Opinion of Tennis Ireland CEO

From Tennis Ireland CEO Richard Fahey:

It is the view of Tennis Ireland that clay courts are the best surface for the development of players. In summary the reasons we believe this to be the case are as follows

– Almost two thirds of all ITF events are played on clay
– Improved decision making as longer rallies are played.
– Longer rallies means improved mental toughness and endurance.
– Players learn to be a lot more patient.
– A variety of shots including spins and angles are required to win points.
– Softer surface provides less stress to the body.

Ireland’s climate has made the proliferation of clay courts unsustainable which is why the artificial grass has taken precedence.

In recent years Artificial or Hybrid clay systems have been marketed with mixed results. The majority of them have been little more than artificial grass courts painted dark red to look like a clay surface

Tennis IReland in conjunction with a number of clubs undertook a study visit to Holland and the UK to look at the clay systems in use. These countries were specifically chosen on account of their similar climate to Ireland.

In summary, the group felt that the Red Plus system was by far and away the best artificial / hybrid system on the market in that in played like clay in terms of bounce, spin receptivity and slide but also on account of its drainage tendencies which were very similar to artificial grass thus making them playable all year round.

Naas Tennis Club became the first Irish club to install the system and have been exceptionally pleased with the results. The courts have proved very popular and according to our performance players who played on them they are very realistic to real clay courts that are played on in Europe.

We would be happy to recommend the system and are currently exploring a partnership with Red Plus for them to become the official clay court partner of Tennis Ireland. As outlined the only stumbling block to this is that I am insisting that they engage with more than one installer in order to ensure that there is some competition in the market place.

I’d be happy to come to the club if required to discuss the surface as I’m sure would Shane Spring who was the liaison person between Red Plus and Naas