Tennis is a very popular game worldwide which has been there for centuries and was a preferred sport of the royal families and other people alike. It revolutionized over the years to reach the point where it stands today. Modern tennis is played on different types of surfaces, where the most popular ones are grass court, clay court, hard court, and artificial grass court. There are four different types of grand slams tournaments as well.
These grand slams tournaments are the Australian Open, French Open, Wimbledon, and US Open. All these tournaments (grand slams) are given in their order of occurrence every year. All these tournaments also have their unique characteristics, especially in terms of the surface of the court where they are played. Here, tur topic of interest is the red clay court and which grand slam is played on it. You will get your answer in detail in the next section.
The grand slam tennis tournament that is played on the red clay court is the French Open. It is also known as the Roland Garros. The second name is given to the tournament as the stadium where this game is played is known as Roland Garros. The tournament is played every year from late May to early June. This makes it the second grand slam tournament of the year or the tennis’ season. The grand slam is played in Paris, France.
The stadium has a red clay surface and the tennis enthusiasts know very well that the surface depicts the skills of the player. The professionals tend to change their game plan and strategy as per the nature of the court where the game is played. On the other end, the professional players playing on such a surface need to model their game and train themselves accordingly.
What are the characteristics of Red Clay Tennis Court?
The red clay court is known for having a surface where the ball comes slow. As a result of it, the rally or the points last much longer. That develops more interest of the spectators who get to enjoy long rallies and can see the professionals at the best of their game, skillset, and stamina. This red clay court is in sharp contrast to the grass-court where the Wimbledon tournament in London, England is played. The ball on that natural grass court comes much faster and the points or rallies are much shorter unless two of the great players are playing against each other.
If we look elsewhere, then there are plenty of other clay courts available as well in different parts of the world. The ones in Australia have immense varieties especially with their En Tout Cas clay court in Victora and Ant Ben in Queensland. In the USA, green clay courts are preferred which are known as Har-Tru. The conventional red clay courts are either found in Europe or Latin America.
One key thing to mention here is that the clay courts are not made from clay. It is because the clay material is known for holding too much moisture. Therefore, the surface could become unplayable if it receives heavy consistent rain for good sometime. This is the same case with the red clay court found in the French Open or the one at the Roland Garros. The red clay surface there is made from a solid and permanent base, which usually is limestone. It is then coated with a fine layer of crushed brick on the top which allows one to slide easily over the surface.
Challenges associated with the Red Clay Court of French Open
The red clay courts as mentioned earlier are quite slower with bounce. However, they could get a good pace and high bounce in nice sunny conditions with dry weather. In overcast conditions, which Paris is normally known for, the clay-court gets slower with lower bounce. A lot of professionals of the game call it a court with the variable bounce as compared to the hard court or the one with natural grass.
That could be the best way to describe such a tennis court. With regular play and with the effects of the weather, it is almost impossible for such courts to maintain any sort of consistency with the bounce anywhere on the play area. Even, if the ground is daily maintained with desirable upkeep, the very best clay courts as the one in Roland Garros would produce an odd bad bounce.
For novice players, it is worth knowing that the markings on the court are done using the plastic stuff. Therefore, when the ball hits right on top of that then it shoots very quickly. So, be ready for that always.
Movement on the Clay Court
The clay courts are very hard to maintain. During playtime, players tend to slide a lot on this surface and that tends to gather the clay towards the end of the slide. This makes the surface further rough and unpredictable during the game. The clay-court comes with a very fine covering on the top and that makes it hard for the players to move freely over it. Therefore, a player more skilled or more trained on a hard court or grass court would find it difficult to adjust on the clay court.
The need for the player is to go with a playing strategy that is suitable for such court type. Sliding on the clay court is a very easy part. The difficult part is to time your slide well while maintaining the right balance to make a free swing with the racket. Finishing is also important with the slight where you need to come in a strong missing with quick recovery to get on with the game.
In tennis and especially on a clay court, sliding is an art and one key thing that could define the fate or the performance of a player in the match. Sliding on clay court requires practice and it would only come when the players spend a good bit of time on it.
The Spin Effect on the Red Clay Court of French Open
The tennis enthusiasts must be very much familiar with what topspin is. In red clay court or any other color of the clay court, the topspin tends to react differently on such a clay court as compared with the hard courts. The gritty top of the clay-court means that a spinning ball would hit with more bite into the surface.
It would eventually enhance the effect or impact of the spin that is applied to the ball. If the player has applied topspin on the ball then it will get a sharper and higher bounce over the clay court as compared with the hard court when a similar shot is applied. Due to the slow nature of the clay court and lower bounce with extra spin possibility, the players on such surfaces tend to further go back in the court for their return shot.
This gives them a lot more time to get themselves ready for picking up the ball and also to offer their return shot. On the other side, getting back in the court allows them to pick ball lower than the height of their shoulder. This allows them to generate a lot more power in their shots.
The King of the Red Clay Court of French Open
There are many legendary players over the past many decades who have stunned the world with their consistent and magnificent performances in French Open. Currently, the most successful player in French Open is Rafael Nadal. He has won 13 x French Open Titles and this record will be hard to break anytime soon. He is also the winner of the most recent French Open title of 2020. His first French Open title was in 2005 and he sure came a long way. It is important to mention here that Nadal won this grand slam for five consecutive years between 2010 and 2014. This is also the longest winning streak in the history of the grand slam.
The red clay grand slam tennis tournament is known for the French Open. It is one of the most prestigious grand slams of the year where top-ranked players from all over the world come to Paris at Roland Garros intending to win the title. It has all categories including singles, doubles, and mixed doubles for both men and women.
The red clay surface is very hard to master and it requires rigorous training and stamina so it is not an easy-going thing. Just imagine the fact that the legendary Roger Federer with 20 grand slam titles has only won French Open once. It was in 2009. Conclusively, it is a grand slam that has the eyes of the entire world, and the red court surface and its challenges make it so much special both for the players and the spectators of the game.