The Volley Podcast #15: Why no hard court is the same on the Tour

In the latest edition of The Volley, Simon Cambers discusses all there is to know about hard courts, from speed to durability and history.

September 30, 2021

From the US Open to Australian Open, Indian Wells to Shanghai, every hard court the players visit around the circuit has its own nuances and in particular, a variation in speed and bounce.

In the latest episode of our podcast, The Volley, host Max Whittle and guest Simon Cambers pore over everything there is to know about hard courts, from the history and evolution, down to the thickness of the top surface and why that affects the speed and durability.

Cambers discusses why the US Open changed surface in 2020, why Australia has changed manufacturers three times and why TV plays an important role in what surface a tournament chooses to lay.

Key moments of the podcast:

  •  2.30: How players are not always the best judge of court speed
  •  4.00: How the Australian Open surface compares to that at the US Open?
  •  5.50: What did the players say about the courts at the US Open?
  •  6.45: Does the colour of a court affect its speed?
  •  8.00: Why do hard courts usually speed up when they’re played on more?
  •  9.00: Why is Indian Wells interesting in 2021, in terms of court speed
  •  10.00: There were a lot of tiebreaks at the US Open. Is that an indication organisers are “doing their job”
  •  11.50: “I think they’ve done a good job; the US Open courts were fair”
  •  13.30: How court speeds at slams usually become the same in the second week
  •  16.00: “The US Open has decided faster is better”
  •  16.30: How the US Open surface has changed since the tournament moved from grass in 1978
  •  17.30: How the Australian Open has changed its hard courts twice
  •  19.00: Is the evolution of hard courts keeping up with the physicality of modern tennis?
  •  19.45: Might climate change affect hard courts in the future?
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