Tips for playing on bad/dry clay?

1HBHFTW

Rookie
I have my league championship in a week and my opponent had the choice of location and picked some public clay courts which are always really dry and have bad bounces. I've played him a few times and usually win so my guess is he's trying to use court as an equalizer.

Given the slippery footing and bad bounces I know I need to take extra care to focus on ball to contact and not setting feet too early, but any other tips for playing matches on this type of surface?
 

Dartagnan64

G.O.A.T.
If you must let the ball bounce on uneven surfaces, stand further back so you can adjust to the wonky clay bounce. Don't take balls early on the rise as it's recipe for shanking all day. And try to keep your feet under you as much as you can.

And drop shots are your friend.
 

Friedman Whip

Professional
I would want to wear some shoes with a herringbone tread design and very little wear on them. Even so you will still slip and slide. I think playing a serious match on a clay court that is too dry is actually dangerous. In the heat of battle it's too easy to forget that your footing is really lousy.
 

eah123

Semi-Pro
Many people don’t bother with brushing the court, but with a serious match, you should insist. It’s also possible that you could get them to wet the court, or volunteer to do it if they leave the hose out. The bounces are always the worst near the center of the baseline where people do the most serving. So look to hit a lot of defensive blocks if the ball lands in that area.
 

1HBHFTW

Rookie
Many people don’t bother with brushing the court, but with a serious match, you should insist. It’s also possible that you could get them to wet the court, or volunteer to do it if they leave the hose out. The bounces are always the worst near the center of the baseline where people do the most serving. So look to hit a lot of defensive blocks if the ball lands in that area.
Unfortunately it’s a sprinkler system so they won’t let me water and they typically have the brushes locked away. I will ask if they can unlock it so I can at least brush though, and definitely will look at blocking toward middle of baseline.
Thanks!
 

HuusHould

Professional
I think all the above advice is good. I can't believe they lock the brushes away! I'd be trying to broom/water it as much as possible, which doesn't sound like much. You can train your ability to deal with bad bounces, by hitting on uneven surfaces and developing your ability to adjust (even change) your shot at the last minute. I think they should make tennis reflex balls, with a bit less unevenness than a standard reflex ball, to help you hone your response to unpredictable bounces.
 

Fintft

Legend
I would want to wear some shoes with a herringbone tread design and very little wear on them. Even so you will still slip and slide. I think playing a serious match on a clay court that is too dry is actually dangerous. In the heat of battle it's too easy to forget that your footing is really lousy.
Asics Gel Resolution have the deepest tread
 

1HBHFTW

Rookie
I think all the above advice is good. I can't believe they lock the brushes away! I'd be trying to broom/water it as much as possible, which doesn't sound like much. You can train your ability to deal with bad bounces, by hitting on uneven surfaces and developing your ability to adjust (even change) your shot at the last minute. I think they should make tennis reflex balls, with a bit less unevenness than a standard reflex ball, to help you hone your response to unpredictable bounces.
yeah it's crazy to me.. all the courts can only be entered through one gate anyway, so its not like there's a theft risk for the brushes.

i scheduled a handful of matches on the same courts to try to prepare myself for the bounces and timing. the biggest problem is my OHBH is my best shot but it is very difficult to adjust once I start the swing (as they all are), so I'm going to have to rely much more on my slice. Don’t think I can really fix that with practicing the unpredictability.
 

HuusHould

Professional
I scheduled a handful of matches on the same courts to try to prepare myself for the bounces and timing. the biggest problem is my OHBH is my best shot but it is very difficult to adjust once I start the swing (as they all are), so I'm going to have to rely much more on my slice. Don’t think I can really fix that with practicing the unpredictability.
I was hitting with a good player who's a slice guru on fast inconsistent dry clay with pressureless balls and he said slicing the return of serve on that sort of court often results in popping the ball up. I think he advocated slicing during the rally, it can accentuate the bad bounces. I think just hitting a lot of balls, on the surface is the key, which it sounds like you're doing. Even get someone to feed you short ball, volley then smash. Because it's really annoying when the short ball moves just before impact, it makes it harder to run through.
 
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