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What is your favourite tennis court surface?

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What is your favourite tennis court surface?

Post by Anna0906 on Thu Jul 27, 2017 4:48 pm

Hey everyone. I want to start a topic about tennis surfaces. As we all know there are four main types of tennis court surfaces: clay, grass, hard and indoor hard court surfaces. That's of course very generally speaking. If we consider recreational players, then the surface list stretches out to carpet (artificial grass), and tarmac. I play in my local tennis park that consists of different sites located in different parts of my town and every single park has only tarmac tennis courts available. I also payed on acrylic hard courts, fake grass courts, and American clay. My game would be best suited to grass, but I have never had a pleasure to play on grass courts. I am not sure about peoples experiences with surfaces but I personally hate tarmac! It is full of cracks and bumps, always dirty, ball has funny bounce every second shot, and literally like an ice rink as soon as it starts to rain. What do you think? What is your favourite or most hated surface?

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Re: What is your favourite tennis court surface?

Post by Daniel on Thu Jul 27, 2017 4:53 pm

Grass.  But you'll be hard pressed to find such a surface in clubs.  You'll likely find artificial grass types - like the one at my club (I think it's astro turf?).  Grass courts /and artificial grass types allow for far more variety and fun.  It stops opponents just sitting on the baseline - and it makes serves more effective too, so you actually see a decent serve cause a problem. 

If your game is more about tactics and variety, you'll hear nothing but complaints from the boring baseline players about how they prefer hard courts. I don't have a surface I hate. Not an official one anyway.  Concrete and tarmac are not official surfaces and clubs shouldn't be able to use them - they turn the game into a joke. The bounces are ridiculous.

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Re: What is your favourite tennis court surface?

Post by Jahu on Thu Jul 27, 2017 7:43 pm

I loved local old indoor carpet court (green colour), felt nice on it, sadly they turned it into a clay one.

Now if in a mood to slide, I go to clay, if in a mood to show off a little, then a fast indoor hard court.

Played grass once, somehow I felt like I'm gonna slip any moment and break my neck.

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Re: What is your favourite tennis court surface?

Post by Tenez on Thu Jul 27, 2017 7:49 pm

Diffiicult qiestion.

I think carpet were the worst.

Clay and grass can be amazing in different ways, possiblly best for best single-in-the-zone display..and cement fast HC can provide the best matches.

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Re: What is your favourite tennis court surface?

Post by bogbrush on Thu Jul 27, 2017 8:10 pm

The best standard I ever played to was on a clay court in Italy. The bounce was true, it was easy to play on, my groundless were awesome on it and I still got joy from the 1st serve, and as I was 22 and as fit as a Novak Djokovic fresh out of an egg chamber, I could run anyone to death.

Those were the days......

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Re: What is your favourite tennis court surface?

Post by legendkillar on Fri Jul 28, 2017 9:02 am

Purely from a spectator point of view, grass. Live, vibrant and sleak surface. For me it does offer up the most diverse set of tennis and encourages the kind of play I like seeing. Probably not so much in the last decade, but has certainly given me the best memories of the game.

To play on, hardcourts. Played my best tennis on it. Find it easier to move on and find my timing is much easier to sync than others. I dislike Clay. It's like playing in a carpark!

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Re: What is your favourite tennis court surface?

Post by noleisthebest on Fri Jul 28, 2017 9:14 am

I play mainly on hard coirts, we have three different types in our club. Amazing what variation you can get in only one surface both in speed and bounce.

I played on artificial clay and grass only once and loved both.

The thing that stood out with clay and grass was the physical connection I made with the surface.

Clay was exhillarating, the sound of crunching under the feet went right through me; grass I was barefoot on, and it felt like I was playing on clouds, it was heavenly.

As for yor experiences on cracked concrete courts in parks, best is to join a club as the mainenance is good.

I also started playing in the park and had the same experience of soulless, bumpy, uneven bounce.
But at the time I was just so happy I finally had a chance to play that it didn't bother me much.

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Re: What is your favourite tennis court surface?

Post by Slippy on Fri Jul 28, 2017 11:01 am

Tarmac and artificial grass are both awful surfaces. Tarmac is so slow and high bouncing it just becomes a grind - plus it's very hard on the joints. Artificial grass is generally far too fast and the bounce is erratic - hence why it's not a surface used on the tour - meaning it's too serve dominated. 

Clay/artificial clay are both good surfaces. It's high bouncing but easier to hit through than tarmac and there's a far greater range of shots you can utilise. Grass is ok as an occasional change but wouldn't be something I'd want to play on all the time. 

The best surface by far is a non tarmac hard court (as generally used on the tour). The bounce is consistent and, assuming the speed is judged correctly, it rewards all different types of clay. The only downside (in the U.K.) is it becomes immediately unplayable if it rains.

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Re: What is your favourite tennis court surface?

Post by Anna0906 on Fri Jul 28, 2017 10:22 pm

Yes, I couldn't agree more with you Slippy,
I enjoy playing on indoor acrylic hard courts , outdoors non tarmac hard courts as well, if maintained properly. Rain will spoil playability of any surface though, astro turf is like a sponge and the ball will zip away from you even faster. 
Going back to tarmac though...
Tarmac tennis surface simply hinders a player's progress as it will not deliver on consistent ball bounce, joints take some serious beating, and it just won't give you that feet to surface connection as mentioned by one of the anonymous users earlier. I have talked to many people i play with about it and everyone feel similar about tarmac. I read that there are a few new surfaces out there, that are hard surface for tennis courts and are specifically designed to eliminate all the problems that players struggle with when on tarmac. Not sure what it's called, or where you can find it but i remember it was a mixture of tiny stone glued together with resin. I will share a link if I can find it...

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Re: What is your favourite tennis court surface?

Post by Jahu on Fri Jul 28, 2017 10:55 pm


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Re: What is your favourite tennis court surface?

Post by Anna0906 on Fri Jul 28, 2017 10:56 pm

Daniel wrote:Grass.  But you'll be hard pressed to find such a surface in clubs.  You'll likely find artificial grass types - like the one at my club (I think it's astro turf?).  Grass courts /and artificial grass types allow for far more variety and fun.  It stops opponents just sitting on the baseline - and it makes serves more effective too, so you actually see a decent serve cause a problem. 

If your game is more about tactics and variety, you'll hear nothing but complaints from the boring baseline players about how they prefer hard courts. I don't have a surface I hate. Not an official one anyway.  Concrete and tarmac are not official surfaces and clubs shouldn't be able to use them - they turn the game into a joke. The bounces are ridiculous.
Hi Daniel, Tarmac and concrete surfaces do indeed turn the game into a joke... I don't understand why use it for this sport. And, if we have tarmac dominated tennis parks and, increasingly, clubs in the UK, then they definitely will not produce any good players, let alone encourage more people to take tennis up. Of course, tarmac is very cheap to lay, but it needs replacing nearly every season for it to be considered a tennis court. I saw my local park refurbishing four out of eight tarmac courts  - by painting them with brighter colours! The surface is seriously uneven from cracks, it has dents and is totally fretted in places.

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Re: What is your favourite tennis court surface?

Post by DECIMA on Sat Jul 29, 2017 12:55 am

I don't like astro-turf; bounce is so low!
The worst is the combination of old balls which don't bounce high and astro turf; even normal slices in rallies turn into drop shots because the balls go dead and basically bounce twice in succession.
I've actually made a new rule when playing matches with my friends, ball has to brand new or maximum of 5 sets old.

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Re: What is your favourite tennis court surface?

Post by Daniel on Sat Jul 29, 2017 12:59 am

The bounce being low is exactly why I like it.  It allows for a game where you can tactically move your opponent about - and all the players who are lazy and one dimensional can't just park their arse on the baseline.  It's has a lot more variety.  I like them all though, except tarmac, concrete.  As Anna0906  states above, with tarmac you also get ridges, cracks, bumps due to heat and weathering.  It's nasty.  Plus the bounce is awful.  The other week I was playing away in a doubles match - against players who are higher standard. One of those players was a former county champion who had played most of his life in Portugal. I dunno where he'd be on the scale... but definitely 5.0 + (likely easily 6.0 +)  He was the best player I've ever played against.  Too good.  But on that tarmac, even balls that you'd normally have a chance with you had no chance.  It's bad enough with just rank amateurs, but decent opposition hit the ball and it just bounces over your head haha,.

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Re: What is your favourite tennis court surface?

Post by DECIMA on Sat Jul 29, 2017 1:41 am

Daniel wrote:The bounce being low is exactly why I like it.  It allows for a game where you can tactically move your opponent about - and all the players who are lazy and one dimensional can't just park their arse on the baseline.  It's has a lot more variety.
I don't mind indoor carpet where the bounce is low but tolerable, but somehow I hate astro-turf so much more.
On astroturf from my experience it's less to do with tactically moving your opponent around than about slicing it mid court, hoping the ball goes dead and bounces twice so quickly opponent has to lunge forward.

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Re: What is your favourite tennis court surface?

Post by Daniel on Sat Jul 29, 2017 2:49 am

Ah, our courts don't play like that.  Bounce might not always be consistent but it isn't bad.

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Re: What is your favourite tennis court surface?

Post by bogbrush on Sat Jul 29, 2017 2:47 pm

What a great idea to train attacking players.

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Re: What is your favourite tennis court surface?

Post by Jahu on Sat Jul 29, 2017 2:52 pm

Hahahah yeah, stay on the baseline or inside, no moving back 5 meters like Nadal.

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Re: What is your favourite tennis court surface?

Post by noleisthebest on Sat Jul 29, 2017 2:53 pm

bogbrush wrote:
What a great idea to train attacking players.
Good one!

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Re: What is your favourite tennis court surface?

Post by bogbrush on Sat Jul 29, 2017 9:13 pm

The more I think about this the more potential it has. A player would earn a big premium for first strike tennis and would conversely be forced to get there before the opponent. Angled volleys would be lethal. Fast reflexes on return would become honed.

Imagine taking young kids and having them play only in this for months on end. The result would be completely different.

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Re: What is your favourite tennis court surface?

Post by noleisthebest on Sat Jul 29, 2017 9:29 pm

The only problem there would be those nigh bouncing defensive moonballs.

I assume that's why players got themselves hitting the fence.

There would be idiots who woukd do just that - send you those moonballs you couldn't reach and get to.

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Re: What is your favourite tennis court surface?

Post by bogbrush on Sun Jul 30, 2017 3:09 am

You'd learn to take the ball early off the bounce and to take time away from them. They also wouldn't be able to step miles back to wind it all up.

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Re: What is your favourite tennis court surface?

Post by noleisthebest on Sun Jul 30, 2017 12:09 pm

It could be worth the experiment with juniors, but they'd then have to continue playing in same dimensions on pro tour as otherwise many would revert to defence in order to win, as surely not all would be of the same talent and ability even if they trained as atrackers in those smaller courts.

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Re: What is your favourite tennis court surface?

Post by Anna0906 on Tue Aug 01, 2017 7:30 am

Out of all surface available for semi professional,  club and amateur players in the UK, tarmac does seem to be the least favourite surface. 
If, say, youare a beginner, got inspired and want to take up tennis, the chances of you sticking with the sport are very slim, if your first practices or coaching happen on tarmac surface. 
You will likely be thinking after a few months, it is just too difficult to learn the right racket swing or you'll be doubting your eye to ball coordination skills not realising it was the tarmac, tarmacadam or good old asphalt surface sabotaging their effort. And, there's so many more elements of the game to think about when learning how to play, like your grip style, different shots, footwork, tactics and so on...
And, without good footwork, let's face it, you won't see much progress in your game. Again, how do you work on footwork if you constantly thinking..." i am going to trip any second over that bump right in the middle of court..", tarmac hell ha ha.
You wouldn't put a hockey player on a less slippy ice substitute, would you? It has to be ice full stop. Why put tennis palyers on a less grippy, unsafe tarmac surface if it is nowhere near to what a hard court tennis surface should be! 
I am starting to rant here lol.

Anyway, my conslusion is, tennis surface must be right to keep people coming back and wanting to paly tennis. In the UK, we won't see another champion of andy Murray's caliber for decades, simply because all these potential talents will give up or run out of money before they can get anywhere. aside from other factors, it's the restrictions to a decent surface availability Thank you not - tarmac

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Re: What is your favourite tennis court surface?

Post by noleisthebest on Tue Aug 01, 2017 8:47 am

You are a bit hard on tarmac.
There is nothing wrong with the surface. (if it's well maintained)

It provodes even bounce and with good balls is perfectly fine to play on at any level.

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Re: What is your favourite tennis court surface?

Post by legendkillar on Tue Aug 01, 2017 9:10 am

Anna0906 wrote:Out of all surface available for semi professional,  club and amateur players in the UK, tarmac does seem to be the least favourite surface. 
If, say, youare a beginner, got inspired and want to take up tennis, the chances of you sticking with the sport are very slim, if your first practices or coaching happen on tarmac surface. 
You will likely be thinking after a few months, it is just too difficult to learn the right racket swing or you'll be doubting your eye to ball coordination skills not realising it was the tarmac, tarmacadam or good old asphalt surface sabotaging their effort. And, there's so many more elements of the game to think about when learning how to play, like your grip style, different shots, footwork, tactics and so on...
And, without good footwork, let's face it, you won't see much progress in your game. Again, how do you work on footwork if you constantly thinking..." i am going to trip any second over that bump right in the middle of court..", tarmac hell ha ha.
You wouldn't put a hockey player on a less slippy ice substitute, would you? It has to be ice full stop. Why put tennis palyers on a less grippy, unsafe tarmac surface if it is nowhere near to what a hard court tennis surface should be! 
I am starting to rant here lol.

Anyway, my conslusion is, tennis surface must be right to keep people coming back and wanting to paly tennis. In the UK, we won't see another champion of andy Murray's caliber for decades, simply because all these potential talents will give up or run out of money before they can get anywhere. aside from other factors, it's the restrictions to a decent surface availability Thank you not - tarmac

Crikey. Given I work in local government currently, there is little interest in the upkeep of tarmac courts thanks to in part participation numbers and trying to make the sport affordable to the public. Tarmac requires far less maintenance than say grass or clay. Even at my local club (which does well financially compared with others) will not invest in a proper grass court. As much as I love a grass court, most countries (not just this one withstanding) just don't have the facilities for an all year grass court. It's a live surface and requires a ridiculous amount of maintenance. It can cost nearly £5K just to water the court for 3 months! As ... said above, don't think you are doing tarmac justice as that's a good surface for beginners to learn the game.

As for your reasoning on continued participation for aspiring juniors and the Andy Murray comment. Andy was fortunate enough to have a parent who knew the development system very well and didn't conform to the coaching methods as set out by the LTA. For example they don't allow juniors to hit with the proper green balls until they are 12 years old! It's lunacy. Lydian a poster on here takes an active coaching role with his son and he can tell you from experience how difficult it is for juniors to remain on course to become a pro. The coaching fees alone are absurd. Murray benefitted from his mum being a former pro which by all accounts saved money and time on coaches teaching the basics. Andy benefited from his late formative years taking place in Spain where he was practicing and hitting with tour level pros, something which they don't do in the UK. Konta done most of her development in Spain and Watson in the US. It's only really Robson, Golding and Evans who came through the LTA and look where they've ended up. Robson you could argue unfortunate with injuries, but benefitted from having one coach under the LTA umbrella than several that other juniors have and Evans probably the best product to come out of the LTA.

The UK simply cannot produce world class tennis players.

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Re: What is your favourite tennis court surface?

Post by Daniel on Tue Aug 01, 2017 11:43 am

I have to disagree on tarmac.  It's fun only when you are still messing about and not taking the game to the next level or want a serious match.  The second you do, you realize how much of a farce it makes tennis.  As stated before, when you play a decent team, they will smash the ball so hard every ball flies over your head.  I've seen teams like that.  It's pointless even playing. I played on tarmac for a year.  When I started playing on proper surfaces, I realized how much better I could strike the ball.  So I agree tarmac and gravel also leads to the perception that tennis is frustrating - when it isn't. It should be fun and playable.

LK is right that Britain is PATHETIC for home grown talent. Tennis is an elitist sport that doesn't even have the basics right.  I'd also note that Murray is not a working class hero - as many are led to believe,.  He came from Dunblane, from a well-off middle class family. As mentioned, his mother was a coach, which is a huge advantage - but their family also had connections and money to allow for Murray to get all the help he needed and also move abroad.  I can assure you the chances of a working class family having ANY chance in Britain is zero.  It's almost zero for everybody given our shit system.  

And it isn't just tennis... Even in "working class" games like football we aren't producing a winning national team. Again grassroots isn't there.  We just import players from around the world for leagues.

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Re: What is your favourite tennis court surface?

Post by legendkillar on Tue Aug 01, 2017 2:08 pm

Quite agree. It's across all sports. Grassroots football is being desecrated by Local Authorities looking to sell the land or even worse create more traveller sites! Local football leagues are being priced out of the game with ridiculous pitch fees and barmy cleaning policies. The one true constant is the academy system is still intact, but PC Britain has shat on school sports with the whole "it's the taking part that counts" which has diminished competitiveness and thus created losers. Simply our government doesn't want to fund anyone unless they are a guaranteed finished article. So unless you have family wealth or even better debt free borrowing, access to next level facilities or coaching is 0. There is a big culture of "who you know rather than what you know" that flows through our system.

For me, the golf model offers the best chance of anyone getting a fair crack at turning pro. Yes I get it, golf seems elitist, but they have some good things that gives some coming off the sh*t heap a chance.

- Green keeping apprenticeships. Foot in the door for access to decent golf courses and second hand equipment.
- Second hand equipment very affordable.
- Can pitch up on anything grass to hit balls.
- Actual golf tour level pro's that offer good bundles of lessons.
- Local tournaments and leagues that offer real incentive of reward.

What I like about golf is that it's almost entirely out of government reach and they have no input on the training methods or requirements.

For working class people, you can cheekily get on courses (lower quality ones as part of a chain) at the crack of dawn or later summer evenings and play a round without the threat of getting caught (noted that it would be considered trespassing, but I call it ingenuity) so that's a saving on green fees, find lost balls (also a nice saving but also earner when selling to the club house).

The other sports, not a chance.


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Re: What is your favourite tennis court surface?

Post by VitaminsMan on Tue Aug 01, 2017 3:36 pm

I have been playing tennis at club level for around five years. I took the sport up as a hobby, but I can see exactly why this country does not produce champions.  It's not just the fact we've been lumbered with below-par tarmac surfaces -the whole system is wrong.  Tennis is still an 'elite' sport in this country, and the 'normal', working class kids keep getting priced out of the sport because of extortionate coaching fees and club memberships.

If tarmac courts were being properly looked after at most of these tennis parks, then perhaps that would begin to solve the issue.  The thing is, clubs (and the council in some cases) do not want to spend their money on constantly maintaining outdoor tarmac courts, especially as most of the money they make comes from the memberships within the actual clubs themselves - like indoor facilities, grass and clay courts etc.  So, what we are left with are neglected tarmac courts which, let's be honest, are not particularly pleasant to play on.

Ideally, we need a more durable surface for these outdoor parks - something more resilient than tarmac, that would not need regular maintenance.  A friend of mine was talking about a club up north somewhere that had resin bound tennis courts.  He said they were very nice to play on, and they lasted much longer than your standard tarmac surface. It sounds intriguing enough, but I don't know of any resin bound tennis courts to try out locally (I live in the south of England).

Resin bound or not, the point I am making is that a good alternative to tarmac is definitely the way forward.

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Re: What is your favourite tennis court surface?

Post by legendkillar on Tue Aug 01, 2017 4:03 pm

Welcome VM

Here in Brighton the Council held a meeting to inform the public it was no longer going to include tennis courts on their planned maintenance programme. So our local leagues pulled together and agreed with the Council that we would provide voluntary upkeep services to the courts played on provided the Council would carry out any surface repair or maintenance. Not sure if other Councils are doing the same here, but basically this Council is skint and as the courts generate nothing in the way of revenue, they want rid.

Conversely I think it was Sheffield recently who re-laid a load of outdoor courts.

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Re: What is your favourite tennis court surface?

Post by VitaminsMan on Tue Aug 01, 2017 4:07 pm

Hi legendkiller

It could have indeed been Sheffield, as my friend lives up in York, which is pretty close by.   I'd love to try them out to see how they play.

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Re: What is your favourite tennis court surface?

Post by noleisthebest on Tue Aug 01, 2017 5:11 pm

H Vitamins Man and welcome,

I am surprised people expect good qualitty tennis coirts and access to sport facilities almost as a human right.. from that point of view, "life is not fair", plus, GB is all about money, (not to mention bad weather unlike the US).
Also too much beurocracy and "management" eating funds at all levels and areas of life (NHS, education ...)
Sport is no different.

So many other things need to get in order first, tennis surfaces & courts in parks are the last thing on Council workers' priority list...so I don't think tennis will ever be everyone's sport.

Even if it was free, people would still not play it - it's a difficult, technical game which requires a lot of practice, determination and dedication.

And who cares whether Britain (or other countries) has many players in top ten etc...when was the last time they did anything in any meaningful sport...like football.
It's only there for masses to get their dessert with bread.

People barely have time to breathe crushed by their mortgages etc...price of labour is going down, everything else up.

World population closing in on 8 billion...

Soon, we'd be lucky to have even those cracked tarmac courts...before they get turned into council flats.

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Check this out! New surface is here - What do you think?

Post by Anna0906 on Fri Aug 04, 2017 10:15 am

VitaminsMan wrote:I have been playing tennis at club level for around five years. I took the sport up as a hobby, but I can see exactly why this country does not produce champions.  It's not just the fact we've been lumbered with below-par tarmac surfaces -the whole system is wrong.  Tennis is still an 'elite' sport in this country, and the 'normal', working class kids keep getting priced out of the sport because of extortionate coaching fees and club memberships.

If tarmac courts were being properly looked after at most of these tennis parks, then perhaps that would begin to solve the issue.  The thing is, clubs (and the council in some cases) do not want to spend their money on constantly maintaining outdoor tarmac courts, especially as most of the money they make comes from the memberships within the actual clubs themselves - like indoor facilities, grass and clay courts etc.  So, what we are left with are neglected tarmac courts which, let's be honest, are not particularly pleasant to play on.

Ideally, we need a more durable surface for these outdoor parks - something more resilient than tarmac, that would not need regular maintenance.  A friend of mine was talking about a club up north somewhere that had resin bound tennis courts.  He said they were very nice to play on, and they lasted much longer than your standard tarmac surface. It sounds intriguing enough, but I don't know of any resin bound tennis courts to try out locally (I live in the south of England).

Resin bound or not, the point I am making is that a good alternative to tarmac is definitely the way forward.

It looks like there is an alternative to tarmac, there are companies that build tennis courts and they point out how this type of hard court surface can be working not only for players but for authorities who maintain them 
Here's the link anyway, i ma sure everyone who posted on here will find that interesting: https://www.homelogicdriveways.co.uk/tennis-courts-resin-surfacing/

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Re: What is your favourite tennis court surface?

Post by Jahu on Fri Aug 04, 2017 5:18 pm

Seen somewhere this too: http://www.resinboundtenniscourts.co.uk/

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Re: What is your favourite tennis court surface?

Post by summerblues on Sat Aug 05, 2017 1:21 am

I have only ever played on clay and on concrete.  I am better on concrete as I cannot move on clay but even so I have always thought of clay courts as more "real" tennis courts.

Whether it is because when I was a kid I would mostly see Wimbledon and Roland Garros on TV, or because clay courts were the first courts I ever played on as a kid, I do not know, but concrete always feels like a "fake" court to me.

I would love to play on grass at least once.

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