Watching the French Open reminds me of why I love clay court tennis so much. But just what is it that makes this surface so special?
1. Clay is a natural, soft surface you can slide on which helps protect your body from injuries
2. All types of spin are more effective on clay, especially topspin and slice for drop shots
3. With a slow high bounce it is much more difficult to win a point than on any other surface
4. As a result, tennis is more physically demanding on clay due to the longer rallies and having to control your balance while sliding around
5. 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. Robredo or Schiavone
MY FAVOURITE CLAY COURT PLAYERS OF ALL TIME
1. Nadal & Borg – the 2 best players of their generation with unbelievable records on clay
2. Gustavo Kuerten – a great clay court player, a wonderful person and the best down the line single hander in history
3. Ilie Nastase – the man was more of an artist than a tennis player with incredible touch (even if a bit mad)
1. Steffi Graf – a tennis legend but her last French Open win in 1999 was achieved with the best backhand slice I have ever seen plus huge mental abilities
2. Francesca Schiavone – Clay court tennis has been the richer for her wonderful variety of play and her great personality
3. Arantxa Sanchez Vicario – not that exciting to watch but the ultimate competitor on clay
SO WOULD YOU LIKE TO LEARN TO PLAY ON CLAY?
We still have some spaces on our Special Hosted Week in Lucca from 17th to 24th August
The Lucca tennis venue has some of the best tennis courts in Tuscany
The only down side I hear from our clients who play on the clay is
“I hate getting my socks and shoes dirty” – but the good news is the red stuff comes off in the wash!
FRENCH OPEN PREDICTIONS
Men – Djokovic to beat Tsonga in the final
Ladies – Serena just too good for anyone!