What Is The Type of Tennis Court You Should Play On?

Why is This Court Colored in Blue and Not Green or Red?

Have you ever come across a tennis court and wondered why it’s colored differently from the last one? It shouldn’t come off as a surprise, but each color represents a different surface where the game is played. Like many other sports, tennis also has its fair share of variations involved, including the surface where it’s played on.

Other than the difference in color, tennis courts can greatly influence in terms of how the game is played. Professional tennis players train themselves to adapt to these surfaces and adjust their techniques to ensure they’re able to maintain appropriate balance. Thus, as a beginner, you need to ask yourself, what type of tennis court should I play on to start my journey? Considering the cost and level of difficulty, the most convenient surface would be the hardcourt.

Let’s dive in further to see what a hard court actually is and why it would be the most suitable for newbies and on a budget.

To be able to play tennis on a budget, the first thing you need to know is the rental cost of each type of surface. As it stands, different surfaces have varying costs that are dependant on many things including location, quality, ownership, and maintenance. In the table below, we’ve managed to analyze the overall average cost of renting tennis courts which happens to be approximately $22.

Tennis Court TypeAverage Rental Cost Per Hour ($)Average Rental Cost Range Per Hour ($)
Grass Court45.6743-55
Clay Court11.528-15
Hard Court2.40-10
Artificial Court28.2822-60
Overall Average Cost ($)21.97
Cost Analytical Table

Type Of Tennis Court You Should Play On: Does It Matter?

Tennis courts are important to consider, especially since your chances of victory depend on how well you’re able to adapt to them. Each surface has a distinct set of characteristics that makes it unique. As a matter of fact, most international tournaments are known for the types of tennis courts they’re played upon. For example, the prestigious Wimbledon, one of the more highly esteemed tournaments in the tennis world, is played on green-colored courts.

The International Tennis Federation has recognized four types of surfaces where tennis matches can be held professionally. Let’s dive deeper into this topic as we uncover the secrets attached to each surface.

1. Grass Courts

A Well Maintained Grass Court

This is the first generation of surfaces that were introduced when tennis was still thriving in its early years. When we hear grass courts, the first image to pop up in our minds is the prestigious Wimbledon tournament which epitomizes this beautiful green-colored surface.

As the name describes, a typical grass court is made by combining one or more types of grasses by arranging them in a particular manner. A common term that describes tennis matches played in grass courts is “lawn tennis”. The reason is that grass courts imitate the structure of a traditional backyard mainly because of the color of the grass.

The Pros and Cons of Grass Courts

Grass courts are considered to be slippery surfaces because of their composition. The slipperiness, itself, is what makes grass courts the fastest surface to play on. The soft texture of the soil naturally reduces friction between the tennis ball and the ground on impact. Added to that, the dew that settles on the surface makes it challenging for players to balance their positions during gameplay.

So who gets the edge? One of the reasons why grass courts are considered to be a difficult surface is because of their unpredictability. The softness in the soil makes the surface uneven and leads to variable bounces.

For players to perform well, they would need to improvise their serves and volleys. The surface favors raw speed and strength.

Thus, if players are to win in such conditions, they need to quickly react and make it to the ball in time. The player who has more speed gets to rule the game held on a grass court.

Why Are Grass Courts So Rare To Find?

You’ll be surprised to know that grass courts were once the most common types of surfaces available. Today, however, they are a rare delicacy we only get to witness during the Wembley season.

The problem with such complex surfaces is that they’re extremely expensive and difficult to maintain. According to a report, the average annual cost to maintain a grass surface is a whopping $23000. At the same time, grass surfaces are dependant upon the weather and can easily be distorted if it starts to rain. As a result, tournaments either have to be arranged very carefully, as per the weather predictions. Otherwise, the audience would end up having to pay for tickets to see a flooded ground!

2. Clay Courts

A Closer Look of a Clay Court

Clay Courts are what we were referring to earlier when discussing red-colored surfaces. A clay court is a special surface that is more popularly found in parts of Europe, particularly in the French Open Championship. The surface is made out of multiple constituents including stones, bricks, and shales. These elements are mixed it together to create a very smooth coating.

By comparison, clay courts form the type of surface where a tennis ball travels the slowest. If you’ve ever held clay in your hand, you’ll know how soft and mushy it becomes if you apply pressure to it. The same concept is implied on clay courts every time the ball hits the ground. The momentum of the ball breaks down as it rapidly loses its speed of movement.

On the contrary, the compromised speed makes up for the extra bounce. The flat surface offers a more even bounce, allowing players to accurately predict and time their strokes.

Who Gets To Dominate Clay Courts?

It’s pretty straightforward. The stability in this type of surface only benefits those who have a strong foundation. If you’re someone who has a strong serve but weak strokeplay, you’re in bad luck because you’ll be playing at a major disadvantage. Strong serves can only get you so far in grassy fields. But on a flat surface like clay, you’ll need skill and accuracy to win a game.

A great example of such a form of gameplay can be seen from the likes of Rafael Nadal. By maintaining a 62 to 8 win/loss ratio in Clay-based tournaments, it’s fairly easy to recognize Rafael as the king of clay. This is no coincidence though. If we dissect Rafael’s stroke play, it’s plain to see how Rafael is able to succeed by following the basics of the game.

He only focuses on groundstrokes and back-hand strokes with a hint of spin as the cherry on top. Rafael’s strategic gameplay is what makes him an exception and a role model for anyone who wants to specialize in this category.

3. Hard Courts

A Blue Colored Hard Court

Hard courts are made out of asphalt and concrete which form a smooth, yet, stiff surface. They are commonly established in parts of the United States. The concrete forms the base of the surface which is further refined with the addition of acrylic layering on top.

In terms of bounce and momentum, hard courts, generally, are somewhere in the middle of grass and clay courts. The surface is not as quick as grass courts but still maintains a better movement ratio compared to clay courts. On the other end, the bounce is also more reliable when compared to grass courts. However, it’s still not as true and consistent as found to be in clay courts.

The main reason is that they’re economical. Hard courts are far cheaper to build and maintain compared to their counterparts. The materials used to produce the surface are present in abundance and take less time to process. If you look at the table close, the rental cost of hard courts is considerably cheaper when compared to other surfaces.

One additional benefit of this type of surface is that its cost is also subsidized by the government. This means that they’re available for anyone to use publicly without having to pay any charges.

Depending upon your location, there is a good chance you’ll find a public tennis court at a nearby park or sports complex which will be free to use for everyone. Interestingly enough, they’ll also be the ones that are most crowded at times!

Who Wins At Hard Courts?

Playing at hard courts will require you to be balanced in all aspects of the game. You can’t rely on serves alone nor can you expect to win by playing one type of stroke. Hard courts offer a very neutral surface as it combines the power of both the mind and body.

Meaning, you’ll need to cover the basics as well as come up with a strategy to outsmart your opponent in a match.

4. Artificial Grass Court

Artificial Grass: Can You Spot The Difference?

Also called Synthetic Grass Courts, this is a kind of surface that offers a variety of benefits, depending upon how it’s built. As the name describes, artificial grass court replaces the natural elements with an alternative feature, allowing it to be customized accordingly.

Artificial grass courts are cheaper to maintain and more reliable at the same time. Think about it, a small rain shower can easily wear out natural grass for at least a couple of days. With artificial grass courts, you won’t have to worry about delaying your matches on the basis of bad weather. In some cases, you won’t have to worry about the weather at all because a lot of artificial courts are built indoors.

What’s The Best Surface To Play Tennis?

Pro Tip: Learn to Become Adaptable, Not Just in Tennis, But Life in General!

This is a question that ultimately depends upon your own strengths and weaknesses. We’ve listed down the pros and cons of each type of surface. It’s up to you to choose the best one that is based on your skills and experience.

If you’re someone who’s experienced and looking for a challenge, then your go-to surface should be the clay court. This is because the surface conditions are tricky as you’ll need to be creative with your approach.

If you feel your tennis serve is unplayable at times, then grass courts can offer you the benefit of attaining victory. The momentum attached to the surface is ideal for anyone who excels at serving the ball.

Hard and artificial grass courts offer somewhat of a balance that can prove to do wonders if you’re just starting out. By having to play in neutral conditions, you’ll have the chance to develop both skill and innovation. It’s a good stepping stone for beginners who want to learn the basics of the game.

At the end of the day, it all comes down to how well you’re able to adapt to the conditions. If you’re flexible and willing to work hard, then success is inevitable!

As a Beginner, What Type of Tennis Court Should I Play On?

To answer your question, the most suitable type of tennis court you should play on is the hardcourt. The logic is simple; it’s cheap to rent and easy to play on.

The balance between bounce and speed is generous in the sense, that it will allow you to understand your own strengths and weakness. You’ll be able to recognize what you lack and how you can improve through practice and technique adjustment.

Overall, the beauty of tennis lies in its diverse conditions. A pro tennis player is able to succeed on all surfaces irrespective of the conditions. Icons like Rafael Nadal and Roger Federer have a reputation because of their ability to win through sheer determination without worrying about the surface.

Your ambition should be on the same terms. So, don’t worry too much about the surface and enjoy your time playing the game!

For more information, don’t forget to visit some of the other articles where we talk about tennis essentials and how you can succeed on a budget.

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