Tennis Court Surface Types
Tennis players with an eye on competing professionally will want to practice and play on different types of courts. Each tennis court surface type has different qualities that change a few things about the nature of a match, including the bounce of the tennis ball and the ideal shoes for players to wear. A well-rounded tennis player has experience with all court types.
It's important for a tennis facility manager to know about the pros and cons of these different court surfaces in order to plan for budgeting and maintenance. Some courts definitely require a lot more care than others in order to remain in top condition. Here are the main types of tennis court surfaces.
Grass Tennis Courts
Grass is the oldest type of tennis court, but is falling out of favor because of the difficulties in maintaining it. They must be watered, mowed, and kept healthy, and are susceptible to damage from play. The bounce of the tennis ball changes depending on all these factors. Proper maintenance of a grass court is more difficult and expensive than that of other courts.
Grass courts are a very fast court that rewards players with speed and power. The ball generally stays low, requiring players to move quickly to reach it. Grass courts become very slippery when wet, so matches cannot be played in the rain.
Clay Tennis Courts
Unlike grass, clay is a very slow court in which the ball bounces slow and high. The clay surface is subject to a great seal of wear from ball impacts, as well as from players who slide into their shots. Clay is known for becoming lodged in shoes and staining clothing, although the imprints of the ball's landings can help determine whether a shot was in or out. Some players prefer clay over all other court types.
Red and green clay are both available for clay courts, with the green resulting in a harder surface than the red. Construction of a clay court is less expensive than other types, but maintenance can be time-consuming because the court must be rolled and flattened to eliminate marks and damage from play. The clay's water content is also very important.
Har-Tru Tennis Courts
Despite being commonly referred to as a clay court, Har-Tru is made of ancient Precambrian metabasalt stone from the Blue Ridge Mountains of Virginia. The hard, angular qualities of the crushed stone result in a porous, quick-drying court surface that is easy to maintain and doesn't form water pools in light rain, allowing continued play during such light showers. Har-Tru courts are also cooler than hard courts and have a bit more give, making them easier on players' ankles and knees.
Har-Tru is an ideal playing surface and offers much easier maintenance and repair than other clay court types. For play, it is somewhere between a hard court and a clay court.
Hard Tennis Courts
Hard courts are constructed on top of asphalt or concrete beneath a layer of acrylic, resin, or other materials that provide cushioning and seal in the surface. Hard courts play very fast like grass, but provide bounce to the ball like clay. The speed of a bounce depends on how much sand is in the top layer, as more sand causes more friction that slows the ball down. Hard courts are extremely common and popular.
Hard court maintenance is fairly straightforward, involving techniques such as pressure washing and then removal of water using appropriate water removal tools. Brushing, re-painting, and anti-algae treatments may also be necessary.
If you need to know more about tennis court surfacing, or have any other questions about equipment and supplies for your tennis facility, contact Tennis Court Supply. We have 35 years of experience in tennis court construction and management and will be happy to help you.