Watching the clay court events so far reminds me of why I love clay court tennis so much. But just what is it that makes this surface so special and what can we learn from playing on it?
- Clay is a natural, soft surface you can slide on which helps protect your body from injuries
- All types of spin are more effective on clay, especially topspin and slice for drop shots
- With a slow high bounce it is much more difficult to win a point than on any other surface
- As a result, tennis is more physically demanding on clay due to the longer rallies and having to control your balance while sliding around
- Players who may not possess big serves or massive forehands, but are good defensively and have a variety of shots and spins can still be extremely effective e.g. Diego Schwartzman
- For any level of player it provides an opportunity to develop your technique with more time to set up, your strategy due to the chess-like nature of the surface, your physical side as the rallies are longer and of course the mental aspect as you must be extremely resilient.
MY CURRENT FAVOURITE CLAY COURT PLAYERS
MEN Nadal & Murray – Nadal is just the King although Alcaraz is the young pretender and may soon dethrone him! Andy Murray on any court surface is always great to watch but on a clay court his variety of spins, drops, topspin lobs and ability to hoist the ball to the sky and land on the baseline when defending defies belief at this stage in his career.
LADIES It was Barty, but now that she has retired I'm really enjoying watching Raducanu on clay as she is such a great athlete who can slide, drop shot, change the rhythm and compete like crazy. When she becomes stronger I think that clay might be her best surface.
SO WOULD YOU LIKE TO LEARN TO PLAY ON CLAY?
We still have some spaces on our Special Hosted Week in Florence from the 27th August until 3rd September.
Our Florence tennis venue is considered to be one of the best clubs in Italy with a beautiful setting and world class facilities -
- A minimum of 20 hours of tennis including coaching, doubles clinic, video analysis, social tennis, a fun tournament with prizes PLUS free court time
- SUNDAY - Video analysis and two hours play (10am - 12 noon) & social tennis (3 - 5pm)
- An individual tennis goal sheet to work on during the week - discussed with you during the video analysis
- MONDAY - Two hours group coaching (10am - 12 noon) & doubles clinic (3 - 5pm) tactically based for all standards & group dinner in the evening (cost of dinner not included)
- TUESDAY - Two hours group coaching (10am - 12 noon) & social tennis with Ian Campbell providing tips (3 - 5pm)
- WEDNESDAY – 2 hours group coaching (10am - 12 noon) plus a guided walking tour of Florence in the afternoon. Group dinner in the evening in one of our favourite Florence restaurants (cost of dinner not included)
- THURSDAY - Two hours group coaching (10am - 12 noon) Afternoon free or more tennis opportunities
- FRIDAY – Social tournament with Italians (10am – 1pm). Afternoon free for last minute shopping, cultural visits or more tennis! Awards dinner in the evening (cost of dinner not included)
- Extra free court time during the week
- Quality Italian lunch daily Sunday to Friday
- Use of the tennis club facilities which include 16 tennis courts (9 red clay courts, 2 Red Plus artificial clay courts, 3 hard courts, & 2 artificial grass courts), swimming pool (open from 1st of June until middle of September), plus a snack bar, bar/restaurant, fully equipped gym, Turkish bath, & sauna
- Complimentary Tuscan Tennis t-shirt
- Our insider guide to the best restaurants and bars in the area
ITALIAN OPEN PREDICTIONS
Men – Alcaraz is the man of the moment but Nadal is always the favourite.
Ladies – Difficult to predict as so many different winners in the women's game at the moment but Swiatek has to be the favourite with Sakkari & Halep close behind.
CAN MURRAY BEAT DJOKOVIC?
After watching Andy beat Shapovalov last night in Madrid I would say yes, especially that he will have a day's rest. It will be very interesting to see how they match up after such a long time playing each other and all that they have both been through in recent times.
It would seem that Novak is getting back on track, but Andy is now serving even better than he used to and is also able to defend well and get to drop shots. It's interesting to hear him talk about the hard work he's put in recently and in particular how pleased he is with his ability to get the drop shot back. If you didn't see the match last night please have a look at the highlights and one of the most incredible drop shot gets I have ever seen by Andy! The contrast between their match last year at Wimbledon and this one was startling.
I am so looking forward to seeing him play in Rome next week where Laura and I will be hosting 2 groups during the Italian open. The men's game at the moment has so many exciting players who will all be in Rome and I can't wait to see them all competing and hopefully get to see some of their practice sessions which can often be more interesting than a match. The prospect of seeing Alcaraz for the first time live will be amazing and if Raducanu continues to improve her clay court form (and avoids injury) it could be very interesting.
We will post some photos and keep you up to date with what's happening in the tournament plus of course where to eat!