Court Surface at Roland Garros

05-19-2005, 04:18 PM
The following is from ESPN the Magazine:

Believe it or not, an American is to blame for the slow, slippery red clay courts of the French Open. Back in the 1920s, Bill Tilden dominated tennis, which was played mostly on faster courts, with a mix of power and speed. When the French built Roland Garros in 1928, they designed the surface to take pace off his strokes and tire him out by extending rallies.

Construction of the French Open courts has changed little in 77 years -- and the surface still neutralizes the power of the game's big guns. First, as much as 23 inches of stone is packed into a court-sized hole, then covered with about 3 inches of volcanic rock cinder. After 60 tons of crushed limestone is spread over the cinder, the surface is playable, though grayish-white and annoyingly bright.

The solution: 2 tons of red brick dust is rolled and compressed into a thin playing surface. During tournaments, courts are watered 4 times a day and lines are swept with a birch broom after each set. And yes, the objective in building the red surface was attained: France beat the U.S. in the Davis Cup in 1928, then defended the title the next 4 years. As for Tilden, he never won the French Open, slipping in the final in 1927 and 1930.

05-19-2005, 04:20 PM
I :inlove: the RG clay :bounce:

05-19-2005, 04:20 PM
Thanks for that! :)

I hadn't realized that they built those courts to work against Tilden. :cool:

05-19-2005, 04:24 PM
hmmmm I dunno if anyone knows, but is it typical of American players to be hard-hitting guys who are better on faster surfaces? (like it's typical of Spanish players to be better on clay) or is that just modern tennis in general.. I don't know much about earlier players :rolleyes:

Action Jackson
05-19-2005, 04:28 PM
Joske, that is fairly accurate, but at the same time there was a time when 3 of the 4 Slams were played on grass so that influenced obviously the type of game that was played, then where they came from as well was a factor.

05-26-2005, 07:23 PM
What about wood courts. I guess they would be pretty fast. (Is it true that some fast courts on europe are built on something like that ? )

05-26-2005, 09:25 PM
I think that the courts at RG are amazing and that they look really good in that red. The most annoying court colour is when the Delta Tour of Champions play at the Royal Albert Hall the courts are really bright red and it is hard to see the ball and also it is layed on wooden boards and your can here them creaking and moving.

05-26-2005, 10:14 PM
Question: Which court does topspin bounce highest? Rebound ace, then clay, then hardcourt, then grass, then indoor?

06-02-2005, 04:28 AM
and the Yanks have been struggling to master this surface ever since...;)

i'm loving the history snippets Devotee :D

06-02-2005, 05:18 AM
Welcome to Mount Garros.

06-02-2005, 11:32 PM