Although it may appear strange that grass grounds produce faster-moving tennis balls than hard clay or concrete courts, tennis players have spoken for decades of Wimbledon's rapid magic, and simple physics backs it up. "It is the fastest surface in the sport," Novak Djokovic said in 2011. "If you hit a ball on the ground, it will go very fast." And if you watch top-flight tennis at its best, there's no denying it: The balls fly off the strings of the racket with tremendous speed.
Tennis balls are made from rubber and typically range between 110 and 120 grams (3.5 and 4 ounces). The size of the ball affects how far it can travel before hitting the ground; smaller balls are more maneuverable but less powerful when they hit the court.
As for why some courts are slower than others, it comes down to the density of the surface. Grass is naturally greener and thus has more air space between each fiber. This gives the ball more lift which allows it to stay in the air longer before falling back toward the net. On clay courts, small holes in the surface allow water to drain while preventing balls from being thrown by strong winds. Concrete is the most dense of all surfaces and as such hits the ball with the greatest force. It can also be hard to maintain because it needs regular watering and drying.
Tennis balls, on the other hand, tend to bounce more horizontally on grass than on a firmer surface. When the ball strikes the grass's edges, they bend and produce less upward bounce. As a result, faster, lower shots result in shorter rallies and faster scores. A carpet surface can also offer excellent ball bounce. This is because the fibers at the base of the pile give under foot pressure and create a stable surface for bouncing.
Grass is a sensitive plant and will not grow if its roots are kept mowed. Thus, sports fields are usually made of synthetic materials that are hard enough to provide good ball bounce but still allow grass to be grown around them. These fields are called "turf" surfaces. They make up most of the courts used for tennis competitions.
The average tennis ball weighs about 1.5 pounds (700 grams) and is about 1 inch (2.5 centimeters) in diameter. That makes it heavier than other balls such as golf balls or basketballs and this weight causes it to land on its edge when struck by a racket. The heavy ball rolls rather than bounces off the court, which allows players to hit many more shots per game.
Because grass grows slower than other plants, it has time to recover between games. This means that sports fields don't need to be completely replaced every time someone wants to play tennis.
Furthermore, carpets do wear out over time due to traffic on their surfaces.
Hard courts, which are often built of macadam or concrete, are the most neutral of tennis courts. It is quicker than clay and slower than grass in terms of speed, but the bounce is much higher owing to the tougher surface. Hard courts tend to hold their shape better when it's cold outside so they're recommended for indoor play during winter months.
Grass courts are usually made of green sward (grass) that has been rolled smooth and watered to keep it alive and bouncy. Grass courts are the fastest type of court because the ball bounces higher and moves more quickly. Grass also tends to be more humid which can affect the way the ball feels when you hit it.
Clay courts range in texture from fine sand to coarser gravel, depending on how it is treated before use. The ball will roll easier on clay courts than on other types of court because there are fewer holes in the surface. Clay courts tend to be warmer in temperature than other types of court because there is less exposure to the wind.
Dirt courts are made of dirt that has been softened with water to make it playable. The ball will go farther and straighter down dirt courts than on any other type of court because there are no walls to get in its way. Dirt courts are also the warmest type of court because there is less exposure to the wind.
Tennis, on the other hand, dwarfs baseball in terms of ball speed. Tennis ball speed is increased by the presence of a net and a 27-foot-wide court. Some activities, like hitting a 95 mph baseball, are best left to the pros. In fact, only two people have ever thrown a ball into orbit: Soviet astronaut Yuri Gagarin in 1961 and American astronaut John Glenn in 1962.
However, you can easily throw a ball much faster than 100 miles per hour if you know how. The secret is in the arm speed once the ball is released. As with most things related to sports, practice makes perfect. So start training now!
As for me and my team, we will be ready by opening day.