Tennis Court Surfacing: The 11 Tennis Court Surfaces Explained

We all know that Tennis is a sport loved by many and that the surface you play on can significantly impact your game. We are well aware of the grass courts, or the clay courts, but did you know there are also carpet courts, artificial clay courts, and acrylic courts?

 And that's just the beginning – there are also wood courts and hybrid clay courts to choose from! 

In fact, there are 11 tennis court surfaces in total, each with its own unique characteristics and advantages. So, if you want to learn more about the different types of tennis court surfaces, you've come to the right place.

 Here's a breakdown of all 11 tennis court surfaces and what makes them unique: 

1. Acrylic Court 

 Acrylic court surfaces are a relatively new type of court surface. In many ways, these courts are similar to hard court surfaces; they are durable, low-maintenance, and provide good traction. And because of these key benefits, acrylic courts are becoming increasingly popular in the US and worldwide.  The main differences between acrylic and hard courts are that acrylic courts are softer and therefore provide a more "bouncy experience" – depending on the type of acrylic used, and the extra layer of cushioning they provide. The heat may have a hand in the speed of play as well – as acrylic courts tend to offer much faster play when directly exposed to the sun. Acrylic courts may be great for beginners and experienced players because they provide a more forgiving play than most traditional hard courts. 


2. Asphalt Court 

 There's not much difference between asphalt tennis courts and those made of acrylic – they are both built almost the same way, with the latter having an extra coat of acrylic on top. And because of this, asphalt tennis courts offer very low initial costs and can be more easily installed than other types of courts. However, asphalt courts have one major disadvantage over acrylic courts: they are susceptible to cracks and damages over time, require more frequent maintenance, and tend to be more expensive in the long run. This is also one of the reasons why asphalt courts are not used in professional tennis tournaments. 

 3. Concrete Court 

 Concrete tennis courts are one of the oldest types of tennis court surfaces still in use. They are made of concrete – a durable material that provides good traction and ball control. Concrete courts can be unforgiving to players, as the hard surface can cause serious injuries if they’re not careful. The good news is that it’s relatively inexpensive and can be found in most recreational areas. Concrete courts are also easier to maintain and are much more durable compared to asphalt courts. And just like the latter, concrete courts are not used in professional tournaments. 


4. Artificial Clay Court 

 Artificial clay courts are made of a synthetic material that mimics the playing characteristics of natural clay courts. This type of court provides a slower playing experience and is an excellent choice for recreational players who want to play on a clay court without the hassle of maintaining a natural clay court. In fact, unlike a regular clay court, artificial courts don't need frequent watering or rolling. An artificial clay court is the newest type of court and is becoming increasingly popular, as it can be installed in a much shorter time than traditional clay courts. As of this writing, artificial clay courts are not used in professional tournaments. They may look like regular clay courts, but they don't provide the same playing experience.   


5. Clay Court 

 Speaking of clay, we also have traditional clay courts. Clay courts are made of crushed stone and are the slowest of all court surfaces. Clay courts are known for their red hue (some are green), and they provide great ball control and spin. Also, clay courts allow players to slide from one side to the other, which can be a great advantage for players who like to take their defense to the next level. Clay courts require more maintenance (and can get expensive) than other courts, as they need regular irrigation, rolling, and brushing to preserve flatness. But because of the unique play they offer, clay courts are most popular in Europe and South America. In fact, red clay courts are considered the standard for professional tournaments in the French Open and the Davis Cup.   

 6. Hybrid Clay Court 

 If you're looking for a slow game without the heavy maintenance of standard clay courts, a new type of court is gaining popularity – the hybrid clay court. The biggest advantage of hybrid clay courts is that they require much less maintenance than regular clay courts, as they are made of a combination of hard court materials and clay. Hybrid clay courts are becoming increasingly popular in the US, as they provide a great playing experience that doesn't take too long to maintain. Since this court type is relatively new, hybrid clay courts have yet to be used in professional tournaments. 

 7. Artificial Grass Court 

 If you find grass courts too slippery, consider playing on artificial grass courts. Artificial grass courts are made of synthetic turf, and they provide a great playing experience with good traction and ball control. The biggest advantage of artificial grass courts is that they require much less maintenance than natural ones. And because of this, artificial grass courts are becoming increasingly popular in the US. Professional tournaments have yet to be played on artificial grass courts. Still, they are an excellent option for recreational players who like to play on natural grass courts but want to avoid the hassle of maintaining one.   

8. Grass Court 

 If you're looking for a truly traditional playing experience, you may want to try playing on a grass court. Grass courts are the oldest type of court surface, and they provide a unique playing experience. Grass courts are also known for providing a fast game (the fastest among all courts, in fact), which may be great for players who like to play an aggressive game. Grass courts are used in professional tournaments, such as Wimbledon, and are most popular in the UK and other parts of Europe. The biggest downside for most grass courts is that they require a lot of maintenance, as they must be mowed and watered regularly. Grass courts can also get slippery when wet, which can significantly disadvantage players.   

 9. Carpet Court 

 Carpet courts are a type of court surface made of synthetic carpeting.  Like grass courts, carpet courts offer a fast game and can be fantastic for serves and volleys. The biggest advantage of carpet courts is that they require very little maintenance and are much cheaper to install than traditional surfaces, such as grass. The carpet court was the standard in most professional tours, such as Paris' ATP 1000, until they were replaced with hard courts. 

 10. Wood Court 

 One of the most challenging surfaces to play on is a wood court. Why? It offers a fast game, and the balls bounce off the court at a much higher speed but with an extremely low bounce than other surfaces. It can also be quite slippery, which can significantly disadvantage players.  Wood courts are not used in professional tournaments and are less popular than the other surfaces covered in this list. 

 11. Other Modular Systems (such as Tiles) 

 Lastly, other types of court surfaces, such as modular systems (made of tiles), are becoming increasingly popular. Modular systems are made of connected tiles, and they are much easier to install than traditional court surfaces, such as grass and clay. These courts provide a great playing experience and require very little maintenance. And because of this, they are becoming increasingly popular in the US and worldwide. Modular systems are not used in professional tournaments at the moment. Still, they are an excellent option for recreational players who want to play on a court without the hassle of maintaining a traditional court. 

 Key Takeaways 

 Whatever court surface you choose, there are certain key things to remember. First, it's important to remember that each court surface has unique characteristics and advantages. Second, some require more maintenance than others, so it's essential to consider this when deciding which type of court to install. Lastly, some surfaces are more suitable for professional tournaments than others, so it's important to consider this. 

 No matter which court surface you choose, do your research and find the one that best suits your needs.  Or if you need any help, reach out to us, or check out our tennis court surfacing supplies. We’d be happy to assist you with tennis court-related inquiries at Tennis Court Supply, so contact us today!