A rare sight – natural grass courts


Yesterday I was walking through a suburb called Mount Pleasant near Perth, when I suddenly and accidentally started to hear a familiar voice – plop, plop, plop. Tennis balls being hit! I took a look to the left and there it was – a vast field filled with tennis courts and players. First there were courts looking like the Australian Open surface – even the colours were the same. After that there were several artificial grass courts. And finally the real deal – natural grass courts. At least they looked like natural with the grass a little worn out in places. Soon I learned that the place was called the Blue Gum Park Tennis Club.

I wonder how these courts stay in shape if there are people playing on them all the time. At Wimbledon the courts wear out pretty quickly and the area near the baseline is basically without any grass after one week of play. But maybe the recreational play isn´t so taxing? The players move slower and softer. So it may be possible after all.

The Australian Open was played on grass until the year 1987, so there are traditions for the surface. The US Open was too played on grass before it moved to clay and then to hard courts. Somehow the natural grass looks better on the eye than the rubber composites we are used to having now. On maybe it´s only because I love the nature.

Two days ago I was planning to go to see the State Tennis Centre in Burswood where the best players in Western Australia are training. But it started to rain, so there was no point in going. The landscape in Burswood is, however, is a changed one. The Burswood Dome, where the Hopman Cup was played until two years ago, has disappeared altogether. And the parking lot is twice as big! Several years ago I stayed at Holiday Inn on Burswood, but even the hotel has changed names and the brand lately. It is now called Crown Promenade. The players used to stay at the more glamourous and expensive Intercontinental just around the corner. I don´t think they will stay anymore, since the Perth Arena is so far away.

Changes, changes – but hopefully the natural grass stays some way or the other – at least at Wimbledon.


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