Tennis Surfaces Explained, Part 3: Hard Court
While the best known tennis surface is undoubtedly grass, the majority of the tennis professional season is not played on that surface. Here, we look into the finer details of the most predominant surface on the professional tour: hard court.
Despite the name, hard courts are not the hardest courts on the tennis tour. That honor goes to clay, where the ball bounces high and slow as a result. Hard courts are, in fact, more of a middle ground between the two ‘natural’ surfaces of clay and grass. With clay the slowest surface and grass the fastest on the regular calendar, hard court is somewhere in the middle. When a ball bounces on hard court, it bounces higher than it would on grass, but lower than it would on clay. Therefore this surface suits ‘all rounder’ players.
Two tennis Grand Slam Major tournaments are played on hard court: the Australian Open at the start of the calendar season, and the United States Open around September / October time. While the Slams played on the natural surfaces – clay and grass – tend to have consecutive winners (Rafael Nadal has won the French Open five times, Roger Federer has won Wimbledon six times), results tend to be a little more varied on hard court.
Despite the overall dominance of Nadal and Federer over the tennis game, during their tenure other players have won the Australian or US Open – such as Andy Roddick, who won the US Open, or Novak Djokovic’s victory at the Australian.