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'Cool' new surface for Australian Open
Wed 30 May, 07:43 AM

MELBOURNE (AFP) - The Australian Open will introduce a new rubberised tennis surface next year that offers more consistent bounce and cooler court temperatures, organisers said Wednesday.

Tournament director Craig Tiley said the new Plexicushion surface had already proved a hit with Lleyton Hewitt, Australia's top-ranked player and a frequent critic of the existing Rebound Ace courts.

Tiley said the new hi-tech surface supplied by Melbourne firm W.M. Loud offered a number of advantages over Rebound Ace, which has been used at the season-opening Grand Slam since 1988.

"W.M. Loud's technology will ensure a consistent pace and bounce," he said. "The age of the courts necessitated a reconstruction."

Tiley said the major difference between Plexicushion and Rebound Ace was that the existing court's acrylic surface was laid over rubber mats, while the new one would be set atop layers of rubberised resin.

He said it meant the new surface could be customised to achieve a more consistent result and contained less rubber, meaning it will retain less heat in the often furnace-like conditions at Melbourne Park in January.

Complaining about the existing surface's inconsistency has become almost an annual ritual for Hewitt, the tournament runner-up in 2005, and Tiley said the two-time Grand Slam winner supported the move to re-lay the courts.

"Lleyton's excited about the change," he said. "His greatest criticism in the past has been that the courts have been inconsistent.

"We believe this surface will remove that issue and provide a surface that will satisfy all players."

The prospect of a cooler surface will be welcomed by players, who frequently raise concerns as on-court temperatures approach 50 Celsius (122 Fahrenheit) at the height of the Australian summer.

Russia's Maria Sharapova said the heat made her "delusional" in her first-round match this year, while Argentine David Nalbandian branded conditions "terrible" and "disgusting" after a distressed opponent was forced to withdraw.
 

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If I were the tennis god, I would simply move the date of the Australian Open. I'd prefer it a month or two later when the weather isn't so hot in Oz. I understand the surface change. Hingis will be sad because she loves this surface, but at the same time, I believe the surface's hotness is what did her in during that hideously painful-to-watch 2002 AO final. The memories still haunt ... :sobbing:
 

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:)

Serena to win again on the new surface! :)
 

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If I were the tennis god, I would simply move the date of the Australian Open. I'd prefer it a month or two later when the weather isn't so hot in Oz. I understand the surface change. Hingis will be sad because she loves this surface, but at the same time, I believe the surface's hotness is what did her in during that hideously painful-to-watch 2002 AO final. The memories still haunt ... :sobbing:
But they said the surface will still play the same, so I think Hingis will still like it there.
 

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If I were the tennis god, I would simply move the date of the Australian Open. I'd prefer it a month or two later when the weather isn't so hot in Oz. I understand the surface change. Hingis will be sad because she loves this surface, but at the same time, I believe the surface's hotness is what did her in during that hideously painful-to-watch 2002 AO final. The memories still haunt ... :sobbing:
It's very painful to watch Martina in the 3rd set of that match, it's a miracle she could finish at all. Still, she should have closed it out in 2. Anyway...

Well, it doesn't sound like the courts will definitely play faster, so that's good.
I didn't want it to be the same surface as in NY, what would be the point in that?

Hopefully the surface will help with the heat, we will see.
 

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Why don't they just move the Australian Open from January to either February or March? Wouldn't that be easier? Australia has a very mild climate right?
 

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I wonder if it will be as sticky...thereby curing the ankle twisting problem. The article fails to expressly address that question.
SF
I wonder the same thing.
 

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I wonder if it will be as sticky...thereby curing the ankle twisting problem. The article fails to expressly address that question.

SF
"He said it meant the new surface could be customised to achieve a more consistent result and contained less rubber, meaning it will retain less heat in the often furnace-like conditions at Melbourne Park in January."

They say it will get less hot, and thus will probably be less sticky and dangerous on the players' joints, especially ankles. I think that's the biggest issue they're probably trying to target with this surface change.
 

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"He said it meant the new surface could be customised to achieve a more consistent result and contained less rubber, meaning it will retain less heat in the often furnace-like conditions at Melbourne Park in January."

They say it will get less hot, and thus will probably be less sticky and dangerous on the players' joints, especially ankles. I think that's the biggest issue they're probably trying to target with this surface change.
The stickiness is not just from the heat of the surface though. People have complained for years that the cushion effect combined with the fact that it doesn't give any to permit sliding causes ankle injuries. The article doesn't address that question.

SF
 

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I don't think Hingis' great results for the AO are necessarily due to the surface. I think it had/has mostly to do with her exemplary training and fitness during the offseason. I've said a million times that her offseason training is the best on either tour.
 

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I don't think Hingis' great results for the AO are necessarily due to the surface. I think it had/has mostly to do with her exemplary training and fitness during the offseason. I've said a million times that her offseason training is the best on either tour.
I think the fact that she has a rebound ace court at her house doesn't hurt either.

SF
 

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I don't think Hingis' great results for the AO are necessarily due to the surface. I think it had/has mostly to do with her exemplary training and fitness during the offseason. I've said a million times that her offseason training is the best on either tour.
That has not always been the case - Hingis pre-2000 (her peak years, coincidentally?) was actually known for not training all that hard.
 

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That has not always been the case - Hingis pre-2000 (her peak years, coincidentally?) was actually known for not training all that hard.
I'm not disagreeing with that, but whatever she did, she was in much, much better shape than the others. Even that year she lost to JenCap in that hot ass match, she still held match points, and JenCap was in stellar shape.
 

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I think this isn't business saavy.
I think this is unprofessional, disorganized, and irresponsible.

This is the second time in 20 years that TA has made a choice for a new surface EXTREMELY LATE.
In 1988 the only rebound ace tournament was the Australian Open.
All of the warmup tournaments that year were on grass.
It was ridiculous.

Not all of the tournaments as warm up are going to be able to change in enough time for the Australian Open.
So you're penalizing these warm up tournis who if they do change the courts late are damn and if they don't they're damned too.

The players are fucked because you need some type of warm up for the Australian Open.
If you play the tournaments that are going to be on rebound ace still, you're not getting the right preparation.
If you don't play those tournaments you also might not be getting enough preparation.

Why couldn't they have made this decision in Feburary.
The Australian Open is 6.5 months away.

I'm just disgusted for the tournaments that have to deal with this bullshit and the players as well.
 
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