What’s Up With the Red Clay at the French Open?


060603_rafael_nadal_hmed_12p.hmedium.jpgThe 2008 French Open kicked off at Roland Garros this past weekend.  Roland Garros is actually the name of the tennis center where the Open is held; more specifically, Roland Garros was a French aviator and WWI hero.

The French Open is played on red clay versus the Decoturf surface at the US Open in Flushing, QueensRed clay surfaces are made up of crushed red brick and traditionally play slower than harder surfaces, including the grass surface at Wimbledon.  Specifically, clay produces a higher bounce and removes the “big power” advantage that most US players are used to on harder surfaces.  In my view, the clay game (including HAR-TRU surfaces) is tons of fun, more strategic, and is not just about battling it out at the baseline, but rather necessitates that the player has an overall game (including the ability to play at net, lob, slice, etc.).

Check out Ralphael Nadal, who many consider to be the best clay court player alive today:


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