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View Full Version : Why is wood no longer used as a playing surface?


Aravanecaravan
Jan 30th, 2007, 08:46 PM
Does anyone know?

I've been reading alot about Laver and Rosewall and the pro game in the 1960's, and many of the indoor events of this period were played on wood. In some accounts, the wood surface on which the French Pro Championships was held was called "the fastest surface" upon which tennis has ever been played.

When I was in college, we used to play on "half-sized courts" in the gymnasium when it got too cold outside, and from experience, I'm inclined to agree with the suggestion that wood is the fastest of all surfaces.

My question is why don't the pros play on it anymore, and when did they stop?

sfselesfan
Jan 30th, 2007, 08:47 PM
It would be too fast for today's game and technology.

SF

Viktymise
Jan 30th, 2007, 08:52 PM
Iv played on a surface like that before and it is lightning fast :eek:. It would definatley be way too fast for today's game. There would be so few rallies, as even shots that arent hit that hard just fly of the court, your backswing has to be almost non existant. Players with big serves would completely dominate. Im sure Sprem and Azarenka would be absoltely lethal on it :lol: Iv heard that Natasha Zvereva grew up playing on them, which is a great achievment considering the speed

jazar
Jan 30th, 2007, 08:53 PM
i've played ion wood before and it can be quite dangerous

darrinbaker00
Jan 30th, 2007, 08:57 PM
The pros played on wood floors during that time because professional tennis was looked down upon in those days, and no self-respecting tennis club would let those "hustlers" soil their lawns. Nowadays, pro tennis is a legitimate sport, and they don't have to play on dangerous surfaces.

Aravanecaravan
Jan 30th, 2007, 09:03 PM
OK, thanks for the responses.

I wonder if the type of wood used would make a difference. In other words, pine, being very soft--would that absorb some of the energy and produce a softer shot than a hardwood?

Would there be any way to cushion the surface (perhaps from underneath?) in order to slow it down?

I would think having another type of surface for tournament tennis would make for some interesting matches--even if it was a short 2 or 3 week "wood season" with a de facto wood "world championship." From a historical perspective, it would be interesting to see which players would adapt to it.

Aravanecaravan
Jan 30th, 2007, 09:06 PM
The pros played on wood floors during that time because professional tennis was looked down upon in those days, and no self-respecting tennis club would let those "hustlers" soil their lawns. Nowadays, pro tennis is a legitimate sport, and they don't have to play on dangerous surfaces.

That may be true, but I think the use of wood court for tennis goes back far further than pro tennis. I could be wrong about this, but I am pretty sure than there were tournaments played on wood in the 30's and 40's, and I don't mean the pro "tours".

selestribe
Jan 30th, 2007, 09:07 PM
I heard that a painted wood surface has been used for the ATP event in Vienna, Austria last year and many players complained about it. I don't know if this can be verified, but the commentators on French ES were talking about it during the tournament when it was aired on ES.

P_Fer
Jan 30th, 2007, 09:19 PM
I would like to see two of today's best power players play a match on wood

polly
Jan 30th, 2007, 09:21 PM
and how about tarmac surfaces, are they too fast?

selestribe
Jan 30th, 2007, 09:25 PM
Last year in Vienna :

Surface : OPTICOURT ( similar to greenset on wood )

It's not usual, but this exists. Switzerland chose this surface once for a Davis Cup tie, but I haven't heard it has been used on the WTA tour ...
It's supposed to be a slow surface.

sfselesfan
Jan 30th, 2007, 09:31 PM
I think wood could be worked back in if they covered it with something to give players safer traction and to slow the ball down just a bit. When they play on carpet, is the carpet on cement or wood?

SF

Cat's Pajamas
Jan 30th, 2007, 09:37 PM
I've played on a wood surface just for fun, and it's insane! :eek: The ball goes so fast, and also I read an interview about Stefan Edberg and he talked about how he grew up on wood courts in Sweden. He said that it was "suicide" to stay back at the baseline and everyone served and volleyed. That's why he was such a great volleyer. :p

Tripp
Jan 30th, 2007, 09:42 PM
I'm assuming it could be very agressive for the players' body, specially nowadays, when people playing in both circuits are so injury-prone.