View Full Version : Clay: The most confusing surface?

Apr 1st, 2002, 01:45 PM
Ever since I started following tennis in 1997 I have heard so many differences in what a good clay court player is, and what players should or shouldn't do well on clay. When I see a player doing well, I usually thing "yeah well its clay, of course they can do that". But there seems to be a contradiction in all of this, I've heard commentators change their view of what is a good play on clay and what isn't, and their reasons why a player wins and loses on the surface, and its happening here too with the speculation of who will win what this clay season.

I've heard being fast is important as you can get to the high bouncing balls earlier, which means u can hit a decent shot on them. You can scramble around and get many balls back, helping your chances of winning a rally. e.g. Coetzer and Sanchez-V. they do well on clay.


I have also heard that someone's weapon of speed would be negated on clay, and that you don't need to be the fastest as the surface is a slower one. You have more time to get to the ball and so you can be a slower runner and succeed. E.g. Monica does well on clay, but why does Lindsay do less well?

I have heard that having very powerful shots is not so important as the clay negates it. The bounce slows the ball right down, so u might as well play up to this and incorporate spins, slices, high balls. e.g. Conchita and Martina getting to finals of RG.


I have heard that if you are powerful, you can hit through the effects of the clay and still have a mighty wallop on the ball - e.g. Pierce, Venus, Capriati.

It confuses me sometimes when I don't have my head in gear. Anyone else noticed this?

Apr 1st, 2002, 01:54 PM
Regarding the speed:

The ball bounces slowly, that's right. So if you are a slow player, you can reach more balls than on a fast surface.
But of course a fast player can also reach more balls than on a fast surface. :)

I think it's more about patience. Monica is not the fastest, but she can play long rallies, as she can put top-spin on her shots. However, I wouldn't say that clay is Monica's best surface, at least not right now.
Lindsay ... well, who does really know how she plays on clay ? The past 2 years she has been injured.
Of course her serve is not as strong on clay. And she likes to finish the points fast. But she could win RG nonetheless, IMO.

Unfortunately, we probably have to wait another year to find out ... :sad: