Grass Court vs. Clay Court vs. Hard Court

  • By reComparison Contributor
  • comments 1
  • views13801

Difference between Grass Court, Clay Court and Hard Court

In order to play tennis, the court has to be North/South oriented to avoid background glare of the sun. Depending on the materials used, tennis courts can be grass courts, clay court, hard court or carpet courts. Hard courts are used during the Australian Open and U.S. Open. Although Grass courts were used in the past from 1975 to 1977, the U.S. Open used clay courts. Grass courts are used in Wimbledon and the clay court is common with the French Tournament, although before 1928 the Open was played on grass court.

Grass Court
Clay Court


In Europe, the courts are usually made of clay and favor the beginners. Clay courts are made of crushed stone, brick or shale, and it is recognized, that the red clay is slower than the green. Grass courts feature grass grown on a very hard-packed soil and the hard courts are typically made of asphalt. So the three types of courts offer diverse rebound.


The clay court slows down the ball, producing a high bounce versus the grass court. In the case grass courts, bounce depends on the grass's health, and the frequency of it being mown. The hard court is speedy but not as fast as the grass courts because grass courts have the feature of being slippery, so they favor tennis players with the serve-and-volley technique. Clay courts have added grab and slow down the ball because there is more friction there than the other two courts.

Building Costs

The costs of the courts vary. Clay courts are the most inexpensive to assemble, but the grass court is the most general play surface. There are two types of hard courts, synthetic hard court and true hard court, so cost varies depending on the surface level of solidity. The momentum of the court depends on the quantity of sand used. Low sand quantity means high speed, sand particles give more friction and slow down the ball. The preservation costs vary as well. Clay court costs are higher if compared to hard courts, but are less expensive to maintain than the grass courts. That's why now in North America and worldwide grass courts have become unusual.

Maintenance Costs

There are techniques the owners of the courts apply to preserve the grip to the desired level. Clay courts water balance needs to be watched constantly, grass court must be mowed frequently and when are talking about the hard courts, the amount of sand used or formation counts.

Similarities and Differences

  • Looking at the three common courts types in tennis, it seems hard courts gain market because of low cost of preservation and its extraordinary rebound.
  • Because of its high maintenance costs grass courts are now uncommon even though it was the most used court for years.
  • Europe takes the first place for using clay courts. In general, players like it the most because of its performance with hard serves.
Which court is better?
  • Grass Court
  • Clay Court
  • Hard Court

Discuss It: comments 1

  • Guest
  • home insurance san diego wrote on February 2011

Thanks for the helpful article. I haven't really tried clay or grass courts, but they seem fun!

Post a Comment
  • Name*
  • Email*
  • Website (optional)
  • arrow You are commenting as a Guest
  • arrow Your email will not be public
  • arrow Login or Sign Up and post using your reComparison account
  • arrow Facebook Connect