French word of the day (FWOTD) #2

FWOTD #2: TERRE BATTUE – Red clay

Safina coup droit

The surface is made up of natural clay covered with crushed brick as a fine surface dressing. This layer 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.


Green clay:
Green clay or “Har-tru” is a clay-like substance manufactured from crushed green stone. Green clay is slightly faster and harder than red clay.

Blue clay:
Madrid tournament organizers announced last year they’re looking at having blue clay courts in the future to better coordinate with the colors of the main sponsor.
According to Manuel Santana, the tournament’s director, the court keeps the same properties as the traditional red ones.

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