There is a constant rant from players about court speed. It sounds like a broken record at times and the whole topic of court speed is a bit amusing because if a player is winning then the court is just as they like it but if they are not then it is either too fast or too slow. Even when officials swear on a stack of Bibles that nothing has been changed from one year to the next, players will still figure it is too slow or too fast.
The thing is everyone is never going to be satisfied. From one player to the next, there is a different opinion.
In the video interview here on We Are Tennis I did with Neil Stubley the head groundsman at Wimbledon I asked him about the speed of the grasscourts and if what the players say is a lot of mumbo jumbo.
He said it’s the weather conditions that change speed but other than that the grass is maintained the same, cut the same height, the foundations are the same and the grass seed composition is the same.
Here is that interview again:
Rafa Nadal was asked about the speed of the court at this year’s Wimbledon and he is the first player to say everyone is not going to be satisfied. This is Nadal’s verbatim comment to the questions:
Q. People say the grass at Wimbledon is either too fast, too slow. Does it really make any difference because everybody has to play on the surface no matter what?
RAFAEL NADAL: The problem with the players always is the same. If I am playing very well, I see the grass slow. If I am playing bad, I see the grass very quick. That is the same for me and the rest of the players. The feeling are not the same every year for the same players, no? You arrive to, for example, a tournament Montréal that is very fast. I remember 2005 I was there. I had an unbelievable feeling, I was playing great before I arrive to the tournament. I arrive to the locker room, everybody was saying the court was playing that fast. I didn't feel the court was that fast. Is always about the personal feeling of the people.
My personal feeling, I repeat my personal feeling, is I am playing in Wimbledon since in 2002. In 2002 I played Wimbledon junior. We are 2014. I don't see no one difference between that period of time. I don't know before.
Grass has always been regarded as a fast surface but I want a player to be specific by what they mean by fast or slow or whatever; how much of a difference it is and what it avoids them from doing. Not one has ever explained that.
And the conditions are going to change through the tournament anyway as the grass wears down.
This year’s Wimbledon has seen Nadal progress beyond the second round for the first time in three years. He was asked if winning the French Open-Wimbledon double was the toughest thing to do in the sport.
“No, I don't think so,” he said. “I am not sure on that because if we are thinking about our era, I don't see a big difference of winning Roland Garros and Wimbledon because in the end if you're in the final, you really make the same adjustment. You were able to play very well on grass, too.
“I was able to do that five times. Djokovic was able to play the final in Roland Garros or semifinals and then win here. So that match will not make a difference.
“I don't see that win Roland Garros and Wimbledon is so difficult one tournament by itself. The tough thing today is at the end mentally and physically you play a long clay court season. Not only the clay court season. You are coming from American hard court season. So one month in America, then one month and a half or two months in Europe playing on clay. Then mentally if you are able to win Roland Garros, you already played a lot of your time at your top mentally and physically. Is normal you go down little bit.
“The real thing is you don't have lot of time to prepare and to play matches on grass. But the best players were able to do it very well the last couple of years, the transition.”