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Old 08-08-2012, 11:42 PM   #1
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Default Surface type/pace

Is there anywhere that lists the type of surface used for the main tournaments (grand slams and 1000's)? I tried to find out myself using the ITF/tournament websites and ending up concluding that the Australian Open courts are faster than the US Open ones which can't be right.

I'm new by the way, hi
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Old 08-08-2012, 11:43 PM   #2
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Default Re: Surface type/pace

Welcome Pangloss. I would like to know this myself. Hopefully someone can help us out.
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Old 08-08-2012, 11:47 PM   #3
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Default Re: Surface type/pace

Hi Honestly I made a list based on the information I could find but some of it just seems inconsistent. And for some reason it seems difficult to find information on clay courts too.
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Old 08-09-2012, 06:48 AM   #4
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Default Re: Surface type/pace

the problem with trying to make a definitive list is there are other factors besides the official court speed classification that affect how it plays.

the preparation of a court is one thing with the level of friction in the final surface layer making a big difference. last year at the us open was the best example. it was slower than usual apparently because pre-tournament rain meant the courts weren't used very much and therefore began the tournament with a coarser top-surface than planned. (I think this was the official theory anyway).

Balls make a big difference too. (e.g. 2011 Roland Garros)

itf.com is still the best source of info I'm aware of.
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Old 08-09-2012, 06:52 AM   #5
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Default Re: Surface type/pace

This:

http://www.itftennis.com/technical/e.../courtlist.asp

The entire information on balls, surfaces, techniques, etc can be found in a PDF here:

http://www.itftennis.com/technical/n...rticleid=23484
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Old 08-09-2012, 06:58 AM   #6
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Default Re: Surface type/pace

By MTF definition any surface is slow in a particular year if Nadal wins the tournament, it's medium if he gets to quarters/semis, it's very fast if he goes out early.

Nadal's performances are best to measure a surface speed in a particular year.
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Old 08-09-2012, 07:11 AM   #7
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Default Re: Surface type/pace

Here's an article from a year ago that discusses court speed and ranks tournaments based on service points won: a somewhat good indicator of court speed.

http://statracket.net/?view=articles/courtspeed.html
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Old 08-09-2012, 10:08 AM   #8
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Default Re: Surface type/pace

^ That link is really cool. Thanks
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Old 08-09-2012, 01:13 PM   #9
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Default Re: Surface type/pace

I believe the pace by service stats method is not adequate. It can be flawed depending on the players playing in the event and matchups. Accurate pace and friction measurements with approved machines along with climate measurements are made at many tournaments, but they are often not publicly posted. This is the real problem.

I believe it should be required by ATP/ITF that the base machine measurements are officially posted at least just prior to each tournament, and that the scoreboard should always display the real time overall pace/friction during matches based on formulas used to factor in the climate conditions. Then ATP/ITF could include these in the statistics for each match, and everyone could make much more informed and precise judgements on how each player is affected by the conditions.
Edit: Of course, the balls in use and their characteristics should also be recorded and factored in.

Here is a very good article describing the machines and their use even 5 years ago.

An excerpt:

Of course, temperature and humidity also can affect the pace of a court, and when the USTA tests court pace with the Tortus, Norton and Ponnusamy will take readings of surface and air temperature, humidity, and barometric pressure, and those numbers are plugged into a formula with the Tortus readings to determine the overall pace.

Respectfully,
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Last edited by masterclass : 08-09-2012 at 01:33 PM. Reason: Added the balls used.
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Old 08-09-2012, 02:28 PM   #10
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Default Re: Surface type/pace

Biggest problem with using serve stats to measure court speed is the wind effect (especially if comparing indoor to outdoor). I don't care how fast the court is, if it is really windy, the serving stats will be much lower.
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Old 08-10-2012, 11:34 AM   #11
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Default Re: Surface type/pace

Quote:
Originally Posted by Arkulari View Post
Is USO's DecoTurf medium (cat 3) DecoTurf or fast (cat 5) Pro DecoTurf?
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Old 08-10-2012, 11:44 AM   #12
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Default Re: Surface type/pace

I seem to remember coming to the conclusion that it was standard cat3 DecoTurf, which is why I got confused as AO uses Plexicushion Prestige (cat4)
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Old 08-10-2012, 11:49 AM   #13
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Default Re: Surface type/pace

What also confuses me is that the websites for the various surfaces seem to claim completely different categories from the ITF website.
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Old 08-10-2012, 12:20 PM   #14
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Default Re: Surface type/pace

Quote:
Originally Posted by August View Post
Is USO's DecoTurf medium (cat 3) DecoTurf or fast (cat 5) Pro DecoTurf?
It's usually a cat4.

That list just tells you what the manufacturer's sample sent to the ITF was rated at, nothing else. They can tweak that to any speed required by the tournament by adding/subtracting sand.
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Old 08-10-2012, 01:11 PM   #15
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Default Re: Surface type/pace

Quote:
Originally Posted by August View Post
Is USO's DecoTurf medium (cat 3) DecoTurf or fast (cat 5) Pro DecoTurf?
Quote:
Originally Posted by Pangloss View Post
I seem to remember coming to the conclusion that it was standard cat3 DecoTurf, which is why I got confused as AO uses Plexicushion Prestige (cat4)
Quote:
Originally Posted by Pangloss View Post
What also confuses me is that the websites for the various surfaces seem to claim completely different categories from the ITF website.
It's definitely confusing.
Again, part of the problem is that there is no mandate from the governing bodies to publicly make the court pace known before and during a tournament. There are also no set standards for each tournament.

The other problem is that the acrylic base surface used may start out as whatever the category rating is, but can be changed by applying more or less sand/grit in the top layer of paint. More grit equals more friction, more spin, slower pace and higher bounce. Less grit equals faster and lower bounce. Each tournament seems free to be able to change it as "needed". Usually this means getting input from the players and coaches during or after the tournament and then making adjustments the following year.

The Plexipave web site explicitly states for Plexicushion: "Can be Customized to All ITF Pace Ratings"

So how can we know what the actual pace is after all tweaking and repainting/resurfacing has been done unless we are told?
The Australian Open web site says:

Court pace testing

Tennis Australia is an innovator in the area of surface pace measurement and has devised a scientifically-based method of testing the pace of tennis courts. High speed video footage of balls being projected onto a court are analysed by software developed by Tennis Australia that measures the pace and bounce characteristics of the court. The two variables measured are the coefficient of friction (pace) and the coefficient of restitution (bounce). According to the ITF Surface Pace Rating scale, the Melbourne Park courts are medium to medium-fast paced.


But again, that's not the whole story. The balls used can make a difference as well as the weather/time of day. The balls that are currently in use at the Australian Open combined with the sandpaper like surface tend to fluff up very quickly, within 2-3 games. When the balls fluff up, they travel slower through the air and it is more difficult to hit winners.

In Melbourne during the Australian Open time frame, day time temperatures can vary between 23 C / 75 and over 40 C. (>104 F.). During the day when the weather is hot and sunny, the balls tend to fly faster through the dryer hotter air, and you will see many more winners. When the weather cools at night, the balls travel slower and there are generally much fewer winners and more errors. 2012 was a perfect example of all of this. Look at the play of the players that prefer faster/lower bouncing conditions vs the play of those that prefer slower/high bouncing conditions and the time of day they played and the weather conditions at those times.

Here is a good article regarding the pace of the various slam surfaces. In it, the pace of the Australian Open is listed at 34 (highest medium slow rate) and the usual pace of the US Open around 40 (slowest medium-fast rate). A good case was made for the 2011 Roland Garros clay surface combined with faster Babolat balls playing faster than the Australian Open and Wimbledon that year based on percentage of winners being higher at Roland Garros.

It's not a straight-forward issue, but better transparency and standards are certainly possible. It's a matter of whether the mandate to do it is strong enough vs. what seems to be a confusion through obscurity approach.

I'm afraid this will start getting us into the whole surface homogenization/speed up the courts debate. So I'll stop here.

Respectfully,
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