Difference between Clay Court and Grass Court

Key difference: Tennis is played mainly on four courts; clay court and grass court are amongst them. As the names suggests, clay court is made up of clay, whereas grass court is made up of grass.

As per Wikipedia: “A clay court is one of the four different types of tennis court. Clay courts are made of crushed shale, stone or brick”.

The tennis clay courts are made up of many types of clay such as the red, green, blue, gray, maroon and yellow clay. These have a hard base. It is found that it is very difficult to play in these courts. The red clay courts are considered to have the slowest surface. It becomes difficult for the player to bounce the ball high while hitting in these courts, whereas, the green clay court are slightly faster and favors the players. Clay courts show the uniqueness in which the ball bounces, and helps to determine whether a shot was in or out the court.

The disadvantage of a clay court is that it need to be kept wet all the time, otherwise they dry-off easily and create a problem of hardness and roughness, due to which it becomes difficult for the player to continue the game.

As per Wikipedia: “Grass courts are made of rye grass in different compositions depending on the tournament”.

These are strictly made up of different composition of grass (rye-grass). They are slippery type of courts. It is found that the ball often skids and bounces low on these courts, because of its slipping tendency. Hence, the players have to respond quickly while performing on these courts. From this, it proves that the players on the grass court need to be experienced and should have speed in playing.

The grass courts are to be maintained very properly in order to maintain the moist capacity of the grass. Although they are more traditional than other types of tennis courts, their maintenance costs are higher than those of hard courts and clay courts. They become wet and slippery if not covered with a suitable cover, at the time of rains.

Comparison between Clay court and Grass court:


Clay court

Grass court

Made with

Clay courts are made of different clays.

Grass courts are commonly, made up of rye-grasses.


These courts are made of crushed shale, stone or brick, and can be either red or green.

These courts are made up of grass grown on very hard-packed soil, which are similar to golf greens.

Common in

They are more common in Continental Europe and Latin America than in the United States, Canada or Britain.

They are most common in Britain.

Strategy while playing on the courts

It is very slow to play here and hence the ball bounces higher so it favors players who take their time and play with well-thought out game plans.

It has faster surface and hence, the ball bounces a lot lower, so players have to think and react quickly.


The clay (both green and red) favors the strong players with stamina.

They favor the players who can hit the ball hard and low.


These have water holding capacity.

These courts are often sloped in order to allow the water to run-off.

Maintenance cost

The maintenance cost is low compared to the grass courts.

The maintenance cost is high here.

Image Courtesy: thebuzzmedia.com

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