Clay Court Clinic: Winning on Clay

Deep Background: Clay court tennis is not like any other form of tennis. The grass court game requires a terrific serve (and, before power tennis became THE ONLY way to play, a good first and even better second volley) and the ability to quickly hit a fast rising shot. Rallies are short. Reputations on grass are shorter.
Hard court tennis of the type played primarily in the U.S. (and on display in the U.S. Open and Australian Open) is a power game. Hit it harder and faster than the other guy–consistently–and you will win.
But Clay Court tennis remains true to the classic elements of the game: consistency, court coverage, and “working the point”. It is chess on dirt. To be a great clay court player, you must have a game that embodies all the athletic elements found at the highest levels of  the game: consistency, power, placement, a good serve, a deft touch, and the ability to hit a drop shot from the concession stand. Clay court points are longer and more strategic; it’s a game of position and if you get out of position, you’re done. It’s a game of nerve; you must be able hit ten or more shots in a row,  solidly and where you want them. It’s a game of attrition; be in shape or go home. And, while there are lots of great clay court tournaments in the world (mostly in Europe), the one we always focus on ( it has the most TV coverage) is the classic: The French Open played at Roland Garros in Paris. The final is tomorrow: Wawrinka vs. Djokovic.
Here’s a primer on playing to win on clay, one of two in this series of Deep Background posts. Watch it (best, as with the concerts posted here, on a big screen) and then find a clay court (they do exist in America) and perfect your game.
Oh, one more great thing about clay court tennis: it’s easy on your body, so you can play longer, both in years and in match time. Your serve?
The Fine Print: Embed via YouTube. Source: WTA. All rights belong to their respective rights holders. Thanks to all for sharing. 

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