There are three main court surfaces in tennis: hard court, grass, and clay. So what is the difference between these different court types? Does it make a difference in play? Read on and you will find out!
The Hard Court
Hard courts are made of uniform rigid material, offering greater consistency of bounce than other outdoor surfaces. They vary in speed, although they are faster than clay but not as fast as grass courts.
Both the US Open and the Australian Open are played on hard courts. There are two different types of hard court: synthetic and true hard court. the difference is the level of hardness.
Hard courts are the least expensive to maintain, but they are generally more rough on the human body than other surfaces due to their rigidity.
The Grass Court
Grass courts are the fastest type of courts in common use. Points are usually very quick where fast, low bounces keep rallies short, and the serve plays a more important role than on other surfaces. The surface is less firm and more slippery than hard courts, causing the ball to slide and bounce lower, and so players must reach the ball faster
Wimbledon is the only grand slam played on grass.
Grass courts were once among the most common tennis surfaces, but are now rare due to high maintenance costs, as they must be watered and mown often, and take a longer time to dry after rain than hard courts. The grass surface is the most compatible with the human body because of its softness.
The Clay Court
Clay courts slow down the ball and produce a high bounce. These courts take away lot of advantage of big serves, which makes it hard for serve-based players to dominate on the surface.
Clay courts are cheaper to construct than other types of tennis courts, but the maintenance costs of a clay surface are higher than those of hard courts.They need to be rolled to preserve flatness.
Clay courts are more common in Europe and Latin America than in North America and tend to heavily favor baseline players. The French Open is played on clay courts.