tennis court surface

The Tennis Court Surfaces - 4 Best Modern Surfaces

The tennis court surface is a fundamental part of the game of tennis. Without doubt, tennis is one of the most entertaining and favourite games for millions around the world. It improves both physical and mental health, brings positive emotions, and gives you social benefits as well. What a pleasure to play tennis with your friend, especially outside! All you need is a racquet, tennis balls, a court and a partner. Alternatively, you can even play on your own, practicing serves on the court or hitting groundstrokes and volleys against the wall.

Tennis Court Surface Characteristics

Tennis can be played on different surfaces, and each surface has its own characteristics, which affect the speed and style of play. Wondering which tennis court surface is the best? It’s quite difficult to answer, as each type of surface has its advantages and disadvantages and appeals to a certain playing style. For example, Rafael Nadal, an extraordinary Spanish player, is the best clay court specialist, while Roger Federer performs better on grass courts. Novak Djokovic, another genius tennis player, is more confident on hard courts.

Which tennis court surface is the best?

Let’s take a look at the most popular tennis court surfaces and compare their characteristics. There are four major types of courts, depending on the materials used for the court surface: clay courts, hard courts, grass courts and carpet courts.

Clay Courts

Clay courts are made of crushed stones, shale and bricks and have red or orange color; less frequently, when they are composed of basalt, a natural stone, they have green colour. The French Open, one of the four Grand Slam tournaments, is played on clay courts, when green clay is used only for the tournaments in the United States.

On clay, tennis ball bounces slower and higher, than on other courts, which gives advantages to confident baseline players, who adds a lot of topspin and play mostly in a defensive style. Another key feature of clay courts is the ability to slide to the ball, so the player needs good flexibility. Among the reasons why the play on a clay court is a good idea are the following: the softer surface of this type of court is not so harmful to the body; this surface improves endurance and physical condition, as the player needs to run more and tries to chase every ball. Moreover, a slower game teaches patience and gives more time to make a right decision. Definitely, the most talented and award-winning player, is a Spaniard Rafael Nadal, who managed to win The French Open trophy 12 times and is rightly called "the king of clay".

En tout cas surface - Reds Landscaping & Design
En tout cas surface.


The En-tout-cas surface

In addition, "en-tout-cas" courts are worth mentioning. En-tout-cas, which means "in any case" or "in any conditions" in French, is a top-quality and the most famous court construction among tennis court builders. This is the well-known artificial sports surface builder, made from crushed bricks and stone. The main advantage of these courts is greatly improved drainage system, that helps the courts to drain quickly after the rain. In Australia, en-tout-cas courts are mostly used in Victoria.

Grass Courts

Grass Court Surface - Reds Landscaping & Design
The Grass Court Surface.

Grass courts are the fastest of all four types of surfaces; the ball bounces fast and low to the ground. That is why the rallies become much shorter than on hard courts and especially on clay courts. They are made of natural grass, which demands high maintenance due to constant watering and mowing. That’s why they are not as widely built as other tennis surfaces. The most famous tournament played on grass courts is Wimbledon, which takes place in London in July of each year. Grass courts favour serve-and-volley tennis players, as serve plays a vital part there, as well as confident net skills. Roger Federer, an outstanding Swiss player, is "unbeatable on grass", thanks to his perfect technique, quick reaction and good footwork. However, in 2019, Novak Djokovic proved that he could be a decent opponent on grass court as well, winning his 5th title in an epic match on Wimbledon courts.

The Hard Court Surface

Hard courts are made of rigid materials and are the favourite for most players worldwide. They have a smooth surface, so the bounce of the ball is rather predictable, and the player can control the game easily. On this type of tennis surface, the ball bounces fast and high, so players can hit a wide variety of shots, add spin, and make the game more dynamic. Hard courts are suitable for players with an aggressive and attacking style who have a powerful serve as well. The two Grand Slam tournaments, the US Open and the Australian Open, are played on hard courts. The only difference is that the American Grand Slam uses an acrylic hard court, while the Australian Open uses a synthetic one. An interesting fact is that the Australian Open was played on grass courts before, but switched from them to hard courts in 1988.

The only disadvantage of a hard court is that it has a higher risk of injury. Players’ joints suffer a lot when jumping on hard ground. Nevertheless, there is a solution: the cushioning makes the surface softer, which minimizes the shock on the body and helps to prevent injuries. A cushioned tennis court is a system with a concrete base with several layers of cushioned rubber applied before the standard acrylic finish. It helps to reduce impact on an athlete's most vulnerable parts of the body: knees, ankles, and feet.

The hard court surface - Reds Landscaping & Design
The hard court surface.


Novak Djokovic, a real mental giant and one of the most complete athletes to have ever played the game, is definitely considered one of the best players on the hard court. A Serbian is a record holder of Australian Open titles and won his 8th trophey on the Australian tennis court surface in 2020, beating an Austrian, Dominic Thiem, in an epic five-set match.

Carpet or indoor courts

Carpet in tennis means any removable court covering that is installed temporarily for tennis events. It has a soft surface and can be made of different materials, from turf to rubber, and may have different bright colors. These courts are similar to grass courts in that the ball bounces fast and low, so they are suitable for players with a good serve and a confident net game. Carpet courts are not used in professional events anymore; they have been replaced by removable hard courts, but some big tournaments, such as the Australian Open (until 2007), WCT Finals, Paris Masters, U.S. Pro Indoor, and Kremlin Cup, were held on this type of surface before.

Indoor tennis courts are rather convenient, as they are easy to install and maintain and allow you to play in any weather condition. These courts are used for modern indoor professional events such as the ATP Finals.

As you can see, tennis has a great variety of surfaces to choose from. You just need to try out different kinds of courts to find the most suitable for your style of play.

The Tennis Court Surface in Commercial Landscaping

The Tennis Court is a popular addition to many of Melbourne's public spaces. The surface needs to be both hard wearing and low maintenance. Sand filled artificial grass, PMMA (Acrylic), or polyurethane with fine aggregate are often selected for commercial landscaping tennis courts. For the tennis courts at Balwyn Community Centre, Euroclay was chosen for the playing surface. This is a high quality synthetic surface that provides all of the features of a clay tennis surface with very low maintenance. It even looks and plays like en tout cas, but does not require rolling or watering. Even better, tennis can still be played in wet conditions. Ideal for the diehard tennis enthusiast home owner as well as public spaces.


Commercial landscaping Melbourne Balwyn - Reds Landscaping & Design
Commercial Landscaping at Balwyn Community Centre.

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