Clay to Grass or Grass to Clay: Which is a more difficult transition? - TennisForum.com
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Clay to Grass 20 54.05%
Grass to Clay 9 24.32%
Equal 8 21.62%
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post #1 of 21 (permalink) Old Jul 5th, 2011, 08:55 PM Thread Starter
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Clay to Grass or Grass to Clay: Which is a more difficult transition?

I've always wondered for the players in the MM clay events after Wimbledon, which is more difficult, or if they're equally difficult.

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post #2 of 21 (permalink) Old Jul 8th, 2011, 09:49 PM
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Re: Clay to Grass or Grass to Clay: Which is a more difficult transition?

why does this thread have ro replies? it's actually a really good question. not that i have an answer, mind you.


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post #3 of 21 (permalink) Old Jul 8th, 2011, 09:53 PM
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Re: Clay to Grass or Grass to Clay: Which is a more difficult transition?

Good question I'm wondering the same if it's easier to go from Clay to Hard or Hard to Clay.

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post #4 of 21 (permalink) Old Jul 8th, 2011, 09:55 PM
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Re: Clay to Grass or Grass to Clay: Which is a more difficult transition?

I think it's harder from a slow surface to a fast one...
Though it doesn't really matter to these tournaments as most of the players on these MM draws don't go far at wimbledon anyway... Most of them probably don't play many matches on grass..
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post #5 of 21 (permalink) Old Jul 8th, 2011, 10:00 PM
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Re: Clay to Grass or Grass to Clay: Which is a more difficult transition?

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I think it's harder from a slow surface to a fast one...
Though it doesn't really matter to these tournaments as most of the players on these MM draws don't go far at wimbledon anyway... Most of them probably don't play many matches on grass..
Really? Because most Europeans grow up on clay but can still play well on hard, but American train on Hard but aren't really even competitive on clay

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post #6 of 21 (permalink) Old Jul 8th, 2011, 10:15 PM
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Re: Clay to Grass or Grass to Clay: Which is a more difficult transition?

Best question asked in awhile! No wonder we don't have an answer yet. Tennisforum


No idea unfortunately. I could guess and say it's harder to go from clay to grass - from a consistent bounce to a low, ragged, unpredictable bounce on a faster surface?
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post #7 of 21 (permalink) Old Jul 8th, 2011, 10:20 PM
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Re: Clay to Grass or Grass to Clay: Which is a more difficult transition?

I actually think it's tougher goin from a x surface to Clay than the opposite. On clay it's alot about movement, and it needs some times to get it right. As when you go from Clay to another surface at least you go to a surface where your base (the movement) is not too complicated and that it is more natural, you don't have to make anything special, a clay courter can move pretty much like he does on clay on any other surfaces but you can't move like you do on a hardcourt on a claycourt. Of course the bounces and the speed of the balls change, but it's like that for pretty much every events even if you go to a hard tournment to another..players are used to adjust their strokes to speed and ball height and bounces.

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post #8 of 21 (permalink) Old Jul 8th, 2011, 10:21 PM
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Re: Clay to Grass or Grass to Clay: Which is a more difficult transition?

I think it's easier to transition TO your favourite surface than FROM your favourite to a non-favourite. I.e. it's player-dependent.

Looking at the draws of Båstad and Budapest I notice a higher-than-usual percentage of players you'd call claycourters - for two reasons, probably; they don't go too far at Wimbledon so they're not tired, and the transition back to clay is relatively easy for them.
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post #9 of 21 (permalink) Old Jul 8th, 2011, 10:22 PM
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Re: Clay to Grass or Grass to Clay: Which is a more difficult transition?

Clay to grass. Sucks big time.
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post #10 of 21 (permalink) Old Jul 9th, 2011, 02:30 AM
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Re: Clay to Grass or Grass to Clay: Which is a more difficult transition?

Omg, I had a club tournament and I wondered about this, because I played a first round on clay and then for the second round they asked me to play on the less used synthetic grass courts because no clay court was available to play on at the moment (many tight first round matches I suppose, or maybe I just wasn't relevant enough ). After that, I played quarters on clay again!

From personal experience, I would say that either way is tricky, but clay to grass is slightly more difficult.
Point number one, the ball bounce. Both types of court have irregular ball bounce patterns, but come on, grass wins the award of most crazy bounces (clay usually only has irregularities when the court doesn't have enough maintenance or when the ball hits the borders of the lines, because unlike grass, where the lines are painted, the lines of clay courts are seperate entities from the court, creating a slight elevation).
What is difficult to get used to in these bounces is the way that the ball bullets off after hitting the ground, something which is easier to notice when you hit good slices or drop shots.
Second point, the movement. A person who is used to sliding on clay will suddenly feel like a cow on grass. Your reach and court coverage will diminish drastically if you were previously used to playing on clay.

What happened to me was that in my second round match I had a lot of trouble adapting to the ball bounce on grass. Preparation was so difficult that at one point I gave up on groundstrokes and just sliced and volleyed my way to victory. When I came back to clay, my movement was fine, proving that grass wasn't a setback on that area, but oh my god, the groundstrokes... My timing was completely unregulated by then, but I eventually realized that instead of waiting for the ball to bullet away off the ground, I had to go meet the ball, striking it much more early than in grass. So there you have it. You are completely bored by now, If you're even still reading , but I just wanted to show how I think that clay-to-grass transition is more difficult, all this from a personal perspective.

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post #11 of 21 (permalink) Old Jul 9th, 2011, 04:33 AM
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Re: Clay to Grass or Grass to Clay: Which is a more difficult transition?

They're both so hard. It's also weird to go from, in one day (mind you) Rebound Ace, red clay, HarTru green clay, Decoturf, and then back to RA (Thanks Bolletieri...).

Going from grass to clay, you get to have a more consistent, high bounce, which eases you back into hard courts, because while you're expecting the ball not to bounce the same (grass and clay), you're getting a high bounce (clay) and more solid footing. Then you go back to the best footing possible (hard court) and most even bounce. Clay to grass is hard because you've been on a slippery surface already going to an even less stable surface, and the mentality shift from being willing to be patient to being able to be aggressive, that can also be a real toughie if you aren't careful.

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post #12 of 21 (permalink) Old Jul 9th, 2011, 06:03 AM
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Re: Clay to Grass or Grass to Clay: Which is a more difficult transition?

They are very tricky, but I honestly a huge motivator is the mental aspect behind it. For these players going from Grass to Clay they are doing so because they love the dirt, they love the surface, and they have a game that suits well to it.

When they go from Clay to Grass I feel a lot of them come in a bit defeated knowing that this surface jut doesn't work for them.

In the end I think the transition that's the easiest is based on the players playing style and preference. Tamarine Tanausgarn never really struggled going from Clay 1R losses to a solid grass court season.

I feel like clay specialists are equally happy to leave a rough grass patch, and go back to their comfort zone.
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post #13 of 21 (permalink) Old Jul 9th, 2011, 07:58 AM
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Re: Clay to Grass or Grass to Clay: Which is a more difficult transition?

Clay to grass.

Or slow to fast in general.

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post #14 of 21 (permalink) Old Jul 9th, 2011, 09:35 AM
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Re: Clay to Grass or Grass to Clay: Which is a more difficult transition?

considering the terrible display of tennis i saw in Bastad and Budapest even from good players i say from grass to clay...i think mostly because of the movement thing and the high bounces

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post #15 of 21 (permalink) Old Jul 9th, 2011, 10:51 AM
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Re: Clay to Grass or Grass to Clay: Which is a more difficult transition?

I go between playing at the venue where the Estoril Open is and sometimes playing on synthetic grass at the local club near where I live--clay to any surface is harder than vice versa, in my opinion, especially grass.

I think a lot of it has to do with mentality, yes, but having to change your stroke production, step further inside the court, get used to these horrible bounces on grass, having far less time to react and respond, especially after you've had on the previous surface advantages in all these areas, it's just a matter of being able to adapt your game as well.

But at the same time sometimes it's hard to get used to clay again if I've spent weeks on HCs and grass and the spins kill me, so I don't know.

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