Each tennis playing surface is different and requires specific footwear and gear. Before deciding what to purchase determine which surface you will be playing on. Feel free to contact our expert staff for all equipment and apparel questions.
Hard courts are the most common type you will find in the United States. They’re made with concrete or asphalt and fall between clay courts (slow) and grass courts (fast) in speed. Since play on hard courts is fast-paced, it’s important to have a good first serve and an even better return. Because of its grueling nature and the unforgiving surface, hard court play takes a toll on your body. Ending shots early is key to minimizing the wear-and-tear caused by hard courts. Two of professional tennis’ Grand Slam tournaments, the U.S. Open and the Australian Open, are played on this surface.
Clay courts can be made from shale, brick or stone that has been crushed. It is generally the slowest surface for a court because the clay softens the bounce of the tennis ball. Because the game is slower, clay court players need good endurance. It also helps to play from the baseline since the slow, high bounce that balls take on clay makes fast shots less effective. Key aspects of clay court play include sliding, defending and hitting passing shots. The French Open, one of the four Grand Slam tournaments of professional tennis, takes place on the clay courts of Roland Garros in Paris.
Unlike clay courts, grass courts play fast and work well for players who serve and volley (i.e. don’t just stay on the baseline). Play on grass courts is tricky since balls can skid and take a bad bounce, making shots difficult to predict. Balls also bounce fast and low, giving power players and players with big, fast serves an advantage. On grass, good footwork is important since the surface is slippery. Grass courts also take lots of wear and tear and can become muddy or dusty with use. Wimbledon, considered the most prestigious of professional tennis’ Grand Slam tournaments, is played on grass courts in England.