Grass tennis compared to hard court

Sports Asked on July 3, 2021

What are the differences between playing tennis on grass compared to hard courts?
What adjustments do professional tennis players have to make for grass vs hard court season?

One Answer

The three fundamental differences between grass courts and hard courts are:

  1. Reduced friction between the shoes and the grass.
  2. Reduced friction between the ball and the grass.
  3. Softer impact of the ball on the grass.

Reduced friction between the shoe sole and the surface makes it far harder to change directions quickly.

Reduced friction between the ball and the grass manifests in that the ball "skids", or "slips" along the grass blades upon impact. This makes the surface faster, the bounces lower and less predictable, and also reduces the effect of spin (whose effect increases as friction increases).

Softer impact on the surface also makes the ball bounce lower, since the impact is more elastic.

The main technical adjustments are usually:

  1. Flattening out ground strokes.
  2. Getting used to taking balls early.
  3. Emphasizing slice and flat serve.

The main tactical adjustments are usually:

  1. Incorporating more approaches into the net.
  2. Playing closer to the baseline.

The main physical adjustments are usually:

  1. Reduce upper body strength work (especially compared to clay).
  2. Focus on low center-of-gravity exercises.

Correct answer by Arrow on July 3, 2021

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