What Are The Types of Tennis Courts?

For all those players who are interested in knowing the types of tennis courts, I have good news for you. Tennis courts are constructed to handle all kinds of players, fast or slow. So you might play on all types, but how do you know which one is the most suitable for you?

Hold tight, and sit firm as I discuss the types of tennis courts and how these courts are constructed. By the end of this article, you will learn how to choose a tennis court type for your style.

So without any delay, let’s start.

Tennis is a famous sport that can be played on various surfaces. Every surface has distinct playing features which influence the style and method of play and the player’s playing ability. Also, check the Tennis String Gauge.

The ITF categorizes each surface based on the momentum and speed of the very surface. These surfaces vary from slow to fast, from level one to level five. Three of the biggest and most important tennis tournaments feature distinct courts.

Types of Tennis courts Famous in Players:

The U.S. The Open features hard courts, Wimbledon, and grass courts, and the French Open uses clay courts.  These tennis courts are always affecting the speed and player’s style. Few courts surface to suit the particular styles of players more than others.

For instance, Rafa Nadal plays the best on clay courts, whereas Roger Federer is a pro at playing on grass courts. These tennis courts modify the ball’s speed and spin.  This also allows the players to move swiftly around the court. That is why tennis players must know about the tennis court that suits their style better. Also, read the Tennis Court Dimensions.

There are four major categories of pro tennis court surfaces used to design tennis courts: Grass court, clay court, hard court, and artificial grass court.

Tennis Court Surface Materials?

Whilst the surfaces of tennis courts are different, the designing and construction procedure for all sorts of tennis courts is typically the same. Tennis courts have several layers, and the surfaces we see are the smallest of all layers. Ideal tennis courts require four layers, which are discussed below: formation, foundation, regulating base, and wearing surface.

How Are Tennis Courts Made?

  • The formation is the first layer of the construction process that performs as a barrier between the court and the ground. It tends to bar organic elements from sabotaging the court. To build the court, the formation layer helps in providing flat soil.
  • The foundation serves as a second layer that helps in protecting and prevent the court from possible frosting. The foundation is the sub-base of the court, and it is 150 mm below the court’s surface. The drainage component of every court’s foundation is different from the other, it entirely depends on the surface of the court. For instance, grass and clay courts need some moisture, so the foundation may not drain that much.
  • Regulating the base or the third layer of the court means creating a stable surface on which the solid and actual surface will come.
  • The fourth layer is what we see on the tennis court in the form of grass, clay, and hard. This layer is known as the wearing surface and is made of different small layers.

What are the Four tennis court types?

Following are the ITF (International Tennis Federation) classified tennis courts:

Hard court: 

Hard courts are most popular in the United States, constructed with concrete or asphalt, and are relatively common worldwide. On hard courts, the ball tends to bounce fairly high and somewhat fast, but not as fast as it bounces on grass courts. These courts are medium to medium fast. On hard courts, the game is manageable and slightly easy to control. It is because the ball’s bounce is totally predictable.

Moreover, players can utilize the hard tennis courts for front practicing purposes; they can try various fast strokes and spins for a more challenging game. The US Open and the Australian Open are the two big tournaments that use hard courts for tennis games. 

Hard courts

Clay court:

Clay courts are famous in South America and Europe. These courts are made up of some delicate and thin layer of crushed stones, bricks, shales, or other material. The construction of these clay courts tends to slow the surface and generates some good high bounce compared to other tennis court surfaces. This makes it suitable for players who like to play more spin shots. Also, check the How To Choose Tennis Strings?

This surface seizes many advantages of big serves, making it tough for players who dominate their games by serving on clay. In terms of maintenance, clay courts require frequent supervision as compared to other tennis courts.  One of the most prominent clay court matches is played in the French Open Tournament.

Clay courts

Grass court

The grass is the classic and elegant tennis surface and signature courts of Wimbledon. Grass surfaces are usually not utilized due to the regular maintenance to keep the court in its perfect condition. Grass tennis courts are made of thick layers of mud and sand. Its wearing surface is of natural grass. These courts even require a drainage pipe system in its second layer, the foundation layer, to elude water buildup.

Games on grass surfaces are high-speed, and the ball normally bounces low, keeping rallies relatively short. Players are supposed to get to the ball quicker on grass than on other surfaces. On this surface, serve plays a vital role in the game. Players who are fond of big serves, as well as flat shots, thrive on grass courts.

Grass court

Artificial grass court

This is an artificial surface with the impression of grass.  After creating a regulating base layer, a unique turf is set on top of it. This top coating is of artificial grass. Artificial grass courts are easy to maintain and require not much effort. The games played on artificial grass are very similar to the ones on natural grass. The ball moves rather quickly and normally keeps a low bounce. It is a fine surface for all levels of players. The bounce is even on artificial grass surfaces and provides a uniform spin. Though, this type of court is not used in any professional tournaments.

Artificial grass

How to Choose a Tennis Court?

So, you are just starting out your tennis game at a professional level and looking for what court you must choose. Worry not, as you will automatically settle for a court that suits your style. Also, read How to Choose a Tennis Racket?

Hard courts and grass courts are fast surfaces that offer a distinct game, whereas surfaces like clay courts are in favor of a different style. Let’s see which court suits your style better.

Slow courts

The ball bounces higher and is rather slow on slow courts.  Thus, players get additional time to compose themselves and prepare their shots. Matches are longer on clay courts, whereas points are normally slower. Additionally, players are usually seen sliding and changing positions on the courts. Generally, these clay courts are hard to play on. It leaves players wearier after games and is hard on the body. Base-line players prefer playing on clay courts. Those who wait for the ball to bounce back at the back instead of approaching the net to play their stroke.

Fast courts

The ball bounces faster and is low on the fast court, specifically on grass. Players play fast, and strokes are short. It is entirely because of the fast speed of the ball that leaves little or no time for preparation. This is the reason, on fast courts, playing styles are rather aggressive, and shots are played by approaching the net instead of waiting for a ball at the back. Besides this, fast courts require some great service. Fast serve helps the player maintain control of the game and begins it aggressively.


The game of tennis is played on different courts with different surfaces. Some surfaces offer fast speed and low bounce whereas some favor high bounce and slow speed. All of this entirely depends on the construction of the surface that you are playing your game on. It is practical for players to choose the court according to their playing styles that suit them best.


What are the four main types of tennis courts?

The four main tennis courts that people prefer playing on are hard court, clay court, grass court, and artificial grass court.

Which tennis court surface is normally the best for playing?

Hard courts are considered to be the best surfaces to play on as it delivers great bounce and is fast to play on.

Which is the fastest surface in tennis?  

The grass surface is the fastest; it provides low bounce due to the soft soil. Also, the surface is slippery, which makes the court faster.

Which court is the slowest in tennis? 

Clay courts are the slowest of all tennis courts. The bounce is low on these courts and is rather slow. On clay courts, matches played are usually longer than the ones played on fast courts.

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