Roland Garros Court 1

Do you really know what clay is made of?

Red clay-courts are made of 5 layers:
1- red brick dust: 1-2 mm
2- crushed white limestone: 6-7 cm
3- clinker (coal residue): 7-8 cm
4- crushed gravel: at least 30 cm
5- drain

Composition of clay

The red brick dust gives the ball extra grip when it hits the deck, making the surface characteristically slow.
But clay courts’ speed depends greatly on weather conditions: when there’s a bit of rain, the surface is moist, the balls pick up water, become heavy and slow down even more. But when it’s hot and sunny, the court is dusty, and the ball zip through like a harder surface.

Clay court maintenance demands the greatest care and constant humidity. Too much water risks drowning the clay, making it unplayable from a few hours to several days. That’s why the courts are sprinkled manually and have to be protected from rain.

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