MUGA/Tennis Court Installation in Oxted, Surrey 3

How long does tennis court construction take?

One of the most common questions we receive from homeowners interested in having a tennis court constructed is: how long will the process take? It is undoubtedly an important issue given the implications of having a part of the home or garden be a construction site for a period of time. However, it can be a difficult question to answer because there are a number of factors to consider.

Standard construction time

It is challenging to give something like an estimated construction time without having had a chance to look over the proposed site. This is why we will we always carry out a survey of the area that you would like to have turned into a court so that we can give you a good estimate of the time that it will take. Here we will consider some of the potential challenges such as levelling the surface or carrying out other groundworks.

Weather permitting

Another issue that can affect court construction time is the weather. This is why it is common for tennis courts to be constructed over the summer months to attempt to minimise this problem. Starting construction over the rainier seasons can extending the completion time significantly.

The process

Ultimately, having a court constructed will always take a minimum of around two months. As the groundwork needs to be completed and allowed to cure for a period of time before the actual court surface can be constructed.

If you are interested in learning more about having a tennis court constructed, please don’t hesitate to get in contact with our team today.

Tennis

Is a grass court worth it?

For many homeowners it is their dream to own a tennis court – and in a perfect scenario they would have a grass court. Much of this is down to the popularity of the world’s most important tennis tournament, Wimbledon, which is famously played on grass. But while you might love to play on a grass court, there are many other aspects of ownership that aren’t as fun.

If you are interested in the possibility of getting a grass court installed, it’s worth understanding some of challenges associated with this type of surface, as well as some of the alternatives available.

The maintenance

Maintaining a grass court is a lot of work. To be able to play on the surface it is needs to be uniformly mown very short, whilst the grass needs to be in extremely good condition. Any poor patches can negatively effect play or even make it impossible. Maintaining a grass court takes up a great deal of time and expense, and needs to be worked on year-round.

Limited play time

Grass courts are very prone to playability problems if they experience any kind of poor weather. Even a light drizzle for a couple of hours can make it impossible to play on a grass court, and if you are playing and it starts to rain you might need to cut your play short. Additionally, due to the nature of the surface, there are no draining properties. This means that even a small amount of rain can make the court unplayable for a number of days.

The alternatives

Thankfully there are fantastic alternatives to real grass in the form of synthetic grass courts. These are quick draining courts that take very little maintenance. They are also far cheaper to manage over the course of their life span.

Tennis surfaces: what’s the best playing style?

Sometimes improving at tennis is about more than just practice. It could be the case that the way that you play is right for one type of surface but is not well suited to another. Here we take a look at the different tennis court surface and the styles of play that suited them best.

Grass

Traditionally the most popular and theoretically most effective playing style on a grass court (or a synthetic grass court) is the serve-and-volley style. This type of play emphasises powerful serving and fast shots. The player will typically hit their serve and then immediately rush towards the net to attempt to volley a winner before their opponent can get settled. This style can end points very quickly, disrupting opponents’ rhythm.

Serve-and-volley was once almost universally used on grass courts but it has become rarer in recent years. Well-known proponents of the style have included Tim Henman, Pete Sampras, John McEnroe, Martina Navratilova and Martina Hingis. While less common today, many players still use the serve-and-volley style on occasion, such as Roger Federer, Nicolas Mahut and Feliciano Lopez.

Clay

Clay is a much slower court than grass, so it nullifies the kinds of powerful shots that are so effective on grass. On clay then, it pays to be a little subtler with your play. The best clay court players are masters of spin, timing and lesser-used shots such as the drop shot. Players like Rafael Nadal, Simona Halep and Fabio Fognini are modern players who specialise in playing on clay.

Juan Carlos Ferrero and Thomas Muster are big names from the past who helped to develop and evolve the clay court style.

Hardcourt

The nature of the hardcourt surface means that it is suitable for multiple styles of play. In the modern game, the majority of players employ a ‘baseline’ style, hitting shots from the baseline without moving too far back or too far forward. Faster than clay courts but slower than grass courts, playing well on a hardcourt means having a good all-round game.

As the majority of tennis tournaments are played on the hard surface, most today’s top players have games that are well suited to the hard court.

Tennis Court Surface Closeup Image

Singles and doubles court: what’s the difference?

With years of expertise creating beautiful tennis courts for homes, sports centres and schools, Sovereign Sports has plenty of experience not only in building the surface, but also in spraying the markings. Many people enjoy tennis but don’t actually understand the court markings particularly well – specifically they may not understand the difference between a court during a singles or doubles match.

Of course, the vast majority of tennis courts are marked with full doubles. This is the familiar shape of court that you will have seen if you have watched Wimbledon or played on a standard tennis court.

Singles

Even though singles tennis is more common (and more popular to watch) there are parts of the painted court that are not used in standard singles tennis. The outermost lines that run lengthways down the edges of the court are referred to specifically as the ‘doubles side-line’ – in singles tennis you can ignore these lines altogether (as well as the small lines connecting the baseline with the doubles side-line).

So, in fact a singles court only makes use of the surface inside the baseline and the singles side-line. You can consider the singles court to only use the interior boxes. To serve a player stands at the base line and has to serve into the corresponding service box. After the serve both players are free to hit the ball anywhere inside the baseline and singles side-lines.

Doubles

With doubles, players serve the same way – having to serve into the service boxes – but players can then hit into any space within the baseline and the doubles side-line. So, while the overall size of the court is larger for doubles, players have to play within the same serving restrictions as in singles tennis.

Your court can of course be painted only for singles competition, but this is very rare as most owners prefer to have the option for both.

Tennis Court Closeup

Do you need planning permission to build a tennis court?

Home tennis courts are growing in popularity. Aside from being a great way to stay in shape, having a tennis court can also improve the value of your home as well as providing a lovely centrepiece for the property. But many homeowners are put off the idea by perceived bureaucratic challenges such as getting planning permission.

However, if you are thinking of having a tennis court installed, it is good to know that having to get planning permission is a rarity. Here we take a look at whether you are likely to need permission to have a court installed.

Is there a change of use?

One reason that you might need to get planning permission for your court is if the land that you want to build the court on requires a change of use. For example, if you want to use arable land currently classed as farmland and convert it into tennis courts, you would need to apply for a change of use.

However, if you are using your garden this will not constitute a change of use in most circumstances so you typically would not require permission.

Is the property in a conservation area?

If you live in a conservation area or have specific building restrictions placed on your home, then it will be necessary for you to get in contact with your local council to discuss whether you need planning permission. Often there are different restrictions placed on properties so it is important to understand yours. The same applies if your property is heritage listed.

Every situation is different, and for some there may be few barriers to getting a tennis court installed, whereas for others it will be extremely challenging to gain permission.

Are you having floodlights installed?

Another time that would require planning permission is if you are having floodlights installed at your tennis court. As floodlights are above ground level they will usually require planning permission. If you struggle to gain permission it can be sensible to look into retractable floodlights, as these are typically looked on more favourably than static lights.

Three common myths about tennis courts

There are many myths and misconceptions hanging around about tennis courts and how they are constructed. The truth is that many of them have no basis in fact at all. Here we look at three common tennis courts myths and the truth behind them.

Myth 1: You can only have a hard court installed

It is commonly thought that if you want to have a tennis court installed in your property, your only option is to have a hard court surface. While there is no doubt that hard court is the most popular of the tennis surfaces found in the UK, it is possible to have others installed. High quality synthetic courts such as artificial grass and even artificial clay can be easy constructed.

Myth 2: Tennis courts require constant maintenance

This myth has likely manifested due to the fact that the UK’s most well-known and prestigious tennis tournament, Wimbledon, is played on grass. Grass courts are extremely high maintenance, requiring year-round work. However, standard tennis courts such as hard courts or the synthetic surfaces mentioned above only require a little maintenance to stay in excellent condition.

A well-maintained court will also enjoy a very long lifespan. You may get more than a decade’s worth of play without any noticeable wear and tear.

Myth 3: It’s hard to get planning permission

It is also assumed that if you want a tennis court on your property you are going to have to get planning permission. However, if you are interested having a court built there is some good news: generally, if the land does not require a change of use, there will be no need to get planning permission. Of course this can vary on a case-by-case basis, for example if you live in a conservation area, but for the vast majority of properties, a court can be built without seeking permission.

It should be noted that if you want to have floodlights installed, these may require permission. In any case we recommend seeking advice from your local council.

Andy Murray Playing Tennis

Favourite court surfaces of the most famous tennis players

Tennis courts come in a range of different surfaces from the standard hard court to the rarer grass and clay courts.

Andy Murray

Clay is listed as Andy Murray’s favourite surface in his ITF profile. And while this might be the case it can’t be denied that it also the surface that he has seen the least success on. An all-court player, Murray’s game works well on every surface, but given his two wins at Wimbledon as well as his Olympic gold medal, it would be fair to say that his favourite surface is grass!

Serena Williams

Serena Williams has been so dominant across her 23-year career that she has won extensively on every surface. She has won every Grand Slam at least three times having won both Wimbledon and the Australian Open seven times. However, according to Serena herself, clay is her favourite surface to play on.

Roger Federer

There’s no doubting Roger Federer’s favourite surface. He has won a record eight titles on the grass of Wimbledon.

Rafael Nadal

Rafael Nadal is another player who makes no secret of his favourite surface. Known by the nickname, the King of Clay he holds a record of 11 French Open titles – the only Grand Slam that takes place on clay.

Venus Williams

Venus struggles on clay (although struggle is a relative term) – it’s the only surface she has never won a Grand Slam on. Conversely she is most confident on grass where her height and power can be used to full advantage – she has won the Wimbledon title five times.

Novak Djokovic

Very much a player at home on every surface, Djokovic has gone on record many times to say that the hard court is his favourite surface. Unsurprisingly his record on the two hard court Grand Slams is exceptional, with six wins at the Australian Open and two at the US Open.

Johanna Konta

The home grass courts are Johanna Konta’s favourite surfaces to play on and her semi-final performance at the 2017 Wimbledon Championships was very impressive. But over the course of her career, Konta has had more success of hard court than any other surface.

Tennis Court Surface Closeup Image

Tips for avoiding wear on your tennis court

Tennis courts are sturdy and long-lasting but if they are not looked after properly they can wear down just like any other surface. And the truth is that a lot of this wear is avoidable if you take sensible steps. When used correctly and kept in good condition your tennis court surface can last more than a decade without significant wear, but this can be drastically reduced if the court is misused. Here are some tips for avoiding wear on your tennis court.

Have court rules

If you have multiple people using your court then it is important to have rules. For example, if you have children who regularly bring round friends to play, it is vital that there are rules for them to follow. Children may be tempted to use the court for other purposes such as for skateboarding or rollerblading, and this can seriously affect the surface.

Sweep the court

It’s often important to remember to do the simple things as they can make a huge difference to wear on your court. Sweeping your court regularly is a really important part of overall maintenance. Set aside time to sweep the court and make sure it is carried out at least once a week. It’s also worth breaking from the routine and giving the court a sweep any time that you see leaves or other debris on the surface.

Don’t let water stand

Standing water is very bad for the lifespan of your court. Your court should be designed to drain effectively, but sometimes this can be overwhelmed by heavy rainfall which leaves large puddles on the court. It is important to sweep away these puddles as soon as you see them forming. Leaving the water there will just allow it to eat away at the surface.

Tennis ball on a hardcourt

Why tennis court maintenance is still important in the summer

All tennis courts require some form of maintenance. Some tennis court owners assume that they only really need to put the work in when the weather is poor, however this is not the case. The most popular type of home tennis court is the hard court, made using all-weather macadam and while this is hard-wearing and easy to maintain, it is still vital that you are carrying out basic work on a regular basis through the summer months.

Firstly, it should be stated that caring for a home tennis court is easy and doing it right can prolong the life of the surface and ensure that your court remains in good condition for longer. So there is no excuse not to carry out your maintenance work.

In general, tennis court maintenance involves the regular sweeping of the court, to get rid of any detritus such as leaves and rubbish. Do not leave the court for weeks on end without sweeping it, as dirt can build up which then becomes much harder to clean. It should also be mentioned that acidic substances such as bird droppings should be cleaned off the surface as soon as they are seen. Acidic substances eat away at the court, and if left for a long period they can actually cause cracks and bumps to appear.

You also need to remember to get your court power washed every few months. The court might look relatively clean and tidy, but power washing is the only way to get rid of the dirt and dust that has built up over time.

Summer is the time when your court gets the most use, so it is vital that the surface is in good condition while you play. Make sure that you carry out the maintenance to ensure that court is perfect when you come to play.

Tennis player on serve

How to improve your tennis forehand

Every tennis player would love to make changes to their game to help them improve, and there is no doubt that the forehand is one of the key shots that can make this happen. Whether you have a private court in your garden and can spend hours practicing, or you only get the chance to head down to the local tennis club every so often, there are changes that anyone can make to improve.

Use the tool of visualisation

If you are struggling to improve your forehand, one of the best techniques to use is that of visualisation. The forehand might seem like a simple shot, but it involves a lot of technique to perform it correctly. To get the most out of the shot you to practice with positive repetition, but ensure that you are getting the swing and the movement correct. Visualise how your body needs to move to hit the shot, and then practice.

Keep it simple

Don’t try to copy the movements and grips of professional tennis players. Simplify your forehand and work on a stroke that is effective for you.

Make your feet do the work

It’s easy to assume that it is your arm that does all the hard work in the forehand, but remember that your footwork is just as important. To hit a forehand properly you need to be balanced, and that requires you to have your feet in the right place. Move into position early to give yourself plenty of time to set up the shot.

Knowing when not to hit a forehand

Many players feel more confident with their forehand than their backhand, but this can end up actually weakening your game. Having to run around your backhand to hit a forehand will almost certainly end up meaning that your forehand technique is rushed, and not as good as it could be.