Mastering Tennis Requires an All-Court Style

The tennis court at Arthur Ashe Stadium appears smooth, but the microscopic structure of sand granules in the acrylic paint significantly affects match dynamics. The size, shape, and density of the sand dictate the ball’s speed post-bounce, with the U.S. Open surface being “medium-fast,” resulting in fewer long rallies and quicker matches. This pace is deliberately chosen by organizers using devices that measure friction and restitution.
Players like Daniil Medvedev have criticized court speeds, as variations can affect match outcomes. For example, the medium-slow courts at Indian Wells play differently than the medium-fast courts in Miami. Organizers try to control court pace; for instance, Wimbledon switched to 100% ryegrass for firmer courts, and the U.S. Open added sand to the line paint to minimize ball sliding.
Despite these efforts, top players like Carlos Alcaraz and Iga Swiatek consistently win regardless of surface speed. The pace affects playing styles, with faster surfaces favoring offense and slower ones requiring defensive skills and patience. Rafael Nadal, dominant on slow clay courts, had to adopt a more attacking style for hardcourts. The U.S. Open resurfaces its courts annually to ensure consistency. The surface, made by Advanced Polymer Technology, impacts the ball’s speed, trajectory, and spin.
Ultimately, mastering tennis requires an all-court style, as top players like Swiatek, Aryna Sabalenka, Alcaraz, and Novak Djokovic have demonstrated their adaptability to different court speeds.

Court speeds at major tournaments in 2023




French Open


Slow (29 or less)

Indian Wells


Medium-slow (30-34)

Western & Southern Open


Medium (35-39)

Miami Open


Medium-fast (40-44)

Australian Open


Medium-fast (40-44)

U.S. Open


Medium-fast (40-44)



Fast (45 or more)

Source: �