A tennis question

1. Jun 2, 2007

haiha

Hi all,

I am now watching the Roland Garros, but I don't play tenis, but table tennis. So I do not understand what is the big different between clay court and other courts that make advantages for certain players. May it have something to do with physics?
Thanks

2. Jun 2, 2007

Staff: Mentor

It is all about how the ball bounces/skids on the different surfaces.

3. Jun 2, 2007

neutrino

So is it that difficult to get accustomed to certain conditions/surfaces that just one or two players win a particular trophy every year?

4. Jun 2, 2007

rcgldr

update - I was thinking of the older style USA clay courts which were faster than the clay courts of today. As mentioned in the Wiki article a standard "clay" court slow the ball down more. Hard courts have a range of speed, and grass courts are the fastest. Grass courts also detiorates during a tournament making the ball bounce more randomly.

Last edited: Jun 3, 2007
5. Jun 2, 2007

Staff: Mentor

It is more about the surface matching the player's skills than "getting used to" it.
Slowed-down less when the ball has backspin - sped-up less when the ball has topspin.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tennis_court

Last edited: Jun 2, 2007
6. Jun 2, 2007

rcgldr

Unlike table tennis, I'm not sure if it's even possible to generate enough top spin so that the bottom surface of the tennis ball is moving backwards, and I've never seen that much top spin used during a normal match. A tennis ball is always slowed down when it bounces, but slow more when it has back spin than when it has top spin. Generally the spin all the ball affects it's path through the air, which can cause it to kick up if the path curves downards enough, and cause the ball to kick sideways if there's sidespin on the ball.

In table tennis where the racket surface has a coefficient of dynamic friction well over 5, and a very elastic reversal of spin and speed, extreme top spin can be generated that will speed up the ball when it bounces. I've never seen this in a tennis match (with the possible exception of a high top spin lob).

7. Jun 2, 2007

prasannapakkiam

Clay=more spin
Grass=more pace

It is like cricket with moist pitches gioving good seam and spin for breaking. Like than in clay, the ball can produce a more effective game for heavy spinners...

8. Jun 3, 2007

haiha

As I have just read in some R. Garros articles, they claim that clay courts slow down the ball more than other courts so it is not suitalbe for playes who have attacking style. That is because the clay surface is softer than others. The harder the court, the faster the ball bounces. Soft surface like clay plays a damp role when the ball hits.
French Mauresmo failed in R.G partly because of that reason they said.

9. Jun 3, 2007

prasannapakkiam

Yes, it basically why Federer cannot win French...

10. Jun 3, 2007

Physlog

It's also to do with the coefficient of restitution between the ball and the surface. The higher the coeff, the more kinetic energy is retained in the bounce and the faste / higher the ball will bounce. It's a measure of the loss of energy to heat in the surface and ball.

Glen
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