Tennis Hard Courts
There are multiple different types of tennis courts that are home to the various professional tennis tournaments, including hard courts, clay courts, grass courts, and synthetic turf courts. However, hard courts are the most commonly used courts by professionals and amateur players. Hard courts can often be found at a typical tennis court, gym, or school.
Hard Courts in Tennis
In tennis, hard courts are rigid playing surfaces, usually made of asphalt or concrete. Hard courts are typically covered with acrylic resin to mark the lines, seal the playing surface, and provide some cushioning. Hard courts play medium to fast in terms of ball and player speed, as there is less energy absorption by hard courts compared to softer clay or grass courts. The ball bounces higher on hard courts, allowing many types of spin to be applied. As a result, players often prefer flat balls on hard courts.
Hard courts are the most common type of tennis court today and are used in the most professional tournaments worldwide. Hard courts are typically made from an asphalt or concrete base, covered with an acrylic top, and mixed with other materials to produce the final product. These courts usually feature fast bounces, but bounce height can vary depending on the type of hard court, so players should be familiar with how each hard court plays to receive the best results.
- Most commonly found type of tennis court
- Bounces are generally fast, giving heavy shot makers and big servers the advantage
- Courts will dry quickly after rainfall
- Properties of hard courts make it easy to change direction and prevents slipping
- Tougher on joints compared to other surfaces
- Fast bounces require faster reaction times and makes returns difficult
- Bounce height can vary depending on the exact type of hard court
Characteristics of a Hard Court
These are the characteristics of a hard court in tennis:
- The court is composed of a hard substance, like concrete or asphalt, and covered with an acrylic surface layer.
- Hard courts are seen as a middle ground: faster than clay courts but slower than a grass court; when the ball bounces, it more often goes in the direction the player wants it to.
- Hard courts are rigid and absorb shock.
Hard Court Speed
Tennis court types are typically categorized by speed in addition to their material. In tennis, the speed of a court refers to how much the court surface slows down the ball when it hits the ground. Another aspect of speed is bounce height, with different materials giving a tennis ball different bounce heights.
Hard courts are generally seen as a midway point between clay and grass courts in terms of speed. They are typically faster than clay courts, meaning that the ball does not slow down as much on hard courts as on clay. However, hard courts are slower than grass courts, as the hardened, acrylic surface catches and slows the ball more than grass.
Hard Court Shoes
The shoes for hard court tennis players are usually made to be more durable, since the surface these athletes play on is far more abrasive than that of a grass or clay court. More cushion is found in these shoes, which allows the player to receive less of the shock from the playing surface. Although hard court shoes can be slippery at times, they are easy to maneuver in and light on the feet.
History of Hard Courts in Tennis
Real tennis, the medieval predecessor to the modern game, was played on hard surfaces such as wood or stone. In the late 1700s, field tennis was developed, played on large grassy fields. Modern tennis, also known as lawn tennis, was most often played on grass courts, and it wasn’t until the 1940s that official tennis tournaments began to use hard courts.
What is a hard court in tennis?
In tennis, a hard court is a durable and rigid playing surface usually made of asphalt or concrete. Hard courts are covered in resin for extra protection and cushioning. Hard courts are known for their fast play and easy maintenance.
Which tennis tournaments use hard courts?
A number of notable tennis tournaments use hard courts as their main surfaces. Among the four Grand Slam Tournaments, two are played on hard courts: the Australian Open and the U.S. Open. Hard courts also make up a majority percentage of tournaments on the ATP Tour.
What is a hard court best for in tennis?
Hard courts present a couple of unique advantages for tennis players to capitalize on when playing them. Because hard courts have moderate speed and high bounce heights, they are excellent for tennis players who prefer to stay back and play the baseline, rather than constantly running into the frontcourt. Additionally, because of their consistent surface and speed, which is harder to achieve with clay or grass, hard courts are better for longer rallies.