Was The Australian Open Court Faster Than Wimbledon? Roger Federer Didn’t Mind!
by Tom Gainey | February 8th, 2017, 10:29 am
  • 13 Comments

According to Hawkeye data, the playing surface on Rod Laver Arena during the Australian Open this year was quicker than that of Wimbledon last year, and much more faster than the Australian Open in 2014.

Jim Courier, who’s much better at tennis than math (not “tenths” but “hundredths”), broke the court speed data down on Channel 7 during the event, saying his “head almost flew off” when he saw the numbers.

Federer, who won the event beating Rafael Nadal in the final, says faster courts helps the older players.

“I think with faster conditions, the older generation, I’m saying like anything before 2005, they are used to faster courts,” Federer said following his win over Mischa Zverev. “From that moment on, it was a switch. Maybe it was shortly before that. I’m not sure. But we had to grow up in faster conditions.

“I think if you look at also Venus, she loves the fast courts. She always has. I think it just is natural for her to play well on this surface because maybe there’s less thinking going on, you just play with instinct. That’s maybe what older guys can do very well because they don’t get frustrated in faster conditions.

“It’s also an art to learn that. You see with Zverev, who was able to attack the net all the time, not getting frustrated. Sometimes it very tricky against that kind of player because we just don’t see it so often.

“But I generally enjoy it because I like when he puts in a nice volley past me. I just think it’s a nice play. I think there’s nothing you can do about it. Then you kind of move on. That’s why maybe I stayed as calm as I did today. Maybe it has helped me, too, in my comeback, no doubt about it.”


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13 Comments for Was The Australian Open Court Faster Than Wimbledon? Roger Federer Didn’t Mind!

skeezer Says:

It’s about time they starting speeding up the courts. But…….Fed has won on the slow stuff also, so all good. Variety of speed and surface is the key…not having all slow or all fast. That’s Tennis.


Margot Says:

^ I agree. Makes tennis much more interesting. And please someone do away with those awful courts that behave like glue!


sinha71 Says:

Federer always had the advantage over Rafa on slick hard courts (4-1 at WTF) and Nadal hit so many short balls to Fed in that match especially at the end lacking energy from the Dimitrov SF to make it even less effective. Nadal let it slip away in the end.

So it worked!


Truth Says:

Fraud struggled to win on every surface. It’s not Nadal’s fault that Fed needed –
- Texas Ddick
- fluke Slam finalists
- injured legends
- Safin wannabes that showed up once every 5 years to beat Fed
- old and slow clay specialists to bow down to him on their worst surfaces


Leo Says:

Well Truth be told – glad he won here. And I agree: wasn’t Nadal’s fault.


MMT Says:

I don’t want to belabor it, but as I understood it, the court isn’t faster, but the balls had been “designed” to be faster in warmer conditions and slower at night. I don’t know how they did it, but apparently during the day the Bernoulli effect was minimized by reducing how much the balls fluff, reducing lift, making the trajectory of shots flatter, straighter and effectively get to the point of contact quicker. However, somehow at night, the balls fluff up again, creating more lift making the trajectory of shot more parabolic and arriving at the point of contact more slowly.


Humble Rafa Says:

To be honest, the Australian Open surface was a disgrace. You know that by the facts – a guy with a weak backhand was hitting winners left and right. He didn’t learn to play backhand overnight, it was the courts.


skeezer Says:

The AO was a disgrace? Made it to the finals and a Disgrace. Looney.
Hopefully you”ll work harder on your BH so gou can be more like Fed. Keep dreamin the 18 Fishies.


DC Says:

@ Humble Rafa,
Agree with you here. It was a disgrace that a 35 year old with a weak backhand hit double the number of backhand winners than his younger, stronger, higher ranked opponent.
What a disgrace.


Kartik Says:

Sorry guys… but this is only crictiscing the roger that he won only because of faster courts this is not indeed correct.. but see the open era there is no other palyer who is giving such a great competition to top players even at the age of 35.And now he has won the grand slam everybody is criticscing this is not correct..
Even top guys fear facing federer .. he is god of tennis… and will remain for years


DC Says:

The tournament designs the courts and selects balls so the speeds is in a certain range. The tournament director in one of the interviews a few days ago confirmed that the court plays within the designed speed range. The range specifications haven’t been altered for years.

Comparison with Wimbledon and prior years is a mute point if the speed is within the designed range.


DC Says:

Tournament director Craig Tiley, quoted in Melbourne’s Herald Sun on Saturday, insisted the courts were the same speed as a year ago.

The courts were resurfaced, he said, between October and December — the show courts ahead of the outer surfaces. The timing of the resurfacing, Tiley said, may have created some subtle changes that left the players feeling the courts were faster.

“How courts work on their speed is that when you resurface them,” Tiley said, “they take a few weeks to slowly increase [speed] and then they hit a plateau and they stay in that plateau for months.”


Dennis Says:

There should be more variance in court speeds. Too much homogenization over the past 12-15 years or so, tending toward an almost uniform medium-to-slowish court on all surfaces. Not only does it benefit certain kinds of players to the detriment of others (Especially more traditional attacking players – I don’t think we’d have seen Rafa or Djoker have success on all surfaces if courts were at speeds they were 20 years ago), but slower surfaces mean longer points, which means longer matches, which means more wear-and-tear on the body and injuries. People say the game has become too physical and demanding and something needs to be done. One way to help would be to go to faster surfaces, which allow more attacking play and shorter points. In some recent years I’ve heard people even say Roland Garros was faster than Wimbledon. That’s just crazy!

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