A grass court is one of the four different types of tennis court used in professional tennis. Grass courts are made of rye grass in different compositions. The higher the percentage of rye grass is used, the slower the grass court is. There are fewer and fewer grass courts available, despite it being the most traditional of the tennis surfaces. Maintenance costs of grass courts are higher than those of hard courts and clay courts as grass courts need to be reseeded every year.
Grass courts are most common in Great Britain, although these courts are also to be found in other countries. The most important tennis tournament to be played on grass is the third Grand Slam of the tennis season - Wimbledon. Courts in All England Club in Wimbledon are currently considered to be slower than other grass courts such as Queen's Club in London or Halle in Germany, because the Wimbledon Championships uses 100 percent rye grass.
Playing Characteristics of Grass Courts
Grass courts tend to be slippery, with bad bounces, the ball usually bounces low and rarely rises above knee height. On grass, the serve and return are the decisive factors in determining the outcome of the point. Rallies on grass courts are likely to be brief, players with big serve that are not aware of trying to hit winners and those employing a serve and volley tactic usually gain an advantage. Serve and volley players take advantage of the characteristics of this surface by often serving the ball as a slice serve because of its effectiveness on grass courts, then running to the net and leaving their opponents with little time to reach the low-bouncing ball.
Also the movement on grass courts is different from movement on any other surface. The courts tend to be slippery, so players need to utilise small adjustment steps to reach a suitable position for hitting a shot. Playing on grass is easier on the knees, in comparison to hard courts and this explains why Rafael Nadal struggled with knee injuries on hard courts but has always been a dominant force on grass courts.
Grass Courts Legends
There have been several outstanding grass court players in the Open Era with Bjorn Borg, Boris Becker, Pete Sampras and Roger Federer being on the top of this list. American Pete Sampras with seven Wimbledon titles and Roger Federer with six are considered to be the greatest grass court players of all time. Among womens we have to mention Billie Jean King, Martina Navratilova, Steffi Graf and Venus and Serena Williams as some of the most successful grass court players. But the list could be much longer than this.