Very good description!BitterDodgerFan wrote:i think clay is more different than the other surfaces in it that it slows down the ball a lot. from what i hear, grass is super fast and clay is super slow and clay favors persistent baseliners who are physically fit. usually those players are endurance players who can tire out the opponent with long rallies, and run down everything that they normally couldn't on fast surfaces. consistent defensive play is a rewarded here against power and aggressiveness. now i have only played on hard court, thats all we have in US it seems, so i can't say from experience. but the results speak for themselves as great players like sampras, mcenroe, connors, edberg, and becker never won it. a lot of the past winners though have been 1 dimensional clay court specialists that doesn't win other surfaces like gustavo kuerton, who won the thing 3 times!
It's worth noting that hard court surfaces can run the gambit from superfast to pretty slow. I played a match a couple weeks ago at a park I'd never been to before. Afterwards, my opponent and I had a discussion about how hard those particular courts were compared to others in the area. Though he was significantly below my skill level, it took me two games to get used to how fast his ground strokes jumped off those courts. This is in contrast to the hard court surface I played on in college. It was not at all uncommon for my opponents to comment on how slow the courts at my college were, and even the pros that came through in the satellite tournament in the summer would echo those feelings.
That said, while us Americans like to think that hard courts are a blend/compromise between the qualities of grass and clay, the truth is that most hard courts are built to favor the power hitter.