The Speed of Arthur Ashe Stadium

A few of us are interested in the speed of these hard courts. Traditionally, New York, the crown of the North American hard court swing, has pretty fast courts. This video here contains testimony from Brad Gilbert (a straight-shooter who has been around the block a few times — pretty credible source). This was recorded right after Rafa’s 3R win over Mayer. Rafa has actually just left this set containing Gilbert, Evert and the ESPN rep. Have a listen.

Roger and Lopez are up next.

4 comments

  1. Very interesting stuff. I think Gilbert’s claim that the slow court helps Nadal against Federer is definitely true in this instance. However, I think his generalization that slow courts help Nadal overall is off the mark. The most important thing for Nadal is the height of the bounce. Fast and high-bouncing? Fine. Slow and high-bouncing? Even better. Fast and low-bouncing? Not ideal, but not impossible to adjust. Slow and low-bouncing? Not a fun time. The courts at the O2 are among the slowest HC on the tour, but Nadal has even less success there than in Cincy because the ball barely bounces, negating his biggest weapon. When the courts are high-bouncing, he prefers slow courts, but when they are low bouncing, he needs the court to be fast or he can’t be aggressive.

    1. It’s certainly more complicated, as you suggest. There are many factors, one of which involves a player’s ability to adjust — biggest factor of all. By the second week, we should see the winning form from these players. Rafa looks good although he has not played anyone who can go 5. Daniel and Mayer (both clay courters) gave Rafa some early trouble, but then went away big time. Look at their legs, compared to a Feli Lopez. Someone like that wins a set and you could see a 5 setter. There are, indeed, other factors.

      But these courts are slow

  2. Thanks for all the Great USO posts, Matt! With all your commitments, I really appreciate your efforts. Many great discussion points you raised up. Great insight from An on court speed – Not as straightforward as simply fast or slow. But USO is a DISGRACE with the courts (heard there was last minute resurfacing – WHY!!!) and the draw – what a joke! Murray should be fined. Was so excited and looking forward to this last Slam of the year, the King of hard courts. Didn’t live up to expectations. Despite all the rising stars, it’s been such a damper; and with the commentators hyping up the closed roof, noise and glamor in AA……Enough already! Too loud!! As Rafa says! Haha!

    Shapovalov was the saving grace but honestly you have him in final, Matt?! These young bodies and minds are not ready for Bo5 no matter how impressive they are now. Besides he had to play qualifying as well. Sasha was a disappointment. His success seem to have gone into his head a bit. Not sure if this serves him well. I’m going against the popular vote and say he is not winning a slam soon. Roger is looking dangerous but the back is still ? no matter what he showed in Lopez’s match and whatever bullshit he has been feeding to the media that his back problem is in the past! Roger has always played his injury card close to his chest. Besides backs flare up anytime they feel like it. What happened to Pouille? Is it the courts again? Feisty Swartzman?!! Who said shorties can’t play tennis? But he’s injured…. Querry has been a completely different player since that breakthrough over Novak. Confidence and momentum with him. Maybe the first American, after Roddick to win USO?!! Are you excited, Matt?!! Looking at who is remaining, I’m going with a Querry V Nadal/Federer final.

    1. Thanks, TB.

      I think I said Shapo v Thiem only because that would have been a USO nightmare, ha ha.
      Now I want Rublev v Schwartzman. . . 😀

      Catch my drift? The tennis should be good here in the second week either way.
      I’ve made my peace with it — let’s see some great matches.

What say you?