View Full Version : Why are Green Clay tournaments... (a series of questions)

Sam L
Apr 4th, 2002, 11:29 AM
all located in the Southern USA states?

Sarasota, Florida
Amelia Island, Florida
Charleston, South Carolina

Also in the past

Houston, Texas
Wesley Chapel, Florida

It just seems that that's the only region in the world where the surface is played. Why?

N.B: except of course US Open 75-77 but that was brief. Actually I want to know why they had green clay for the US Open for those years!?

Also I know this is old but wouldn't it have been appropriate if Atlanta Olympic games were played on green clay? It would've been unique and Georgia is a Southern state. I know that a mens' tournament used to be played in Atlanta on green clay.

BTW it's true that the US Mens' claycourt championships (won by Andy Roddick last year) is now on red clay right? So does that mean there's NO green clay tournaments on the mens' tour anymore?

Also I know that the official name for the surface is "Har-Tru", why? Is that the name of company that manufactures it?

If anyone has answers, please provide! :)
Thanx in advance...

Brian Stewart
Apr 4th, 2002, 03:16 PM
Har-Tru is the name of a company that designs these courts. Their website is: http://www.httennis.com

My conjecture:
The US uses green clay because it's a bit faster than red clay. Americans prefer their surfaces a bit faster. Our hard and indoor surfaces tend to be a bit faster too. There may be other reasons, such as climate, which make green clay preferable.

As to why the USTA went to clay for the US Open from 1975-77, it could probably be summed up in 2 words: Chris Evert. They wanted to help out their top hope for #1 (with King and Richey nearing the ends of their careers). The other leading competitors for the top, Wade, Navratilova, Barker, Goolagong, had 2 things in common; they were foreigners, and they were serve/volleyers. So obviously, a clay surface would be more to Evert's advantage and their disadvantage. At least until the new National Tennis Center would be ready in 1978, with a more democratic (and cheaper to maintain) surface.

I don't know the answers about the men's tournaments.

BTW, unless I'm mistaken, I thought the old US Clay Court championships in Indianapolis (women) were also on green clay. At least in the most recent editions that were held there. Can any historians confirm?

Apr 4th, 2002, 04:09 PM
Yes, the US Clay events (in Indianapolis many years) were on green clay. As for green clay being a southern-only surface, I'd say it started as an eastern alternative to grass. Hard courts were unheard of in the east in the early days, and thus public courts built with low costs in mind used clay.

A tradition was built up of early season green clay events in the south from the 1920's. Clay events were held in the north in July, but often had problems getting good fields because the Us Open was held on grass. Being closer in time and place to the US Open, most big northern tournaments were grass until 1974, then green clay, then hard courts. Being held farther away, southern states have held onto the clay tradition.

I can't answer the question of why green clay was used here over red, but the US Open move to clay had little to do with helping out Chris Evert. When the decision was made to switch to clay in 73 Evert was still an unknown force and Goolagong beat her on clay that year. Besides, if helping Chris was the goal they would never have abandoned clay after 3 years.

The main reasons were player complaints and the high cost of grass. The grass was so bad at Forest Hills in comparison to Wimbledon that there were a lot of complaints about torn up courts with brown patches and horrible bounces.

The second consideration was the high cost. Grass courts are simply more expensive to maintain. With more events and country clubs switching to har-tru because of costs it was only a matter of time before they changed.

Apr 4th, 2002, 04:23 PM
Only other place that has green clay is in UK

Last WTA event here was Cardiff
Mens ATP Bournemouth

Still there are challengers/ITF $10K on the green stuff still.

Sam L
Apr 5th, 2002, 12:22 PM
Thanx for the interesting information guys :D

Just with the US claycourt championships in Indianapolis, I knew of it, but I didn't know whether it was played on green clay etc... I guess it continued as a mens' tournament but not for the women.

TBE, I didn't know that England had green clay, I thought only the US had it.

Regarding Chris Evert and other reasons as to why US open was moved on clay, I suppose it had to do with a mix of all those reasons. It's very interesting and does make sense now as to why they moved it. I suppose the grass (been not as good as Wimbledon) makes the strongest argument.

Apr 5th, 2002, 01:14 PM
Hello Sam L UK not England (really pisses me off when people do that)

There might be a green clay tournament in the UK soon as Edinburgh's challanger would like it to become a main tour event could it happen?

I hope so!

Sam L
Apr 5th, 2002, 01:38 PM
LOL sorry! I suppose it's faster to type UK anyway ;)

I do hope that that tournament becomes a main tour event. I like green clay, there should be more tournaments on it ;)

Apr 5th, 2002, 01:49 PM
MR - Bournemouth is in England :p

Apr 5th, 2002, 04:57 PM
Sam, the US Clay was played for years in the Chicago area, with another smaller event as a warm up. As it was held right after Wimbledon though it had problems attracting top players a lot of years.

Later it was moved to a big stadium in Indianapolis, but again had problems because the US Open by then was on hard courts. Chris Evert and Martina Navartilova effectively killed the women's US clay event by never entering(in Martina's case) or playing exhibitions the same week(Evert did this at least twice)-a real shame since the women had equal TV time with the men.

When Virginia Slims started in 1971 there were many clay events in the south and east. Chicago was on clay. The real start of the green clay season came in 1973 though, when the Family Circle Cup was the first ever event to offer $100,000
US in prize money. It was also a big deal because the finals of the Family Circle have always been televised-every year since 1973:)

When all Slims events were made indoors in 1975 the Family Circle couldn't be a part of it, so they chose to go it alone after the indoor season in April. Thus was today's green clay season born, with Amelia Island later being added on:) Sponsers have come and gone, but the Family Circle magazine has stayed around longer than all of them.

Apr 5th, 2002, 05:28 PM
VBN-Shut UP!:p

But Cardif is in Wales and Edinburgh is in Scotland so UK!:wavey: