Of the four Grand Slam tennis tournaments, the U.S. Open and Australian Open use hard courts surfaced with Plexipave. Wimbledon is steeped in tradition and keeps the short grass, but that surface has mostly vanished from other venues. The French Open has a clay court, which is still widely used in some places including South American and Europe; there are some clay courts in the U.S. as well.
Clay courts are made of crushed shale, stone or brick. Clay has always been a well-loved tennis court surface and typically allows for good playing conditions. It’s a slower-moving surface than hard courts and even slower than short grass, and this allows for top players to master extremely heavy top spin that they put on their balls to make them “leap off” the surface, confounding or overpowering their opponent. However, the clay court does not always give consistently good playing qualities–a prolonged set or match played on clay can result in the surface becoming worn down and dimpled, so that now and again a tennis ball takes a zany, unpredictable bounce and costs the returner a point. It is extremely soft and unplayable during rainy weather. But during dry spells it can get to be like granite and tennis balls–and players’ feet–can kick up dust. It is also easier to slide too much and lose your footing on clay courts than it is on other surfaces.
But concrete and asphalt, on which players don’t slip and slide as much, where there is no dimpling with extended play, and where those who have a faster game can thrive, have a couple of severe drawbacks because of their extreme hardness–which means intense wear and tear on the muscles and joints, and blisters on the feet–and thei dramatically noticeable absence of resiliency. Then there’s the heat rising up from the surface in the Summer…
In the 1950s, Plexipave was developed in Australia to be formulated and placed over asphalt and concrete tennis court surfaces. This features a Plexicushion substrate made of a proprietary blend of rubber, latex, and plastic particles. What tennis players get is a resilient layer absorbent of body shock and reducing muscle fatigue. The Plexipave Surface, which is 100% acrylic, gives you consistent and uniform ball bounce, can be specifically designed for a desired speed of play, and provides the key grips for footwork that tennis players on that court desire. The Plexipave system also comes with a patented Color Finish, which is a quick-drying durable all-weather color surfacer providing the highest quality resistance to UV ray deterioration.
Plexipave is surface for all seasons. It quickly dries out after rain while being a perfect anti-glare finish. Even as it increases players’ visibility on the court, it lowers tennis court temperatures by an average of 5°C to 7°C. The surface is allowed to breathe, yet without losing any of its solid adherence to the underlying asphalt or concrete.
From the financial perspective, a Plexipave surface over a well-constructed asphalt or concrete tennis court is easily renewed. There is no need for reconstruction or surface removal. For the Olympics in Sydney, Australia in the year 2000, Plexipave was chosen as the “Urban Forest” pedestrian surfacing placed all around Stadium Australia. That Plexipave surface still remains, as a testimony to its incredible durability.