Lefties Serving in the Sun

socallefty

Professional
If a lefty plays only doubles, it might be true as they can usually avoid the sun when paired with a righty and they might not have served facing glare in years. If it is a lefty who plays singles also like me, I deal with the sun in every singles match and so, it is not a greater problem than for righties.

Most public/club courts in Southern California are designed with an orientation (vertical line from the net to the baseline) that is slightly skewed by 10-20 degrees to the west of true north (other end is skewed similarly east of true south). When you play in the late morning or late afternoon, the sun glare is in the face of lefties on one side more so than for righties when serving and so, lefties may struggle more if you play at those times. Early morning and early afternoon, it affects righties more.
 
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OnTheLine

Hall of Fame
And then there are those lefties who don't seem to understand that by being partnered with a righty neither player has to serve in the sun on most courts at most times of the day.

Had an argument with one lefty partner who was wanting to serve on the side that keeps me out of the sun. A. I have a much stronger serve B. Couldn't comprehend that the other side kept her out of the sun.

This only is 100% true for those that serve "properly". Those that serve lined up nearly straight to the baseline (patty cake dink serve) may struggle with the sun on both ends of the court!

On a separate note: women who play mixed get very very good at serving into the sun.

On another separate note: A court complex in town got de-certified for USTA matches 2 years ago. Very nice master-planned community with huge park and 8 court tennis area. All The Courts East-West Oriented. Pure hell to play on.
 

Steady Eddy

Hall of Fame
I don’t get it. Why would it differ?
I live in the Northern Hemisphere, are left- handed and play in the morning. The sun is in my eyes if I serve from the Northern side of the net. It is much better for me if I can serve from the sourthern side. If my partner is a lefty as well, then one of us has to 'take a hit for the team' and serve into the sun.

If this happens in the southern hemisphere then it is the other way around, and it is the right-hander who has the sun in her/his eyes in the morning.
 

jm1980

G.O.A.T.
I live in the Northern Hemisphere, are left- handed and play in the morning. The sun is in my eyes if I serve from the Northern side of the net. It is much better for me if I can serve from the sourthern side. If my partner is a lefty as well, then one of us has to 'take a hit for the team' and serve into the sun.

If this happens in the southern hemisphere then it is the other way around, and it is the right-hander who has the sun in her/his eyes in the morning.
I think @MasterZeb's point is that righties have the same problem on the opposite end
 

MasterZeb

Hall of Fame
I live in the Northern Hemisphere, are left- handed and play in the morning. The sun is in my eyes if I serve from the Northern side of the net. It is much better for me if I can serve from the sourthern side. If my partner is a lefty as well, then one of us has to 'take a hit for the team' and serve into the sun.

If this happens in the southern hemisphere then it is the other way around, and it is the right-hander who has the sun in her/his eyes in the morning.
Isn’t that totally dependent on the orientation of the court?
 

socallefty

Professional
My experience is that most advanced players (lefty or righty) at 4.5 and above are not bothered by the sun as much as they have figured out how to modify their stance/toss to still serve effectively. Most of them played singles growing up and learned to adjust even if they don't play singles regularly anymore. If you have a consistent toss and serve technique, you can serve with your eyes fully blinded by glare without it being a major issue - I even know players who don't even wear a cap or sunglasses against glare because they are more bothered by wearing them.

At advanced levels, the stronger server who helps a doubles team hold serve easier typically serves first irrespective of glare and even if they are a lefty/righty combination. This is true in mixed doubles also where the stronger server serves first and long-time mixed doubles pairs don't seem affected by glare too much as they have learned to adjust also.

In my case, I sometimes can't hit flat 1st serves wide at a high-% on deuce if the glare is really bad in my face as I toss slightly more to the left directly into the sun for that. So, I either serve body/middle or wide kick serves on 1st more than usual on deuce where I can toss more in front of me. I become more predictable in terms of serve/point patterns and it can be a slight disadvantage against regular singles opponents. I avoid playing singles socially at the "wrong" time of the day if possible, but can't avoid it if I am playing league or tournament matches.
 

jm1980

G.O.A.T.
Most courts in the US are designed with an orientation (vertical line from the net to the baseline) that is slightly skewed by 10 degrees to the west of true north (other end is skewed similarly east of true south). When you play in the late morning or late afternoon, the sun glare is in the face of lefties on one side more so than for righties when serving and so, lefties may struggle more if you play at those times. Early morning and early afternoon, it affects righties more.
Interesting. I am not sure how true this is, though. Looking at some large tennis facilities that host pro tournaments, this isn't super consistent. Granted, a lot of these courts are old as dirt and were probably built before they even thought of this stuff, or they simply had to follow whatever the local city grid allowed, for space efficiency:

Australian Open: Melbourne Park (southern hemisphere)
~7.5° skew clockwise


French Open: Stade Roland Garros
~21° skew clockwise


Wimbledon: All England Lawn Tennis Club
~26° skew counter-clockwise


US Open: Billie Jean King National Tennis Center
~23° skew counter-clockwise


----

Indian Wells: Indian Wells Tennis Garden
perfectly north-south


Miami: Hard Rock Stadium
minimal (~2°) skew counter-clockwise


Monte Carlo: Monte Carlo Country Club
main court: ~35° skew clockwise - east-west
other courts: ~9° skew counter-clockwise - east-west


Madrid: Caja Mágica
~23° skew counter-clockwise


Rome: Foro Italico
~12° skew counter-clockwise


Montreal: Stade IGA
~14° skew counter-clockwise


Toronto: Aviva Centre
~17° skew counter-clockwise


Cincinnati: Lindner Family Tennis Center
~9° skew clockwise


Shanghai: Qizhong Forest Sports City Arena
perfectly or near perfectly north-south
 
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jm1980

G.O.A.T.
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socallefty

Professional
Thanks for posting the orientation of courts at pro tournaments. My experience is mostly with tennis courts in Southern California where the skew is maybe 10-20 degrees from North-South similar to US Open, Toronto, Montreal, Madrid and Rome. When I played once at Indian Wells, I thought it was similar on the outer courts, but it looks like they are true North-South from your pics - maybe I was fooled because my match was around noon when the sun was high in the sky.
 

jm1980

G.O.A.T.
It seems to me like the older stuff has a bit of a skew but newly built courts tend to be pretty close to perfectly north-south. I'm not sure which ones give the best experience overall
Thanks for posting the orientation of courts at pro tournaments. My experience is mostly with tennis courts in Southern California where the skew is maybe 10-20 degrees from North-South similar to US Open, Toronto, Montreal, Madrid and Rome. When I played once at Indian Wells, I thought it was similar on the outer courts, but it looks like they are true North-South from your pics - maybe I was fooled because my match was around noon when the sun was high in the sky.
I think part of the reason why you may have had this experience is because the grid on the west side of LA (Santa Monica, Brentwood, West LA, etc.) has about a 30° skew that follows I-405, and many tennis courts follow this
 
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socallefty

Professional
I live in Orange County and will have to check if the street grids are similar too. I‘ve played on a couple of courts at a public park (Lower Peters Canyon-Irvine) and private communities/houses locally where the courts were oriented almost halfway between North-South (40-50 degrees) and East-West and those are even worse because the sun is behind the baseline most of the day and affects groundstrokes/volleys and not just serves - much worse to face glare on each shot and not just on the serve.
 

speedysteve

Legend
3 of our courts are oriented very badly for lefties sun wise for morning tennis.
1 is bad for right handers.

I was hitting and playing sets with a lefty, and for some reason we were on the bad for righty court often.

Then 3 to 1 booking chance meant we were on the other courts for a few meets.
Man did he go on about it!

Then it was ladder match time and he booked one of the bad courts[emoji3]
Sunny, sunny morning.
I vultured[emoji23] He bitched[emoji849]
 

jm1980

G.O.A.T.
I live in Orange County and will have to check if the street grids are similar too. I‘ve played on a couple of courts at a public park (Lower Peters Canyon-Irvine) and private communities/houses locally where the courts were oriented almost halfway between North-South (40-50 degrees) and East-West and those are even worse because the sun is behind the baseline most of the day and affects groundstrokes/volleys and not just serves - much worse to face glare on each shot and not just on the serve.
These ones at David Sills Lower Peters Canyon Park are at 49 degrees according to my protractor. You can see that they follow the grid:

 

travlerajm

G.O.A.T.
These ones at David Sills Lower Peters Canyon Park are at 49 degrees according to my protractor. You can see that they follow the grid:

The ones at Stanford Stadium are like that. The sun angle is fine most of the day, but in the summer at about 6pm, the sun is directly behind the baseline right above the stands, and it is nearly impossible to see from one end. I had an embarrassing complete whiff while being asked to demo a return of serve while blinded by the sun in front of several hundred tennis camp juniors.
 

jm1980

G.O.A.T.
The ones at Stanford Stadium are like that. The sun angle is fine most of the day, but in the summer at about 6pm, the sun is directly behind the baseline right above the stands, and it is nearly impossible to see from one end. I had an embarrassing complete whiff while being asked to demo a return of serve while blinded by the sun in front of several hundred tennis camp juniors.
You mean these? The ones on the north side skew 42 degrees one way, while the ones on the south side complement them by skewing 48 degrees the other way, so they are at a perfect 90 degrees from each other

 

socallefty

Professional
It is starting to sound like tennis court orientation is pretty random or determined more by the grid orientation of neighboring streets. I wonder if court designers or architects of tennis centers use any guidelines for court orientation.

I would think that orienting the courts to minimize the sun glare for righties (majority of players) at the busiest times of the day when a tennis center will be used might be a good thumb rule. But, then I don’t know if there are really any times that are busier than others at a tennis club or public park. At my club, courts are used heavily between 7-9am by seniors, 9am-noon by ladies leagues/practices, afternoons/early evenings by junior group drills and evenings (after 5 pm) by adult men and some mixed matches. On weekends, the entire morning is super-busy and then afternoons/evenings are less busy than at any other time of the week. So, I guess there is no good time to design a court orientation for in this case?
 

zipplock

Hall of Fame
I live in the Northern Hemisphere, are left- handed and play in the morning. The sun is in my eyes if I serve from the Northern side of the net. It is much better for me if I can serve from the sourthern side. If my partner is a lefty as well, then one of us has to 'take a hit for the team' and serve into the sun.

If this happens in the southern hemisphere then it is the other way around, and it is the right-hander who has the sun in her/his eyes in the morning.
The point is that if you have a lefty paired with a righty on a North-South oriented court, regardless of where you are in relation to the equator, as long as You choose who serves on which side correctly, neither will ever have to toss into the sun.
 

Steady Eddy

Hall of Fame
Isn’t that totally dependent on the orientation of the court?
Tennis courts run north to south.

Now a baseball field has the sun in the pitcher's eyes instead of the batter's. Since games are played in the afternoon, and not the morning the hitter faces east, this means that if the pitcher is left-handed, his arm faces south. Hence, the nick-name, "southpaw".
 

MasterZeb

Hall of Fame
Tennis courts run north to south.

Now a baseball field has the sun in the pitcher's eyes instead of the batter's. Since games are played in the afternoon, and not the morning the hitter faces east, this means that if the pitcher is left-handed, his arm faces south. Hence, the nick-name, "southpaw".
Didn’t know this was true. So did a bit of research on all my local courts, including Wimbledon courts, and it isn’t
 

jm1980

G.O.A.T.
Tennis courts run north to south.

Now a baseball field has the sun in the pitcher's eyes instead of the batter's. Since games are played in the afternoon, and not the morning the hitter faces east, this means that if the pitcher is left-handed, his arm faces south. Hence, the nick-name, "southpaw".
Did you miss all the satellite imagery of tennis courts I just posted? A lot of them (probably most) do not run north-south. They tend to follow the city grid, so if most of your courts run north-south then you probably live in an area with a perfectly square grid.

Baseball fields also don't really follow any particular orientation. Clockwise from top left, we have Wrigley Field (Chicago Cubs), Guaranteed Rate Field (Chicago White Sox), Citi Field (NY Mets), and Yankee Stadium (NY Yankees). You can see the diamond is oriented every which way, despite all of these being in generally the same latitude (40.7 to 41.8 degrees N)

 

Steady Eddy

Hall of Fame
"The court should be oriented as close to north/south as possible (the net line should be on an east/west axis), to minimize the effects of sun on play, particularly in the early morning and late afternoon. "

https://www.courtone.net/tennis-courts/hard-tennis-courts/new-construction/

So that's how it should be, anyhow. I know things aren't always constructed right. The courts at my high school only had about 10 feet of backcourt, instead of the minimum of 21 feet. You'd take a backswing and hit the fence with your racquet.
 

jm1980

G.O.A.T.
"The court should be oriented as close to north/south as possible (the net line should be on an east/west axis), to minimize the effects of sun on play, particularly in the early morning and late afternoon. "

https://www.courtone.net/tennis-courts/hard-tennis-courts/new-construction/

So that's how it should be, anyhow. I know things aren't always constructed right. The courts at my high school only had about 10 feet of backcourt, instead of the minimum of 21 feet. You'd take a backswing and hit the fence with your racquet.
Yeah, in an ideal world that's how it would be done. But many times you have to follow the city grid or you would end up wasting a lot of space
 

Steady Eddy

Hall of Fame
Did you miss all the satellite imagery of tennis courts I just posted? A lot of them (probably most) do not run north-south. They tend to follow the city grid, so if most of your courts run north-south then you probably live in an area with a perfectly square grid.

Baseball fields also don't really follow any particular orientation. Clockwise from top left, we have Wrigley Field (Chicago Cubs), Guaranteed Rate Field (Chicago White Sox), Citi Field (NY Mets), and Yankee Stadium (NY Yankees). You can see the diamond is oriented every which way, despite all of these being in generally the same latitude (40.7 to 41.8 degrees N)
Yes, I had missed the pics of those courts. And yes, the do not all face the same way. But the link I put above explains that's wrong.

I can't conclude anything from the pics of baseball stadiums, and nothing tells of the orientation of any of the pictures.
 

jm1980

G.O.A.T.
Yes, I had missed the pics of those courts. And yes, the do not all face the same way. But the link I put above explains that's wrong.
I went and checked their page here listing the award-winning courts they built:
https://www.courtone.net/about-court-builders/court-builder-awards/

And went on Google Maps (links below if you want to check it yourself) to see how these courts are oriented:

CourtGoogle MapsNorth/South?
Lake Jeanette Swim and Tennis Club - Greensboro, NChttps://www.google.com/maps/@36.153473,-79.812888,200m/NO
Carmel Country Club - Charlotte, NChttps://www.google.com/maps/@35.1061292,-80.8248016,200m/YES
Elkin Municipal Courts - Tom Gwyn Tennis Complex, Elkin, NChttps://www.google.com/maps/@36.2499912,-80.859014,200m/NO
Person High School, Roxboro, NChttps://www.google.com/maps/@36.4114098,-78.979319,200m/NO
Sandhills Community College, Pinehurst, NChttps://www.google.com/maps/@35.2194376,-79.4064606,200m/NO
J.W. Isenhour Tennis Center- North Carolina State University, Raleigh, NChttps://www.google.com/maps/@35.7878174,-78.6813591,200m/NO
Breckenridge Swim and Tennis Club, Morrisville, NChttps://www.google.com/maps/@35.8394429,-78.8635502,200m/NO
Mill Creek, Mebane, NChttps://www.google.com/maps/@47.8575983,-122.2070759,200m/NO

So only 1 out of 8 courts they built are oriented north-south

I can't conclude anything from the pics of baseball stadiums, and nothing tells of the orientation of any of the pictures.
All the pictures are oriented the same way, i.e.: north is directly up, so the diamonds are all oriented in different ways
 

jm1980

G.O.A.T.
"Major League Baseball clearly states in rule 1.04 "THE PLAYING FIELD: It is desirable that the line from home base through the pitchers plate to second base shall run East Northeast.""

https://www.baseball-almanac.com/stadium/ballpark_NSEW_NL.shtml
You can see in the link YOU posted diagrams of MLB ballparks, only some of which actually follow this recommendation, for reasons stated in the rest of the paragraph, which you didn't include:

The location of the owner's boxes, prevailing wind directions, and a multitude of other reasons have caused rule 1.04 to be ignored by Major League baseball teams.
 
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Steady Eddy

Hall of Fame
I live in AZ, the Phoenix area, and Phoenix is very much a large grid.
But before I moved to AZ, I lived in MN, which is not at all a grid, yet still all the outdoor courts I can think of are N/S.
This is a surprise to me that there are so many courts not oriented that way.
 

jhick

Hall of Fame
Most courts are built so that the sidelines run north-south
My high school had east-west facing courts, Supposedly they were originally designed by the swimming coach who had no clue tennis courts should face north-south. This was in MN. After I graduated, the courts were eventually rebuilt to face the correct way.
 

jm1980

G.O.A.T.
My high school had east-west facing courts, Supposedly they were originally designed by the swimming coach who had no clue tennis courts should face north-south. This was in MN. After I graduated, the courts were eventually rebuilt to face the correct way.
Yeah, I live in an area where most courts face north-south and just assumed that was true everywhere. Doing research for this thread has been illuminating. It's clear that local grid patterns have a strong influence on the orientation of the courts
 

speedysteve

Legend
3 of our courts are a bit West of North/South.
One faces the opposite.
Being in the uk, there are no grids.
Well, maybe in Milton Keynes?
 

heftylefty

Hall of Fame
Where I play in Southern California I struggle with sun at mid-day on one end of the court. I have been trying to adjust playing with sunglasses.
 

socallefty

Professional
I keep two pairs of sunglasses in my tennis bag. One has darker black lenses and I use it when it is really bright and I have to serve looking into the sun. The other one is photochromic (adjusts tint to brightness level) and doesn't get as dark and I prefer it if I don’t have to serve looking into the sun - like in righty/lefty doubles or opposite the sun-side in singles. Sometimes, courts are next to trees or it’s cloudy and there are light/shade effects going on especially around dusk and you can’t wear sunglasses that are too dark.
 

OnTheLine

Hall of Fame
On glasses, I really like the Bolle competivision green lenses .... never too dark, takes away all the glare and just makes everything very clear.

But when it comes to serving ... I have learned to be quite adept in adjusting stance and toss. I have the same service motion but slightly different angle that works in nasty sun situations.
 

chatt_town

Hall of Fame
Do lefties have a harder time serving into the sun?

I'm a righty and serve into the sun all the time. Just wondering.

Thanks.
I know this much about that. I just had a conversation with my wife when were in the playoffs and was trying to explain to her that something as simple as the toss can make this so called advantage depending on what you do. She couldn't understand what I was telling her but when I walk out on the court, the first thing I do is pay attention to if someone is left handed...especially in mixed. In our semi final match the other team had two lefties. From one end of the court the sun was 10:00 if you will. So the only person that would be effected for at least the first set was the lefty. So I would've made sure he was serving in the sun. The toss controls all that and if the other team don't know how to handle it(which they didn't as they won the toss and elected to take the other side). Our team didn't catch on to this chose to serve. If they had chose to received it would've screwed the other team badly. It's so simple to me but it seems to be so hard for most people to understand for some reason. :) If you have a left playing with you and you want them to serve first...the best thing to do if you win the toss is to defer. People get hung up in wanting to serve first and if I'm on the court with you...you will find yourself at a disadvantage before the match even starts if you don't know how to handle the toss.
 

Cawlin

Semi-Pro
And then there are those lefties who don't seem to understand that by being partnered with a righty neither player has to serve in the sun on most courts at most times of the day.

Had an argument with one lefty partner who was wanting to serve on the side that keeps me out of the sun. A. I have a much stronger serve B. Couldn't comprehend that the other side kept her out of the sun.

This only is 100% true for those that serve "properly". Those that serve lined up nearly straight to the baseline (patty cake dink serve) may struggle with the sun on both ends of the court!

On a separate note: women who play mixed get very very good at serving into the sun.

On another separate note: A court complex in town got de-certified for USTA matches 2 years ago. Very nice master-planned community with huge park and 8 court tennis area. All The Courts East-West Oriented. Pure hell to play on.
Hahaha, this is hliarious. I'm a lefty, and I try to explain to this sun thing to people and often get blank stares... one righty guy with a serve about half as potent as mine said he wanted to serve with the sun in his face (which meant I would be serving with it in mine) because he felt the lettering behind him on the wind screen would make it harder for the opponents to pick up the ball on his serve which would help us to hold his serve, where we (according to him) needed no such advantage to help hold my serve. I told him to GTFO and served without sun in my eyes...

On my former mens team, we had to play a match one day that must have been east-west oriented because the sun was absolutely unmanageable for that 10 am match. My partner was also a lefty with a more consistent, serve than mine, but when I got mine in, his was nowhere near as difficult to return as mine. Anyway, that day I took the sun court. I wound up hitting my serves like nervous 2nd serves, but really focusing on spin and the left to right breeze that was blowing. Things worked out well for me that day as I was able to really focus on spin and not worrying about pace and the other team could not handle the lefty slice. I didn't kick one serve all day. Late in the 2nd set I was serving, we were up convincingly and by then the sun had moved enough that I could look up for a proper toss, so I ripped a few flat bombs. The other team was like "Where the hell has that serve been all day?"

As for the sun court thing - I believe that the weaker server should defer to the stronger server. Sometimes, what comprises a strong vs. weak server is not agreed upon by the partners...
 
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