Clay court

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A clay court is one of the four different types of tennis court. Clay courts are made of crushed shale, stone or brick. The red clay is slower than the green, or Har-Tru "American" clay. The French Open uses clay courts, making it unique among the Grand Slam tournaments.

Clay courts are more common in Continental Europe and Latin America than in the United States, Canada or Britain. In the United States, courts made of green clay, also known as "rubico", are often called "clay", but are not made of the same clay used in most European and Latin American countries. Although cheaper to construct than other types of tennis courts, the maintenance costs of clay are high as the surface must be rolled to preserve flatness. The water content must also be balanced; green courts are often sloped in order to allow water run-off.


Clay courts favor the "full western grip" for more topspin. Clay courters generally play in a semi circle about 1.5 to 3 metres behind the baseline.

Clay courts are considered "slow", because the balls bounce relatively high and more slowly, making it more difficult for a player to hit an unreturnable shot. Points are usually longer as there are fewer winners. Therefore, clay courts heavily favor baseliners who are consistent and are generally more defensive, which has allowed players such as Rafael Nadal, Björn Borg and Justine Henin to find success...
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