Getting to know the different surfaces played on in tennis

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Rafael Nadal, Novak Djokovic and Roger Federer Credit: Alamy
Rafael Nadal, Novak Djokovic and Roger Federer Credit: Alamy

Ever wondered what the differences are between the three surfaces played on in tennis and why certain players like Rafael Nadal, Roger Federer, and Novak Djokovic succeed on their preferred court.

The grass court is famously known for being the surface played on at the prestigious Wimbledon Championships, which takes place in July.

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It is the fastest court in tennis due to its slippery surface. The ball has a significantly lower bounce, as it is softer than the other courts. It can often produce some unpredictable bounces due to the more delicate and slightly uneven grass.

Its characteristics allow the court to produce faster-paced shots with a lower bounce. This favours players with trustworthy serves and gives an advantage to players that enjoy playing at the net.

Roger Federer is often referred to as one of the best players on the grass court, having proven his ability by winning seven Wimbledon titles.

The Clay court is the complete opposite of its grass counterpart and is famously seen at the French Open Championships. It is considered to be the slowest surface in tennis.

The surface slows down the speed of a shot while reducing the skid of the ball and causing higher bounces. The reduced rate of the ball favours the hard hitters, giving them more time to produce a powerful return shot.

The court is favoured by players who enjoy playing from the baseline and like to generate heavy spin on their shots. One of the most memorable players from the surface is the ‘King of Clay’ Rafael Nadal.

Nadal is the most successful player on the clay court, proving his lethality by winning 36 titles on the surface.

The hard court is often called a mixture of clay and grass. They are also the easiest to maintain, which makes them the most commonly used courts.

The ball travels slower than the ones on the grass court but faster than the ones on the clay court. The ball also has a significantly higher bounce due to its hard surface. Players’ shots are a lot easier to return on the surface, as the ball is very predictable due to the smoothness of the court.

The surface is favoured by players with good service and those who like to play from the baseline.

Novak Djokovic has proven to be one of the most lethal players on the hard courts, having won 12 Grand Slam titles on the surface.

READ MORE: Unreal facts about ‘The King of Clay’ Rafael Nadal that you probably didn’t know

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