The surface of an indoor tennis court is important to the game as it can affect how the ball bounces, the way players hit the ball and can either play to a person’s strength or weakness, even at the professional level. A large selection of surface materials is available when deciding where to play at a recreational level but players from amateur up to professional must play on a variety of surfaces. The four most common surfaces a recreational player will encounter in covered tennis courts include grass courts, clay courts, hard courts and indoor carpet courts. All of these styles have pros and cons for game play.
Pros: This type of court is easier on the knee joints and favors a strong server. Powerful players who hit the ball with great speed play well on this type of court.
Cons: In rainy climates, the surface can be difficult due to slipping on the grass. However, players in covered tennis courts find this to be less of a problem but balls are still difficult to return due to skidding and poor bounce which changes the trajectory.
Pros: Balls on clay courts bounce higher and more slowly which can favor defensive and baseline players. The impression left from a ball can help judges make more accurate calls.
Cons: Surface is more slow than other surfaces, even on indoor tennis courts which make it more difficult for offensive players to hit a great shot without return.
Pros: Quick moving balls but slower than other surfaces including grass. This surface type is considered the most ‘neutral’ court surface and is more amenable to players of all ability levels.
Cons: Paint on this court surface can affect the spin and bounce of the ball. Ball speed varies depending on what material is used.
Indoor Carpet Courts
“Carpet” courts are most any form of removable surface material used on a court. Thick rubber-backed synthetic covering which can be rolled up was used in indoor tennis courts. Use of this material was discontinued in 2009.
Covered tennis court surfaces may be used with hard court being the most common, made with the most versatile materials and surface finishes. Clay courts are installed indoors with underground watering systems and typically are used for Davis Cup matches. Hardwood was also used at one time but not any longer. The variety of materials which can be played on allow for a more diverse style for players who must adapt to playing on different surfaces but will find it no less enjoyable regardless of the playing surface.