Tennis surfaces can drastically affect a player’s game. Only a few legends, like Steffi Graf, Martina Navratilova, Serena Williams, and Novak Djokovic, excelled on all surfaces. After the Grass run on which the bounce is low and the ball skid is high, players are now preparing for hard court season. Hard courts can either be slow, displaying grass surface-like characteristics, or they can be fast, which gives the feel of Clay courts. Hard courts are considered to be one of the best surfaces to play, and they are also cost-effective.
In the US, most of the surfaces are hard courts; the only difference is whether it is a slow or fast hard court. Jimmy Connors, who aced on the hard courts, showers insight into the differences that hard courts in different parts of the country exhibit.
Jimmy Connors delves deep into the Hard courts of different regions
Connors had won 6 majors on hard court, 5 in US Open and 1 in Australian Open. In a Spotify podcast, ‘Advantage Connors‘ the American talks about the changes in the surface over the years. He compares the ones in elite colleges, which he referred to as the powerhouses, and reflects on how all of it transformed due to the slow courts in Florida.
The 8 singles Slam winner said, “If you’re a Californian, most of the tennis was on hard courts. And back then, you know, California was, you know, where all the camps in the world, the tennis academies and college tennis, USC, UCLA, Stanford, you know, were the, you know, were the powerhouses. And you know, now that’s all changed because of the surfaces mostly in Florida on the slower courts.”
The 70-year-old then elaborated on how the ball moves on Hard courts. He said, “So the balls were quicker. Back then, they were smaller. They didn’t. They moved quicker through the air, and then when they hit the court, they’d, you know, kind of stay low and skip on through. So you know, the game has changed, and the surfaces too”.
Connors then compared how the equation between surface and players has changed, by quoting two legends as the epitomes.
A McEnroe or a Borg, the game depends on the surface than the player
In over 50 years of his career in tennis as a player, commentator and analyst, 109 singles titles winner said how legends like John McEnroe and Bjorn Borg adjusted their game depending on the surface.
He said, “But the surfaces have been changed to fit the game back before, you know, a McEnroe and a Borg or whatever. They had to change their game to fit the surface”.
But time, equipment, manpower, and even climatic conditions have changed in the last 50 years. The maintenance of courts has tremendously changed to suit the requirements of players. Unlike the present generation players, there were only a few players who could do well on all surfaces.
McEnroe dominated on Carpet courts, which were banned in 2018 because of the physical damage it could cause the players. Borg dominated on Clay courts, and he enjoys watching Rafael Nadal, who is similar to him in many ways. The Hard courts are the most famous ad considered a great surface to play on when compared to others. With only 25 days remaining for the US Open, who is your favorite pick?