After 16 years it's time for Tennis Australia to replace Rebound Ace with... [Archive] - MensTennisForums.com

After 16 years it's time for Tennis Australia to replace Rebound Ace with...

the cat
01-20-2004, 04:21 AM
any surface! :eek: Anything but Rebound Ace would be fine with me. I've ssen every Australian Open on ESPN since 1988 the year Rebound Ace made it's debut at the then brand new Flinders Park. It's been 16 years of foot and ankle injuries that were a direct result of the sticky and dangerous Rebound Ace surface. :mad: Foot and ankle injuries just don't happen at the other 3 grand slams at the rate they due in Australia. And I'm tired of numerous Rebound Ace injuries ever year. It's depressing. And it's bad for tennis. I don't understand why the ITF, ATP Tour and WTA Tour put up with it. :confused: I would prefer that Tennis Australia switch to a North American hardcourt surface. Or even a grass court. But one thing for sure. Rebound Ace has run it's couse. But does Tennis Australia and the powers that be in tennis realize that?

MisterQ
01-20-2004, 04:35 AM
You're right, the cat, there are an awful lot of ankle injuries on this surface.

But I find it interesting that one of the arguments for using rebound ace is that it reduces injuries because you don't slip, especially when it is wet. And the "rebound" part of it is supposed to be easier on the joints than a harder surface.

But it does seem like the surface hurts more than it helps, considering all the injuries we see every year.

Deboogle!.
01-20-2004, 04:35 AM
the players need to make a stink. they need to say "we are getting hurt, this has to end"....

the cat
01-20-2004, 05:04 AM
MisterQ, what was supposed to happen with Rebound Ace in terms of preventing injuries has completely backfired. I'll never forget the 1990 Australian open where Gabriela Sabatina and Stefan Edberg suffered Rebound Ace caused injuries and couldn't perform at their best. In fact Edberg got hurt at the end of his semifinal win over Mats Wilander and had to withdraw well into the men's final when he was playing well. :mad: Being an Edberg fan that bothered me for so long. :(

You're right, bunk. But for some reason the players aren't saying much. Maybe they are making too much money to really care. All I know is when I watch a match from Oz I often wonder when a player's foot is going to stick on the court and cause an injury. It nearly happened to Venus Williams tonight. And that would have been a disaster for the Australian Open and Tennis Australia. :eek:

Deboogle!.
01-20-2004, 05:21 AM
Well... if players get injured they can't play, and for 99.5% of the players (aka except for the ones with big sponsor contracts) they don't make ANY money if they can't play. So they should care, they should care bigtime. I forget which of the commentators it was but either Pam Shriver or Mary-Jo was furious after Venus almost rolled over her ankle. I mean it's just ridiculous - Kim, Justine (though she seems ok now), Carlos, Hewitt (also ok now)... and the list just keeps going on. It's nuts and it's enough top players that they should be making a stink!

I mean it just seems stupid to keep playing on the surface... it's not like there are no other surfaces to use, or it's not like they couldn't develop something that isn't as sticky but that still "rebounds" and is easier on the joints.

Fedex
01-20-2004, 05:25 AM
I doubt Andre would like them changing the surface. If they did it would be a different kind of hardcourt. Not Grass. Only Wimbledon will be played on Grass. Although we need more tourneys playedon grass.

Dirk
01-20-2004, 05:27 AM
Why can't it be carpet (or does that have to be indoors)? There isn't a slam on carpet so why not change it to that?

Shy
01-20-2004, 05:30 AM
Maybe they can put carpet outdoor too.It is just hard to dry a carpet.Wet carpet isn't dangerous.So why not.

Fee
01-20-2004, 08:19 AM
Rebound Ace is made of people...it's made of people!!!!!



Sorry, I just had to do that, and I bet a lot of the people here just won't get that reference.

azza
01-20-2004, 08:51 AM
Please shutup :)

J. Corwin
01-20-2004, 10:52 AM
The surface is just too dangerous for players. They all should at least be smart enough to wear ankle braces or have their ankles taped though.

the cat
01-20-2004, 12:57 PM
bunk, it was Pam Shriver who sounded off on Rebound Ace after Venus tweaked her ankle. And we could hear the anger and passion in Pam's voice about the dangers of Rebound Ace.

I agree with Shy and Dirk about an outdoor carpet. But I don't know if it's possible to have an outdoor carpet. But it should be looked into.

LOL @ Fee! :p

1j2001, players should have their ankles taped and braced. Especially since they know the dangerous of the very sticky Rebound Ace courts. Venus Williams ankles were not taped and it nearly cost her a major injury. :eek:

star
01-20-2004, 01:01 PM
Carpet should be banned as a surface!! ;)

Yeah.... Every player should take precautions. Lleyton had on braces in Perth and he said it saved him an injury.

As I understand it, Rebound Ace is only tacky and sticky when it is very hot.... and of course it is very hot in January in Melbourne.

TennisLurker
01-20-2004, 02:34 PM
I think Australia should have the same surface as The Lipton or Indian Wells.

TennisLurker
01-20-2004, 02:37 PM
What is the problem with carpet??

star
01-20-2004, 02:43 PM
:)

I don't like it.

In fact, I'm against all indoor tennis. :)

monicain
01-20-2004, 04:19 PM
Carpet--carpet--carpet!

Sjengster
01-20-2004, 04:36 PM
Rebound Ace is made of people...it's made of people!!!!!



Sorry, I just had to do that, and I bet a lot of the people here just won't get that reference.

Soylent Green, the 1973 film (or the novel, I suppose) ;)

Star, what are you talking about? Indoor tennis can often be the best around, there are no elements to disturb the players like the sun or the wind and they can hit out much more freely and confidently. Of course, indoor venues also keep the crowd atmosphere contained, so if it's vocal, it's very vocal - and if it's dead, it's very dead.

Azza, considering how injury-prone your beloved Philippoussis is maybe you should start hoping for a surface change instead of trying to stop discussion about it full stop.

Ma. Estefania
01-20-2004, 05:10 PM
Why to change it? I like it.

Sjengster
01-20-2004, 05:16 PM
Yes, but judging from the injuries, the players don't. Except Andre. Come to think of it, that may be the reason why it stays the same until his career is over...

tangerine_dream
01-20-2004, 05:28 PM
A slam on carpet would be an interesting change. :cool:

Ma. Estefania
01-20-2004, 05:31 PM
I wouldn't like it really, and worse at Australia, I think that those green courts are the ones who characterize the tournament, come on, they already changed the unforgettable blue things of Ford, for the ugly Heineken's ones, and now the courts too?....

Deboogle!.
01-20-2004, 11:38 PM
Just found this article..... it's relevant
-----
SURFACE TENSION

The playing surface at the Australian Open is centre court in controversy following a series of injuries to top-ranked players. And a physicist and social tennis player in demand as a consultant at the sport's top level has joined the critics, as Bob Beale reports.



Rod Cross has quite a different take on the sport of tennis: he plays socially and has a passion for the game but, as a physicist, he sees it as a living, breathing example of his science in action: all that energy, gravity, torque and percussion.

The University of Sydney academic is in demand as a respected consultant oneverything from the best materials to use for strings (his tests showed that traditional gut strings are far superior to synthetics) to racquet behaviour and ball design.

Cross has also studied the varying properties of different court surfaces, for example, and showed why the fine particle layer on clay courts encourages slower serves but more spin, giving the ball a higher kicking bounce that's hard to return.

His research began as a sideline – plasma physics is his mainstream interest – when he became curious about why the modern game had become so fast and, well, duller. For him, big hitters slugging away at each other at distance didn't have the spectator appeal of the more dynamic serve-and-volley contests. With the Hopman Cup just finished and the Australian Open under way in Melbourne, The Bulletin found him questioning both the Rebound Ace surface used in those competitions and the big-headed racquets all professional players use today.

As a playing surface, Rebound Ace is a far cry from the hard, black asphalt used for the first purpose-built tennis court constructed in Australia in 1879 for the Melbourne Cricket Club.

But when both Kim Clijsters and Lleyton Hewitt turned their ankles on the same day at the Hopman Cup, followed by Alicia Molik the next day, and Carlos Moya's ankle buckled under him in the Sydney International final at the weekend, Cross' conviction grew that the physics of the court surfaces played a key role in their injuries.

The problem with Rebound Ace, he believes, is that it has a fraction too much friction.

The playing surface essentially consists of a hard base pad – often concrete or asphalt – covered with a matrix of rubber particles and topped with an acrylic coating mixed with sand.

The rubber – sourced from used car tyres and old sports shoes – feels relatively soft and bouncy underfoot and its promoters argue that it lessens the stresses and strains on players' bodies and so reduces injuries. The DecoTurf surface used for the US Open court also has sub-layers of rubber particles, although they are thinner than those used for Rebound Ace.

However, Cross believes that Rebound Ace courts actually sap the player more than a hard surface does and that it promotes some ankle injuries.

"After you've run around on and jumped up and down on the stuff, your whole body aches," says Cross. "And importantly, you can't slide on it. When you run your hand over it, it feels like sandpaper. You can stop on it, but you can't slide.

"You can see the problem obviously when a player has to change direction suddenly. I think we should either be playing on grass or clay, which let the players' feet slide."

Some prominent players and tennis court builders share his concerns.

Andy Roddick, who was forced to withdraw from the Australian Open in 2002 after rolling his ankle twice in two days, suggested that Rebound Ace was at least partly to blame. "It's renowned for being a pretty sticky surface," he said at the time.

Mark Philippoussis also weighed in, describing it as "very tough on your body" and blamed it for a quadriceps injury he suffered earlier that year. He added: "Your shoes actually stick into the court that little bit longer and you can feel that in your joints, your lower back and your legs."

As one prominent industry source, who did not want to be named, put it: "I think it certainly does cause some ankle injuries. I believe the problem is that when a player has to stop suddenly and double back, the outer edge of the shoe on their leading foot digs down in a little into the rubber, making it far more likely that their ankle will roll."

But not everyone is a critic. Open top seed Andre Agassi told reporters last week: "I like Rebound Ace a lot. I like how the balls take off; you can get some good spin on it and I definitely enjoy playing on it."

Paul Bull, technical and export director for A.V. Syntec, which markets Rebound Ace, says criticism of the surface is unwarranted. While it does not allow players to slide, it is designed to "give", so that when a player plants his or her foot, the whole surface in that region moves sideways with the foot, unlike a traditional hard court.

Bull says tests at Wollongong University show that this property reduced the vertical ground reaction force on the player's leg. The Australian-designed product has been taken up in 35 countries and is popular with many prominent players: "I'm sure Lleyton Hewitt wouldn't attribute his ankle injury to it. It's his favourite surface – he put one in his back yard."

As for today's racquets, Cross doesn't mince words: "The modern racquet has spoilt the game of tennis. All the players tend to set up camp on the baseline or behind it and use a tremendous amount of topspin. It gets boring just watching them exchange volleys."

The topspin dips a speeding ball more quickly into the opposing half of the court and is achieved with an extreme Western grip, in which the racquet is held so the strings are almost parallel with the ground. That ensures the ball hits the racquet face at an angle to produce spin but the greater the angle of contact, the more likely that the ball will hit the frame and fly off unpredictably. So a wider racquet head gives more margin for error.

If you're buying one of these oversized racquets for a social game, Cross warns of being bamboozled by sales pitches alleging that they have a larger "sweet spot".

Cross has shown how all racquet faces actually have a variety of important "spots", including a large dead spot near the top and two small sweet spots near the centre.

The popular concept of a sweet spot is that it is the point where the ball rebounds with maximum speed. In fact, the "best-bounce" spot is a much larger one, also on the central axis of the racquet, but much lower down near the throat.

You can emulate Cross' more complex experiments yourself by clamping your racquet handle to a table and dropping a tennis ball at various points on the face. It won't bounce at all on the dead spot, and leaps highest on the best-bounce spot, where energy is returned to the ball rather than being dissipated in vibrations through the racquet.

the cat
01-21-2004, 12:46 AM
Thanks for that very interesting and thought provoking article, bunk. :) There are some positive points to Rebound Ace. But the negatives far outweigh the positives in my mind. And the long list of Rebound Ace causing injuries are proof of that.

Wouldn't it be easy enough for Tennis Australia to build hard courts such as those used at The Lipton or Indian Wells as TennisLurker astutely pointed out?

And I'll leave you with this. When was the last time the other 3 grand slams had this many significant injuries leading up to a grand slam? I can't ever remember the French Open, Wimbledon or U.S. Open having anything close to this many injury problems. I believe the players coming off an offseason of a month or two are not in top playing shape and that may make them more vulnerable to Rebound Ace related injuries. Those hot and sticky tennis courts are being played on by tennis players who are not in top playing shape. Especially where their legs, ankles and feet are concerned.

MisterQ
01-21-2004, 12:58 AM
Seems like players who play a lot on clay might be particularly prone to injury, if they get mentally tired and foolishly lapse into "sliding" mode.

I don't understand how Kim Clijsters did all those sliding splits at last year's tournament.

Hispanica
01-21-2004, 01:01 AM
As you said the cat, the players are not in a good shape and that's what causes the injuries too.. their body is not at a 100% and the extreme heat doesn't help much either

Deboogle!.
01-21-2004, 01:11 AM
glad you enjoyed the article, the cat :)

tennischick
01-21-2004, 01:11 AM
after 16 years you'd think players would flipping figure out how to play on the surface!!!!

i'm against the change. i'm all for the players wising up and making appropriate adjustments as they are REQUIRED to do on grass, hardcourts or clay.

but that's just me...:wavey:

the cat
01-21-2004, 02:43 AM
Well said MisterQ and Hispanica. :)

I did enjoy the article, bunk. And I would recommend it to anyone interested in this topic.

I might have know you'd take a different point of view, TC, you rebel with a cause! ;) You make a very good point about how the players should adjust to playing on Rebound Ace just as they do for the other surfaces. And it is somewhat amazing that players still don't know how to play on Rebound Ace after all these years. It shouldn't be that difficult. But it is. Except for Andre Agassi that is. :) He loves Rebound Ace. :D

ys
01-21-2004, 02:53 AM
Why is it that Agassi never had any problems on it? Sampras never had any problems on it? Kafelnikov loves it, Rios loves it too. I don't remember any _TOP_ player ever getting any related injury on RA. It is just a silly American whining..

Leo
01-21-2004, 02:53 AM
I think Australia should have the same surface as The Lipton or Indian Wells.

Not a bad idea. If they were to replace the rebound ace (which I highly doubt, btw), it would have to be with another slow hard court, to make it fair for all the players. That's the best advantage of this surface, it suits all players and all types of play. You can win from the baseline or with serve and volley. It would not be smart to make the Australian Open the same surface as another Slam. As Jana Novatna said, the nifty part about the Slams these days is that each one is played on a different surface.

Back to rebound ace, it certainly does seem to be rougher on the joints than other surfaces, and, for that reason, causes numerous ankle/foot injuries. One of the unfortunate problems is that rebound ace becomes stickier in hot conditions, and it happens to only be played during the Australian summer season, obviously in very hot conditions. But I feel that other surfaces cause similar amounts of physical damage to the players. Maybe we should hard-press the players for taking better precautions (i.e. taping, shoewear, etc.).

Leo
01-21-2004, 03:04 AM
Why is it that Agassi never had any problems on it? Sampras never had any problems on it? Kafelnikov loves it, Rios loves it too. I don't remember any _TOP_ player ever getting any related injury on RA. It is just a silly American whining..

Agassi doesn't do too much running on rebound ace courts, or on any court for that matter. He has a dictating type of play and is rarely put on the defensive; thus, he is never injured on this surface.

sigmagirl91
01-21-2004, 03:08 AM
I actually agree that Rebound Ace, for all its supposed good qualities, does more harm than good for the players. As someone mentioned before, in 1990, there were a whole slew of injuries from both sides-creating a nightmare of a tournament for all involved. Throw in the heat index, which can get up to around 130 degrees in the shade, and you have the recipe for a potentially life-threatening, if not career-threatening, injury or illness.
Will the powers that be reconsider when THAT happens? Who can tell? All I know is that, somewhere down the line, someone is bound to get hurt-perhaps permanently.

ys
01-21-2004, 03:09 AM
Agassi doesn't do too much running on rebound ace courts, or on any court for that matter. He has a dictating type of play and is rarely put on the defensive; thus, he is never injured on this surface.

So, lets everyone play like that..

Hispanica
01-21-2004, 03:10 AM
I really can't imagine spanish players playing like that... thay run after everthing ball even if they'll end up losing the point

Leo
01-21-2004, 03:13 AM
So, lets everyone play like that..

Not the way the world works, laddy.

Hispanica
01-21-2004, 03:26 AM
And how boring would it be everyone single player playing the same way... Not that I have something against Andre's way of playing

the cat
01-21-2004, 04:09 AM
ys, Clijsters and Hewitt are two top players who were injured in Hopman Cup play on Rebound Ace this year. And numerous other players were injured playing on Rebound Ace as well before the Australian Open even started.

ys, don't you remember what happend to the very promising Lina Krasnoroutskaya 2 years ago in Oz when she was playing Conchita Martinez? Lina's foot got stuck on the sticky Rebound Ace and she turned her ankle causing serious damage that not only ruined her year but permanently changed the direction of her career which was heading straight up at that time.

Hi Sigmagirl91! :wavey: I'm that someone who talked about the 1990 Australian Open when Gabriela Sabatina and Stefan Edberg suffered Rebound Ace injuries and had to withdraw from the tournament which in turn hurt the credibilty of the event. I have Cliff Drysdale on tape in 1990 talking about the perils of playing on Rebound Ace and bemoaning the fact that Sabatini and Edberg had to withdraw from the 1990 Australian Open due to injuries that were believed to have been caused by the Rebound Ace courts.

Hispanica, I don't ever want all tennis players to play the same. I like the differences in styles of play. I always enjoy a match on contrasting styles. And those matches take place on all surfaces.

Deboogle!.
01-21-2004, 04:30 AM
AMERICAN Whining?????????

uhhhhhh......

not one of the players that's gotten hurt from their ankles rolling on Rebound Ace this year was American.

It doesn't sound like it has that much to do with them not playing on the surface. I saw what happened to Venus last night and she didn't get hurt, but she could've. All she did was hop up for a volley and it messed her up. So it wasn't from running or sliding or whatever.

It just seems like it's too dangerous. When a SLAM has so many people that have had to pull out, I think it's time to evaluate it.

J. Corwin
01-21-2004, 07:58 AM
They should make all the players wear ankle protection, or suffer the consequences.

the cat
01-21-2004, 02:07 PM
Well said, bunk. The topic of Rebound Ace tennis courts causing injuries cannot be denied because there have been numerous articles written about Rebound Ace this year documenting the injuries and the dangers of playing on Rebound Ace. The players and tennis writers are talking about it thus articles have been written about Rebound Ace. Such as the informative article that was posted in this thread.

1j2001, tennis players can't be forced to wear ankle protection. But it would be in their best interests to do so. I was absolutely stunned to learn that Venus Williams played her first round match without taping her dainty ankles. Players with thin ankles like Venus should always tape their ankles for protection. But sometimes that's not good enough because if a players foot sticks to the hot and sticky Rebound Ace court then dammage will be done no matter what precautions have been taken.

Deboogle!.
01-21-2004, 03:26 PM
the cat, I know!! I was really shocked when they showed Venus's ankles and how THIN they were. And just nothing on them so much as a sock! LOL

If it were just a few players with similar playing styles or something that were getting hurt, I'd definitely agree with the "suck it up" argument. But considering it's all kinds of players from all over the place - lots of men, lots of women, good on all different kinds of courts, play all different kinds of games.... I just don't agree that it's the players' responsibility. I mean obviously unless/until they change it, it has to be, but if the court is the base of so many injuries, some of which are obviously pretty serious, I just fail to see how playing a slam on that kind of court is a justifiably good idea lol

the cat
01-21-2004, 08:29 PM
bunk, you make a pertinent point about how it's a wide variety of tennis player suffering Rebound Ace injuries this year. It's really becoming a dilemma for Tennis Australia because they have to be hurting from all the just criticism about Rebound Ace. Players are talking and articles are being written about this topic. But something needs to be done because the players health is at stake. But I have no confidence in tennis to do anything to improve this situation.

Deboogle!.
01-21-2004, 08:32 PM
Yea, tennis-x, as odd as they may be, even quip about it in their latest Daily Dish.

And glad you understood what I meant :) I mean if it were just clay-courters who like to slide or just serve-volleyers or just *whatever* kind of player, then I'd say "ok they need to work on it" but as far as I can see it's a huge variety of players so to me that says it's not a player problem, it's a surface problem.

tennischick
01-22-2004, 02:22 AM
Yes, but judging from the injuries, the players don't. Except Andre. Come to think of it, that may be the reason why it stays the same until his career is over...
yeah it's a conspiracy. and now that the Android has retired, i hear that there are plans to pave over all the courts of the AELTC...:o

players get injured ALL the time, on ALL surfaces, thruout the year. but it's amazing how this crap only comes up at the AO. you'd swear there was scientific evidence that Rebound Ace causes more injury than any other surface. it doesn't.

injury is a fact of life in the life of any tennis player. i have a rotator cuff strain, a strain on my left thumb, and a bum knee -- and i'm not a professional tennis player.

the cat
01-22-2004, 03:00 AM
In my opinion the injuries a couple weeks before the other 3 grand slams aren't as numerous as the Rebound Ace injuries a couple weeks before the Australian Open.

TC, I know tennis players get injured year round. It's a brutal sport on the body. Especially the lower extremities. By the way TC, are you a southpaw?

bunk, what is tennis-x?

Leo
01-22-2004, 03:07 AM
If I was a tournament director, I'd wait a few more years before taking any action and possibly replacing the rebound ace surface. Remember there was a large number of injuries during the 2002 Australian summer season, but last year there were relatively few.

Sjengster
01-22-2004, 03:12 AM
yeah it's a conspiracy. and now that the Android has retired, i hear that there are plans to pave over all the courts of the AELTC...:o

players get injured ALL the time, on ALL surfaces, thruout the year. but it's amazing how this crap only comes up at the AO. you'd swear there was scientific evidence that Rebound Ace causes more injury than any other surface. it doesn't.

injury is a fact of life in the life of any tennis player. i have a rotator cuff strain, a strain on my left thumb, and a bum knee -- and i'm not a professional tennis player.

After my post, I probably should have added one of these. ;)

Deboogle!.
01-22-2004, 03:28 AM
the cat, www.tennis-x.com is a sort of "out-there" Tennis news site. They have good updates but their predictions and odds are often out of whack (they had Coria in the AO SF and they have Rubin in for the women????). And they have favorite and least favorite players which really colors their "reporting" but it's still a pretty good site.

the cat
01-22-2004, 04:21 AM
Thanks for the link, bunk. It looks like an entertaining website. :)

You're probably right, Leo. I think it will be years before anything is done about replacing Rebound Ace courts in Australia. And it's possible that nothing will happen anyway. It's all specualtion. Tennis Australia has kept quiet amid all the Rebound Ace injuries this year. I'm sure they want to sweep this controversy under the rug as soon as possible.

Deboogle!.
01-22-2004, 04:29 AM
You're welcome. It's fun there but take it all with a grain of salt lol