Yes, tennis is one of the most technical sports there is, and of course, you either learn how to adapt to each type of tennis court and situation or you will regret it… But don’t worry, here we help you with this, today we will talk about ALL types of tennis courts that exist. And yes, you have to play differently on each of them! And the tennis ball behaves in different ways too. I will tell you the differences between clay courts, hard/cement courts, grass courts, carpet courts etc. and give you some valuable tips. Keep reading, and learn.
- 1 What are the main types of tennis courts?
- 2 Clay tennis courts
- 3 Grass tennis courts
- 4 Hard tennis court surface
- 5 Synthetic indoor tennis courts, artificial grass tennis surfaces
- 6 How should I adapt my game to the different types of tennis courts?
- 7 What are the dimensions of a tennis court?
- 8 How are the different types of tennis courts maintained?
- 9 Tennis court types and their personal style
- 10 Before I finish… Is there any other kind of tennis court?
What are the main types of tennis courts?
Surely you know the types of tennis courts of the different Grand Slams, these are, the famous tournaments of Wimbledon, Roland Garros, US Open and Australian Open.
The funny thing about tennis is that there is more than one possible surface to play on and that is why there are different playing strategies for each court. Although of course, depending on where you live, you will play more on one type than another due to weather or economic issues. For example, in Spain it is common to play more on Hard Court or Clay since Spain has a rather arid climate almost all year round and therefore it would be impossible to maintain grass courts.
On the contrary, in the Northern countries we can find grass courts more than any other. If you are an experienced player, you should think about buying specific shoes and balls for each surface that you can find in the links above.
Clay tennis courts
Few people dislike this surface…
They have a high maintenance cost such as having to water the court several times a day to keep the soil moist or distribute the brick dust throughout the court properly to avoid accumulations that would affect your game does not come cheap. We don’t want you to fall! Clay courts are the most popular in Spain and many other clubs are installing them. It is also the official surface for the Roland Garros Grand Slam and many other tournaments such as Rome atp 1000, Monte Carlo, Mutua Madrid Open, among others.
Famous players such as Rafael Nadal, who is known as the King of Clay with an amazing amount of trophies on clay, is the maximum representative of this surface.
On clay, the tennis ball bounces much slower than on other surfaces because the clay itself slows down the speed of the ball when it touches the ground. That is why the most important shots are the top-spin from the back of the court, the slice and the dropshot. Don’t forget to mention that, logically, if the ball travels from one side to the other more slowly, the games here will be longer. On this surface it is VERY important that you are physically well and that you have stamina as in this surface, is where the game is most aggressive and also where matches can be the longest.
Finally, on this surface you will be moving from side to side constantly sliding on the ground, that is why a tennis shoe with a durable support on the sides of the shoe is crucial to maintain the stability and traction of the ball on this magnificent tennis surface. In fact, it’s my favorite.
Grass tennis courts
Grass tennis courts have never been very popular on Spanish soil due to the arid climate they have and the high cost of maintenance it entails, which is why this surface is more common in northern countries such as England, Denmark, among others. Why is that? Well, simply because it rains frequently there and they can afford to maintain the grass courts; on the contrary, in Spain, it does not rain enough to keep them in an ideal state.
Now, what would tennis be without traditional grass courts? The emblematic Wimbledon Grand Slam tournament is a relic in tennis, without it, the essence of tennis would no longer be there. The funny thing about the Wimbledon tournament is that it is strictly mandatory to wear a full white outfit, from head to toe, otherwise players will not be allowed to participate in this noble competition. Surprising, isn’t it?
There are few other tennis tournaments that are played on grass due to the high cost of maintenance compared to hard courts that do not require any maintenance except for the painting of the court. One competition that is played on grass is the ATP 500 Queens Tournament.
Let’s talk about the style of the game… on this surface the most effective thing is to play with the traditional technique of “Serve and volley”, players like Roger Federer love this style of game although with the passing of the years the move is coming to an end. Because the tennis ball bounces very little here, bounces irregularly and is one of the fastest courts on the Tour, the slice is crucial to defeat your opponent and gain some extra points.
But of course, this court will not only benefit you, your opponent is there and you must learn how to play each opponent you face, study, practice with him, tennis is not just a physical sport, the mentality is more important. This surface is difficult to learn and master so acquiring a tennis ball machine can be a great idea to get used to this terrain.
To finish off, all I can say is that these courts require you to wear tennis shoes with a flatter base so as not to damage the grass but at the same time with a base with very good grip to avoid slipping if the grass is very wet. So don’t tell me I didn´t warn you hehe.
Hard tennis court surface
Does this one ring a bell? Cement or hard courts are the ones you will see most around the world as they are the cheapest to maintain and you don’t need such specific footwear to play on them at maximum performance. Of course, I recommend that if you can buy a tennis shoe with very good cushioning, your joints would appreciate it since the impact with the ground is stronger than on other surfaces. You can look at the different types of tennis shoes for each surface.
The good thing about these type of tennis courts is that the type of game is not as technical as other surfaces, it is more general, which benefits those who are getting started in this wonderful sport. Another great advantage that you will love to hear is that you can forget about uneven ball bounces! because the surface is completely flat and there is no pile of dirt or sinkhole areas as there can be on grass.
As expected, this surface has a good reputation in professional competition; numerous well-known competitions are played on hard courts such as the US Open, Miami Open, Indian Wells, Australian Open, London Masters and many others.
This is where the ball bounces fastest! So practice your reaction time a lot to hit the tennis ball at the optimal time. Finally, you will have to get better physically because on this type of tennis court your legs will be subjected to a greater amount of resistance due to the hardness of the surface. But don’t worry, physique is only a small percentage of what it represents to a tennis player.
Synthetic indoor tennis courts, artificial grass tennis surfaces
Well, these ones I have included to inform you that they exist but personally I do not consider them types of tennis courts since the ITF (International Tennis Federation) does not allow the use of this surface (carpet or artificial grass) in any professional tournament since 2009 and you have to play like professionals! That is why in Spain and in countries with a more arid climate it is not common to play on them. Carpet courts and indoor courts are quite common in countries where basically rain is part of the country, like England, Germany, etc. Now, they are an excellent option if there is a stormy weather outside as you can continue training without interruptions.
Indoor courts are practically the same as the concrete courts but the carpet ones, try to imitate the grass courts. But clearly, it’s not the same at all. Interior or covered surfaces are mainly made of materials such as synthetic resin and, colours, there are many to choose from; from green, to red, to blue etc.
Many Tour competitions are played on indoor tennis courts such as the Tokyo ATP 500 or the London Masters (Nitto Finals)
The way you must play on this surface is almost identical to that of the hard courts, playing in an aggressive, fast and controlled way. The advantage of this surface is that it is not so hard, therefore, the joints will suffer less intense rhythm changes, thus reducing the probability of injury. I take this opportunity to tell you that having the respective equipment for each type of tennis court is crucial, since I personally was injured for 1 year, and I tell you now, it is not pleasant. So wear the right tennis shoes and push your body to the limit, but NEVER overdo it.
How should I adapt my game to the different types of tennis courts?
Hard court style of play:
On hard courts it is important that you have a higher physical resistance as the matches here are played to the best of 5 sets (first to win three sets in short) so the matches are longer. The downside is that here the points are shorter and the game itself is faster, which is why being able to endure several hours at constantly high intensity is crucial.
For your part, you should try to change the rhythm of the point constantly, moving the ball from one side to the other, making dropshots, slices, etc. in order to leave the bones of your opponent beaten. You will also have to take advantage of the speed of the court and make flat shots so that the tennis ball goes even faster. Finally, having a great serve on this surface is the most important part if you want to win several “easy” points, so now you know, practice your serve.
Playing on a clay court:
I’m sure you’ve ever come across a typical “pusher”… Well, clay is their favourite surface and you must learn to break their frustrating strategy. Now, if you are reading this and you are a so-called “pusher”, no offense, take note, and do your best to defend your position.
Jokes aside, to be successful on the clay, you must be physically fit as the games here take longer than normal due to the reduced speed of the ball. Top-spin and drop shots are the winning shots here, if you manage to master the sliding on the ground, you will have a very big advantage over your rivals.
Playing on a grass tennis court:
Just by reading this far, you’re already a real tennis lover. And you should know that grass courts are some of the hardest to play on, mainly because the ball bounces much less than other types of courts. If you are a “serve and volley” fan, this court is the best for you because you can generate a powerful serve and force your opponent further away from the baseline, so you can get on the net, volley your opponent, and win the point with ease.
The best shot by far is the sliced drop shot and the serve, you should try to win most of the points on the serve by aiming for the ace, but if you don’t get it, try to finish off the point by scoring a powerful winner down the line.
Indoor or Carpet courts strategy:
This tennis court does not have a specific strategy as it has similar features to hard courts or grass courts but you could focus on alternating your strokes with different variations to disorientate your opponent. For example, using the drop shots, the top-spin, the back-spin and the flat shots could increase the probability of winning the battle for the point.
Now, I won’t forget to tell you from player to player that in my opinion, if you dominate the serve, you are much more likely to win more matches because the weak point of a lot of players (myself included) is the serve, and if YOU dominate it, you will notice the difference.
For the carpet it is advisable to make slices and dropshots since the carpet has characteristics similar to the grass. In any case, if you can avoid playing on a carpezt, much better, since in the world of professional tennis, this type of tennis court is not allowed.
What are the dimensions of a tennis court?
It is true that tennis courts can have different surfaces but what they cannot change is their dimensions. These are fixed measurements that will be used equally in all tennis tournaments around the world. It should be noted that the dimensions of a tennis court are a subject that few know so read on and you will learn the most basic dimensions.
Tennis courts have to be 23.78 m long and 10.97 m wide, although other dimensions such as the court’s depth vary in major ATP or WTA tournaments, as you can see in their rules for this 2020. The distance from the baseline and the bottom of the court would be 3.65 m (4 meters in international tournaments) and sides around 6.4 m (8 meters professional competitions).
On the other hand we have the tennis net, the most important part of the tennis court. The tennis net must be at a height of 0.914 m from the ground at the central point and 1.07 m at each of the side posts. Now, with respect to the famous white ribbon… The net must be supported by a metal cable of 0.8 m in diameter from one post to another and this cable must be covered with a white tape that covers the whole cable.
We have finished the boring part… finally the posts on each side must be at a distance of 9.14 m from the line of doubles and have a diameter of no more than 15 cm and a height of 2.3 cm above the height of the net.
How are the different types of tennis courts maintained?
I know that many of you will not be in charge of the maintenance of a tennis court but in case you are I will explain you how to maintain them so you can do an excellent job.
This is quite logical. The tennis court that requires the most maintenance is the grass court since you have to water the grass constantly every afternoon when the sun goes down or early in the morning to make sure that all the water penetrates the roots of the grass and does not evaporate with the sun. Also, every day the lawn should be cut flush with the ground and be as compact as possible so that the tennis ball bounces easily. And don’t forget to mention that the white lines of the court should be painted from time to time to avoid confusion among the tennis players.
Clay courts also need quite a bit of maintenance and it can be annoying to have to water the court so that it does not dry out every couple of hours depending on the amount of sunshine. You will spend a lot of water caring for this wonderful surface but yes, once you play with the newly watered court, you will notice what a pleasure it is to play like this. The clay courts need more care such as cleaning the bottom lines so that they can be seen clearly or spreading the soil in a more balanced way throughout the court to avoid piles and thus reduce the likelihood of an irregular bounce of the ball.
Finally, carpet tennis courts, indoor and hard courts require virtually no maintenance. Just paint the court every few years, fix any holes that may be present and of course dry the court in case of rain.
Tennis court types and their personal style
Fast surfaces such as grass and hard courts favour one style of play, while clay courts favour a different style of play. Read the following sections to find out which types of tennis courts would be best for you.
Slow courts make the ball bounce higher and slower. Therefore, players have more time to prepare their shots. On clay courts, the points are usually slower and the games longer. In addition, players often find themselves sliding down the court. In general, clay courts are hard on the body, leaving players more tired after matches than they would be on grass or hard surface courts. Clay courts favor defensive players who prefer to wait for the ball at the back of the court rather than near the net.
Fast courts make the ball bounce faster and lower, especially grass courts. Players should move fast and play short strokes because the speed of the ball leaves little time for preparation. This means that on fast courts, players should be aggressive, cutting corners and getting as close to the net as possible.
Strong service play is also important for fast-court players. A fast and effective serve can help players start the point aggressively and maintain control. These tennis courts are more damaging to the knees since the impact with the ground is more intense compared to a clay court where the surface is softer.
Before I finish… Is there any other kind of tennis court?
Indeed, one of Dubai’s latest whims has been to create an underwater tennis court. Something unthinkable, but this country makes the unimaginable, reality. Dubai is one of the richest countries in the world and that is why it is capable of creating a real tennis court jewel like this one. Imagine watching a professional tennis match while you have dozens of fish and sharks on top of you… no doubt a unique experience.
If you are reading this, you are one of the few people who are so interested in tennis, a true follower of the racket sport, I invite you to comment if you know any more tennis courts! I hope it was useful for you :)