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Synthetic Tennis CourtsTracking Tennis from its Historical Origins to Modern Play

The sport of Tennis has a long history. It was likely was first played in ancient Egypt, Rome, and Greece. The French soon adopted the game. The sport then spread through Europe, and by the 13th century, it was played all over the world, even at the top tiers of society. Medieval tennis fans included kings and even the Pope! Over time, tennis court surfaces, equipment, and rules changed. The game, as we know it today, is far from the original. Modern advances include synthetic tennis courts made from artificial grass as sold by Watersavers and balls designed with rubber coatings for extreme speed. How did we get here?

Before Racquets and Rubber, Tennis Started Indoors

Early games often took place in a building or walled courtyard. The courts were a narrow, solid surface, and players would bounce the ball off walls, almost like modern racquetball. Before rackets, players used their hands to hit the ball. The crude nets sagged, so scoring was tough. We score points now by hitting the ball over the net and into the far reaches of the court. In early matches, players won the game by hitting the ball right into the net! There were hardly any formal rules, and no official leagues or referees. Balls used to be made of wool or leather and couldn’t travel far. With the vulcanization of rubber, the sport took a huge leap forward. Vulcanization was discovered in 1839. A man named Charles Goodyear (yes, the same one who gave “Goodyear Tires” its name) engineered a better and bouncier rubber ball. This allowed for the game to be played outside with more success. Since the new rubber lets balls travel farther, players could get more speed and power into their hits. Today, a thin outer layer of rubber holds felt balls together, offering a more even weight and smoother surface than the sewn fabrics of the past. 

From Indoors to Outdoors, Courts Shift from Clay to Synthetic Tennis Courts

Once rubber balls moved the game outside, matches were held on grass or clay. Today, players may compete indoors or outdoors, on four types of surfaces: indoor hard courts and rubber courts, and outdoor courts made of live grass or artificial turf. Hard courts are made of plastic or cement, and courts made of cushioned rubber are common for training arenas. Outdoors, live grass fields are planted with natural sod. These must be watered and mowed often. They also must be placed in direct sunlight for the grass to thrive as a smooth and even surface for play. Synthetic tennis courts are gaining traction because they are easier to care for and even to play on. They work in the sun or the shade and are eco-friendly because they don’t need to be watered. With other court surfaces, there are many pros and cons. On hard courts, players have a greater risk of injury but can run at top speed. Indoor courts tend to increase ball speed while faux grass absorbs more impact making the game safer. Each surface changes the style of play! Top athletes often favor specific kinds of courts. Hard court players train for precision and top speed. Pros who favor faux grass and outdoor play are often known more for versatility, as they must adjust their serves and hits to factors like wind and weather. re’s a lot to consider before an arena decides on what kind of surface to install, like the injury risk for an indoor hard court, and the high maintenance cost of live grass versus the easy care of synthetic tennis courts. 

Staying in Touch with Tennis News

With such a long history and humble origins, it’s amazing that this sport is now one of the top games in the world. The 2016 Olympics are set for Rio De Janeiro where the 2016 medalists will be named. Currently, the top three medalists are Venus Williams (USA), Serena Williams (USA), and Reggie Doherty (GBR). Two of the top three tennis players are from The United States, yet the USA is sadly ranked at the tenth seed. That makes the Rio matches anybody’s game. Currently, leading women’s tennis is the Czech Republic, Russia, and Italy. Men’s tennis is being led by the Czech Republic, Great Britain, and Switzerland. While men’s and women’s tennis are divided, The Fed Cup (women) and The Davis Cup (men) are the matches preceding the Olympic Games. The Fed Cup World Group Semifinals begin on April 16, 2016, and The Davis Cup will begin the World Group Quarterfinals on July 15, 2016. Don’t miss it! You can stay up to date with the latest information on the matches leading up to the 2016 Olympics by following @DavisCup and @FedCup on Twitter. You can catch cool updates from @Olympics too. 

Want to learn more about using our product for tennis court resurfacing? Contact us at 844-974-8873, chat with us online, or visit one of our California store locations.