Tennis Surfaces Explained, Part 1: Grass
Professional tennis is played on a variety of different surfaces, which these articles examine in detail. This first article looks at the surface tennis is most commonly associated with: grass.
Grass is the fastest of the tennis surfaces, meaning the ball bounces low and fast. This therefore naturally makes it a surface where big servers, such Andy Roddick, excel, as their opponents struggle to return serve due to the speed of the surface. It is also a surface that lends itself to playing on the baseline, as the ball slows by the time it reaches the back of the court.
The most famous grass court tournament is Wimbledon in London, England. The tournament, which usually takes place in June and sometimes July of every year, is one of the four Grand Slam Majors on the current professional tennis calendar. It is considered by many players and analysts to be the most prestigious of all the tennis tournaments. The event is played by both the Association of Tennis Professionals (the men’s game) and the Women’s Tennis Association (ladies game) players, who share equal prize money. Like all Grand Slams, the men play best of five sets throughout the tournament.
Outside of Wimbledon, grass court tennis is surprisingly rare. The grass court season, for top players, tends to consist of only three weeks: a one-week tournament prior to Wimbledon, and then Wimbledon itself. There are two traditional grass court tournaments that serve as Wimbledon warm ups: the Aegon Championship’s at Queens Club in London, and a similar tournament in Halle, Germany.