Why isn't synthetic grass used on the pro tour?

Robert F

Professional
A lot of of us promote a longer grass season and a grass Masters. Yet, natural grass has limitations as we are seeing with Wimbledon flat out cancelling as opposed to postponing. Officials citing the courts would not be in good shape during the fall. Also during grass tournaments the grass gets worn down creating a different feel from the beginning vs end of a tournament. Turf/synthetic grass would eliminate those problems.

I'm not suggesting we replace grass tournaments with synthetic, but why isn't synthetic in the mix or a way to extend the grass season? I imagine more venues could support a turf tournament over caring for many grass courts.

I've never played on grass, I have played on synthetic grass/turf. It was fun, fairly consistent and playable in light rain.

I'm also amazed many clubs don't put down turf instead of clay or hard court. It has some of the benefits of clay--being softer on the body, but less annual maintenance.

I'm just curious if any tournament ever considered it and what others have experienced.
 

swizzy

Hall of Fame
I would think that synthetic grass could become a real possibility if a perfect carpet was made. The stuff I have played on is not anything like grass court tennis. produce a well performing carpet and you would have something there.
 

TTMR

Hall of Fame
Pro tennis players on the whole these days dislike any non-slideable tennis surface, which basically eliminates any carpet or carpet-like (synth grass) floor from being used. Carpet courts were eliminated at the players' behest.

It's too bad, because we do need more surface variety. On the WTA side, Quebec City is the sole carpet tournament left. It definitely plays distinctly from indoor hard courts.
 

Mr Backhand

Rookie
Pro tennis players on the whole these days dislike any non-slideable tennis surface, which basically eliminates any carpet or carpet-like (synth grass) floor from being used. Carpet courts were eliminated at the players' behest.

It's too bad, because we do need more surface variety. On the WTA side, Quebec City is the sole carpet tournament left. It definitely plays distinctly from indoor hard courts.
I thought they were able to slide on the carpet, especially with the shoes with no grooves
 

Red Rick

Bionic Poster
Pro tennis players on the whole these days dislike any non-slideable tennis surface, which basically eliminates any carpet or carpet-like (synth grass) floor from being used. Carpet courts were eliminated at the players' behest.

It's too bad, because we do need more surface variety. On the WTA side, Quebec City is the sole carpet tournament left. It definitely plays distinctly from indoor hard courts.
Where I'm from synth grass is the easiest surface to slide on due to the sand on the grass. It's actually too slippery, but I'm sure pro's would figure it out with better shoes no problem.
 

Robert F

Professional
I would think that synthetic grass could become a real possibility if a perfect carpet was made. The stuff I have played on is not anything like grass court tennis. produce a well performing carpet and you would have something there.
A long time ago I played on carpet and felt it was at times slippery and other times if you hit the ground wrong it could almost jam and stick knocking you off balance.

I didn't find synthetic grass very slippery, but I probably don't move half as expolsively as the pros. But I did find synthetic grass not to be like carpet.

What did you find different on grass compared to synthetic grass?
 

swizzy

Hall of Fame
real grass is fast with a low and sometimes unpredictable bounce.. the carpet i played on was slow
 

Robert F

Professional
real grass is fast with a low and sometimes unpredictable bounce.. the carpet i played on was slow
Thanks.
The turf I played with with a little bit of sand, seemed to take some adjustment. Some balls seemed to accelrate away after the bounce, but it didn't seem to be so low.
 

Red Rick

Bionic Poster
What region is that? Synthetic clay and grass are popular in some parts of the world. The properties of the court can change depending on how much sand is used.
Netherlands. We have a lot of synth grass, but if I go just over the border to Germany its almost all clay.

And yeah we probably have way too much sand on the courts.
 

skaj

Legend
Anna Wintour said "No synthetics!", and we know how influential she is in the tennis world.
 

HuusHould

Professional
I don't think synthetic grass is a great surface, but that's mainly due to the generally low quality of the courts I've played on. The speed of synthetic grass courts can vary markedly depending on the nature of the pile and amount of sand on the court. A fast syn grass court would favour the "serve-bots" I find even on syn grass courts that aren't inherently uneven underfoot, if the sand isn't evenly distributed (by regular bagging of the court) the balls can still skid erratically and you can lose your footing, even with decent grip on your shoes. That said if they were pro level courts and made a bit slower than real grass, there's no reason why it couldn't be a good surface for the viewer as there might be a bit more slicing and net play relative to clay and hard court and the drop shot is quite effective due to the relatively low bounce. It would be interesting to see how the big 3 fare on synthetic grass and given there's two majors on hard court, why not make one of them synthetic grass? Then we'd have 4 different surfaces for the majors. I mean the golf majors are all played on different courses. The US masters is the only one that's played at the same venue.
 

This stuff is great, you can play in a downpour--you can slide on it like clay. The reason it's not used more is because 3.0/3.5's who've never tried it complain it's too slippery and messy tracking sand into their Mercedes'. They take a bit more maintenance then hardcourts so club owners are too cheap to install it. Benefits are they're easier on the knees, and balls never wear out even when playing in a downpour.
 
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Blade0324

Hall of Fame
I have played on synthetic grass, natural grass, har-tru and red clay besides hardcourts. Grass, synthetic grass and har-tru are all basically garbage to play on. There is a reason the pros asked for surfaces like carpet to be removed from the tour and if you think that more grass events or even synthetic grass haven't been proposed you're kidding yourself. The players don't like these surfaces otherwise they would be on tour. Wimbledon has such tradition that it will survive, and likely one or two lead up tournaments on grass but the players will never get behind more grass as they don't really like it in general.
 

1stVolley

Professional
One big obstacle to switching to synthetic grass is that it's not sanctioned by the USTA. I tried getting my club manager interested in the idea of at least researching the offerings but he wasn't about to consider spending many thousands of dollars on court conversions if tournaments on that surface would no longer be sanctioned.
 

Jaitock1991

Hall of Fame
I would think that synthetic grass could become a real possibility if a perfect carpet was made. The stuff I have played on is not anything like grass court tennis. produce a well performing carpet and you would have something there.
To me it's much closer to clay than real grass.
 
Grass, synthetic grass and har-tru are all basically garbage to play on.
That's your subjective opinion, maybe you've never played on a good grass court--there is nothing more beautiful then playing on a grass court that's well maintained like a putting green. Synthetic grass and har-tru are also great to play on if they are well maintained. I've played on them all also and that's my opinion.
The players don't like these surfaces otherwise they would be on tour.
Why don't "the players" like them? I think it's more the club owners who don't like them because they cost more to maintain--but golf courses don't mind spending the money to maintain all those acres of grass. The Houston ATP tournament is played on HAR-TRU.
 
To me it's much closer to clay than real grass.
Yes. The clay/artificial grass courts would be impractical to temporarily lay down for pro tournaments. There are carpet courts that are rolled out temporarily for use in indoor arenas but they would not have the silica-sand mixed in, that would be impractical to roll and unroll for temporary events.
 

Robert F

Professional
I wonder why it isn't sanctioned by the USTA?

Any idea how much maintenance synthetic grass with sand is vs. clay? How often they need to be replaced? I would think it is less care then Hartru.
 
I wonder why it isn't sanctioned by the USTA?

Any idea how much maintenance synthetic grass with sand is vs. clay? How often they need to be replaced? I would think it is less care then Hartru.
Those questions are answered below :

Classic Clay | Clay Tennis Courts Classic Clay® offers a cushion comfort tennis surface with all the playing characteristics and benefits of natural clay whilst eliminating the negatives of natural clay. www.classicclay.com
 

Serve&Bash

Semi-Pro
A long time ago I played on carpet and felt it was at times slippery and other times if you hit the ground wrong it could almost jam and stick knocking you off balance.

I didn't find synthetic grass very slippery, but I probably don't move half as expolsively as the pros. But I did find synthetic grass not to be like carpet.

What did you find different on grass compared to synthetic grass?
You are correct in this and a lot of guys who were good on Carpet hated playing on it. I remember Marat Safin complaining stress length about how much he hates the feel of carpet and he felt he couldn’t get his footing.
Fed is another guy who was a solid carpet court player but hated playing on it.
 
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