Tennis Court Surfaces – Which Is Best?

If you follow professional tennis, or even just watch Wimbledon every year, you’ll probably be aware that all ATP tournaments are played on either clay, cushioned acrylic or natural grass, like Wimbledon. You might even know that some players perform better on one or the other, with some being clay or acrylic specialists and others preferring grass.

These days, however, there are more varieties of tennis court than just clay, acrylic and grass, and at Charles Lawrence Tennis Courts, we’re able to provide and install tennis courts made from a wide range of surface materials. Each surface has its own advantages, but you’ll be wanting to know which is the best tennis court for you.

Painted porous macadam hard courts

Most council, school and domestic private tennis courts will have a tarmacadam painted surface, and this is usually because it’s likely to be the most cost-effective option, being relatively inexpensive to both install and maintain. Other benefits include good ball bounce and slip resistance, while a porous surface means rainwater will quickly drain away. One main disadvantage of macadam hard courts is that they can take a long time to set.

Sand filled and sand dressed artificial grass carpets

Artificial grass courts have the advantages of requiring less maintenance than real grass, although they do need regular brushing to maintain the level of the sand infill and avoid consolidation. If you’re likely to be using the surface just for tennis (or other low impact games), then a sand dressed carpet will be your surface of choice; however, if you want to also use it for other sports such as football and multi-sports, then you would be better off with a sand filled carpet.

Polymeric rubber

Similar in appearance to an athletics track, polymeric rubber provides a great surface for tennis. Like the macadam surface above, it is porous so can be safely used even soon after heavy rain and is easy to maintain. The cushioning effect of the product provides a slower playing surface ideal for the older player. Polymeric surfaces wear far better and usually represent good value for money long term, although they are usually more expensive to install initially.

Artificial clay

Artificial clay courts are made from a combination of a synthetic carpet with a sand infill and have almost all the advantages of natural clay (one of the most popular surfaces for the majority of professionals), with very similar performance in terms of speed and bounce, but without the need for such regular care and maintenance. An all-weather surface ideal for use both indoors and outdoors, it can also be coloured to look like real clay.

Porous cushioned acrylic

As the name suggests, acrylic courts are all-weather courts as any rain will quickly drain away. They have become very popular among tennis clubs because they can be used all year without any loss of performance. A permeable cushioned layer is placed between the acrylic surface and the asphalt base, making it not only porous, but also more comfortable for players.

Non-porous cushioned acrylic (American Cement)

Otherwise known as ‘hard court’, this is the surface used in most major championships, including the US and Australia Open Championships. That makes its immediate advantage evident, in that it is the surface played on by professionals most frequently. It’s ideal for coaching and training, because, according to the Lawn Tennis Association, the action of the surface “encourages and rewards good playing technique”. However, the fact that it is non-porous does mean that it requires some work to make it playable after rain.

If you would like more information about the different surfaces we can provide and for advice on which would be best for your purposes, contact our team today. Give us a call or fill in our form and we’ll get straight back to organise a free site visit and quote.