledon is more impressive than Nadal 11
 

Boom-Boom

Legend
Is Nick a TTW curmudgeon? :p

"People say tennis now doesn’t belong on the grass but that’s not true", said Kyrgios. "It is pure tennis at its finest. You have to be talented to play on grass. If you have a good serve and a good return, you get rewarded. If you come forward you benefit but if you do that on any other surface, you get punished".

"Clay-court tennis for me is not tennis at all. There is no creativity. It’s all about fitness and lasting out there. There’s none of the skill that is needed for grass", added Kyrgios.


https://www.essentiallysports.com/grass-pure-tennis-clay-nick-kyrgios/amp/
excellent and lucid analysis by St Nick
 

clayqueen

Talk Tennis Guru
Is Nick a TTW curmudgeon? :p

"People say tennis now doesn’t belong on the grass but that’s not true", said Kyrgios. "It is pure tennis at its finest. You have to be talented to play on grass. If you have a good serve and a good return, you get rewarded. If you come forward you benefit but if you do that on any other surface, you get punished".

"Clay-court tennis for me is not tennis at all. There is no creativity. It’s all about fitness and lasting out there. There’s none of the skill that is needed for grass", added Kyrgios.


https://www.essentiallysports.com/grass-pure-tennis-clay-nick-kyrgios/amp/
Kyrgios, this is rubbish. Sorry to tell you mate.
 

joe sch

Legend
Tilden never won the French, another case of sour grapes. Basically if I am not good on it, it has to be bad lol. Not very different from how clay courters used to skip Wimbledon. But to be fair, grass court tennis was quite different in Tilden's time. He had a big serve for his time, but the game wasn't serve dominated at all, people actually played a lot of rallies on grass as well. Now if you have a big serve, you can hide your other weaknesses on grass to an extent. Clay exposes servebots.
Not the case of sour grapes.
Tilden was one of the best players ever and also one of the most analytical.
He actually wrote books on tennis and strategy unlike the champions from the last few decades.
You must understand the game of lawn tennis and the way the game was played before the graphite baseline bashing rackets arrived and dominated the game from the baseline. Tennis was an allcourt game played with small head wood rackets.
That lawn tennis game allowed all types of playing styles.
 

a12345

Professional
Grass court tennis is like a war.

There is pressure on every single point. Breaking someones serve on a grass court is a heavy blow and feels like a gladiator battle because its so hard, whereas on other surfaces you think I can break back later.

There seems to be drama in every game, every set, a match plays out like a story on grass court tennis.
 
Grass court tennis is like a war.

There is pressure on every single point. Breaking someones serve on a grass court is a heavy blow and feels like a gladiator battle because its so hard, whereas on other surfaces you think I can break back later.

There seems to be drama in every game, every set, a match plays out like a story on grass court tennis.
Yea man, BUT how it feels if Isner breaks your serve on clay..? Do you feel you can still win the set, or not?
 

a12345

Professional
Grass is the ultimate test of technique and skill because your reaction times are shortened.

Clay is like playing with a training ball. Its a defensive game and a game of fitness and attrition.

Grass is like playing at full speed, all the time. You need better timing, technique, reaction, hand eye coordination, the extra speed means you're testing your skill at the limits.
 

ewiewp

Hall of Fame
Is Nick a TTW curmudgeon? :p

"People say tennis now doesn’t belong on the grass but that’s not true", said Kyrgios. "It is pure tennis at its finest. You have to be talented to play on grass. If you have a good serve and a good return, you get rewarded. If you come forward you benefit but if you do that on any other surface, you get punished".

"Clay-court tennis for me is not tennis at all. There is no creativity. It’s all about fitness and lasting out there. There’s none of the skill that is needed for grass", added Kyrgios.


https://www.essentiallysports.com/grass-pure-tennis-clay-nick-kyrgios/amp/
He has never played on REAL grass.
In the grand scheme, last 15 years are all clay court tennis. baseline and occasional drop volleys/shots. That's clay court tennis.
 

PMChambers

Hall of Fame
Grass court tennis is like a war.

There is pressure on every single point. Breaking someones serve on a grass court is a heavy blow and feels like a gladiator battle because its so hard, whereas on other surfaces you think I can break back later.

There seems to be drama in every game, every set, a match plays out like a story on grass court tennis.
You been playing grass court competition for very long. Harder to find courts these days as most where in inner city affluent areas where I lived so real estate value became too high.
 

Mustard

Talk Tennis Guru
Grass court tennis is like a war.
Grass-court tennis is more like a close range fist fight.

For a true war in tennis terms, think of classic matches like the 2001 and 2002 French Open matches between Hewitt and Canas. Anyone who remembers those Hewitt vs. Canas French Open matches will know what I mean. Both players fighting at their hardest, digging deep, rallying hard, slugging it out for 4 hours plus, getting frustrated, blowing key moments, winning great points, exhausted at the end, you name it. Clay brings out the war in tennis, with its long term strategy and the best side will win over the long haul.
 

TheFifthSet

Legend
For me, clay is the ultimate for the best tennis players. On clay, you have to rally well and you have to build up momentum from scratch on a regular basis. Nadal is the best at it. On grass, it's about taking chances and being aggressive, and riding momentum once you gain it. Grass kind of gives the underdogs more chance. On clay, you are not going to chance anything.
Would that not mean that grass court events are tougher to win?

More chance-based = more parity = a more level playing field = smaller odds that the dominant player on the surface will prevail.

And would that not put a dent in your firm belief that Nadal is an order of magnitude stronger mentally than Federer and Djokovic? You constantly say he is the best big match player of them all, and I don’t even necessarily disagree. But he is accumulating most of these wins on a surface where he should be inherently likelier to win than Federer and Djokovic are on their best surfaces.

On finals of the two surfaces that comprise 65-70% of the tour and 71% of the top 14 events, he is 23-28.
 

Clay lover

Hall of Fame
It just saddens me to see people constantly generalize. Since when are feel, touch and shot-making tennis specific skills and stamina, ability to generate topspin and hit off balance not? Why are winners and volleys indicative of god given talent and the ability to run and hit consistent groundstrokes the result of mere practice? If you need the skill to win a tennis match it's a tennis skill period and is no greater or lesser than any other skill. And don't even get me started with the whole natural talent vs hard work thing. Even if I ran everyday I wouldn't run as fast as Usain bolt or have as much stamina as triathletes . People talk as if talent at hitting the ball is the end all be all in tennis when it's the other things that make a greater difference but are equally hard to acquire.

I just wish people would quit adhering to the rhetoric of the elitist and stop sensationalizing certain skills because they want tennis to be played the "right" way they picture it.
 

Mustard

Talk Tennis Guru
Would that not mean that grass court events are tougher to win?
In the sense that more players have a puncher's chance, yes. In the sense that the best tennis player over the long haul will almost certainly win, no. Clay is the toughest in the sense that it's a long war, and you must have the best strategy and the best tennis over the long haul. You aren't going to luck it out on clay.
 

TheFifthSet

Legend
In the sense that more players have a puncher's chance, yes. In the sense that the best tennis player over the long haul will almost certainly win, no. Clay is the toughest in the sense that it's a long war, and you must have the best strategy and the best tennis over the long haul. You aren't going to luck it out on clay.
While that may be more evident now (the serve, contrary to popular belief, is more dominant in quicker surfaces than ever before, so the average grass court scoreline is closer today), in the history of tennis there has tended to be more ‘dominant’ players on grass than clay. Maybe that is entirely attributable to clay court players fading earlier and thus not adding to their legend on the dirt (with the corollary being that players in Nadal’s mould probably would not last as long in earlier eras) but it is still an important aside.

But anyways, I largely agree with your broader point. Where there is more parity, there is by necessary extension more randomness. That very fact, along with dirtballers and fast-courters aging at similar rates today, objectively makes dominating grass and HC over a long period of time a lot tougher.
 
For me, clay is the ultimate for the best tennis players. On clay, you have to rally well and you have to build up momentum from scratch on a regular basis. Nadal is the best at it. On grass, it's about taking chances and being aggressive, and riding momentum once you gain it. Grass kind of gives the underdogs more chance. On clay, you are not going to chance anything.
Breaking news from the fakestorian camp: Federer chanced his way to 8 Wimbledons.

:cool:
 

Sudacafan

Bionic Poster
I love how grass court tennis gets romanticized here.

Yes, Federer on grass is the most beautiful thing in the history of tennis. Sampras on grass was also really pleasurable watch.

But if I gave you Isner vs. Raonic, how excited would you get?
Grass seems to be an all or nothing surface.
 

airchallenge2

Professional
I love how grass court tennis gets romanticized here.

Yes, Federer on grass is the most beautiful thing in the history of tennis. Sampras on grass was also really pleasurable watch.

But if I gave you Isner vs. Raonic, how excited would you get?
Good point. It makes me wonder how many Wimbledon titles would Raonic & Isner win on the 90's grass. 2-3 each?
 
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