With Wimbledon well underway, the grass courts of the All England Club are some of the hardest courts to master in tennis – especially due to the transition from the slow Parisian clay of the French Open. Today, we’ll explore how to best play on the grass.
Where can you find natural grass courts in Victoria?
Modified or synthetic grass courts (like the ones we have at Altona TC) are plentiful, however natural grass courts are a rarity in Melbourne. Prestigious clubs such as Kooyong and Royal South Yarra have them, however there are plenty of grass courts in country locations such as Swan Hill, Mildura, Shepparton or Wodonga.
How is grass different to other tennis surfaces?
Grass is the quickest of the three surfaces, with a low and often inconsistent bounce. Players will find themselves adjusting to balls that may bounce in different directions or taking balls below their knees. A bit of morning dew or light rain will often make the courts even faster.
What does this mean for a player looking to be successful on grass?
Rallies tend to last a lot shorter than they do on clay or hard courts. Therefore, more aggressive players tend to find success. Players who hit with a flatter trajectory are better placed, as well as players with a big serve behind them. Coming forward to the net is also a highly effective play to put opponents on the defence, as well as utilising the slice to keep the opponent off balance.
What traits do the world’s best grass court players have?
Eight-time Wimbledon champion Roger Federer has an all-court game that translates perfectly to grass. His variety keeps players guessing, with his trademark slice often utilised. He also has a classy net game and can come forward and finish points off effectively. On the women’s side, two time Wimbledon champion Petra Kvitova has an ultra-offensive baseline game. On her day, her big hitting from both sides can be lethal on the grass.
Who are the other major contenders for this year’s French Open title?
Fresh off her French Open win, Australia’s Ash Barty has a game that translates well on grass. Her variety is un-paralleled in the women’s game, and her steady mental demeanour will give her a good chance at winning a second Grand Slam. Novak Djokovic is widely considered the favourite on the men’s side. His counter-punching game, whilst not completely suited for grass, allows him to deflect any big blows coming his way and return them with interest.