Many tennis pundits and fans believe that the change in the speed of tennis hard courts has made a significant change in the game’s evolution. Subtle changes take place on hard courts of every tournament every year. Precisely, the changes are made within a minute thickness of 3 millimetres of the court surface. 6 layers make up a hard court. Three of them are fixed, the other three undergo renovation every year. So what exactly determines the speed of the hard court whether it is slow or fast? The answer lies in one the six layers.
First Layer: Asphalt
The base is made of asphalt. On this asphalt base, sand is added so that any flaw in the first layer is corrected. The sand also helps in the appropriate binding of the second layer to the first layer.
Second layer: Rubber
The court gets its cushioning from this layer. Three coats of rubber are applied. The rubber particles are relatively bigger and are spread across the asphalt.
Third layer: Rubber
Yet another layer of rubber is laid down. Though, this time the rubber particles are more fine and they fill in any gaps or spaces created by the second layer. This layer contributes to smoothening and softening the court.
Fourth layer: Acrylic-Silica formula
This layer is what differentiates the faster and slower hard courts. More the acrylic-silica formula, more will be the speed of the ball and higher will be the Court Pace Index. Besides the formula, this layer also contains color pigments that are in sync with the court’s color.
Fifth Layer: Finishing Layer
This layer contains only color pigments that determine the color of the surface. No sand is added in this layer.
Sixth Layer: Lines layer
The final layer lays down the lines which contains the same acrylic-silica formula so that the courts are homogenous. This layer also eliminates skidding of the ball.
The last three layers are the once that undergo a renewal every year. The entire court is vulnerable to excessive build-up of the coating layers. Hence, once in few years the entire court (till the asphalt) will get renewed.
Due to advanced tennis surfacing systems these courts whether fast or slow are durable and provide an even bounce for the players to display their game play.