Clay Tennis Courts


The game of tennis is played on three main types of surfaces. The most popular is called hard court and the majority of tennis enthusiasts, professional or amateur, play on this substance. The two remaining court surfaces are made of either grass or clay. The Australian Open, French Open, Wimbledon and US Open make up the Grand Slam of tennis, of which only one is conducted on clay, the French Open.

What you should know is that there are very few courts in the world actually made from real clay. A modern clay court has a solid base made of limestone and sand and is covered in a layer of finely crushed red-orange brick. Back in the late 1800s, seven time Wimbledon champion William Renshaw sprinkled a thin layer of red powder over his tennis court to prevent the grass from being burnt by the sun. The courts at the French Open followed suit, using broken terra cotta pots as a playing surface. Now they rely on crushed bricks, the same found in building construction. The courts of the famous tournament go through 88,000 pounds of the material each year. Preparing the court for a match means groundskeepers spend hours raking, rolling and dampening the brick. During a typical tennis match the brick coating will become chalky, amass in certain areas, dissipate into the air and stick to clothing. To make necessary repairs to the courts, a stockpile of 11,000 pounds of freshly crushed brick is close at hand to assure the “clay courts” are always dressed in their best red. Advantage – French Open.