Tennis News Wire -
Roger Federer has joined the campaign to use faster courts in top flight tennis as the feeling grows that slower surfaces are not only aiding the defensive players but also causing rallies to last longer, meaning more marathon encounters and consequently a greater injury risk.
Federer maintains attacking play doesn’t always reap the benefits it deserves even on hard courts and even grass, because they're now designed to be slower than they used to be.
"It's an easy fix,” said Federer after having to be content with finalist’s spot in the Barclays ATP World Tour Finals. “Just make quicker courts, then it's hard to defend. Having an attacking style is more important. It's only on this type of slow courts that you can defend the way we are all doing right now."
Federer maintained having more tournaments played on faster surfaces could make it easier for other players to challenge the leading quartet of himself, Novak Djokovic, the currently injured Rafael Nadal and Andy Murray who monopolized this year’s Grand Slam titles.
“I think some variety would be nice, some really slow stuff and then some really fast stuff, instead of trying to make everything sort of the same," said Federer. "You sort of protect the top guys really by doing that because you have the best possible chance to have them in the semis at this point, I think. But should that be the goal? I'm not sure.”
Former Wimbledon champion Pat Cash started the campaign before the start of the event at the London 02 Arena in his column for the Sunday Times newspaper.
Addressing the subject of slower surfaces, Cash said: “It is taking a heavy toll. I don’t want to see more and more players getting exhausted and injured, and I also don’t want to see everyone playing the same sort of game.
“Since Wimbledon, the calendar has pretty much decreed play has been exclusively on hard court, outdoors and more recently indoors. The slow abrasive court surface contributes to more extended rallies and therefore longer matches.
“Just the other week, Djokovic and Murray contested a best of three sets final in Shanghai that lasted three and a half hours. Back in my day, we hardly ever went beyond two. And of course it’s almost routine now for best-of-five sets encounter on hard courts in Grand Slam to stretch beyond the five hours mark. Remember this year’s Australian and US Open finals.”
Cash isn’t suggesting a return to the super-fast carpet surfaces employed a couple of decades ago but wonders why tournament directors instruct hard courts to be laid with added abrasive sand in the top acrylic layer, designed to slow down the ball.
He said: “Such a change would reward the attacking player who goes to the net and return that most necessary element to the sport of tennis: variety.”