Clay courts have to be well cared for. A clay court has to be damp when in use. Consequently after rain a clay court is in perfect condition. However, in dry weather the clay has to be watered before play and in exceptionally hot weather after each set.
Fortunately we have a pressurized watering system at St. Mary’s which enables members to water a court in just two minutes.
There is no need for Hawkeye on clay courts as the ball leaves a clear mark when it lands. However, after each set the marks caused by the ball and players’ footprints require erasing with drag mats. You will have seen on television groundsmen carrying out this task at Roland Garros, Monte Carlo, Rome, Barcelona and Madrid. However even the greatest champions are expected to do this themselves outside tournaments. It only takes about two minutes to brush a court, and we do ask our members to brush the court after every set in order to maintain their quality.
We have no strict dress code at St. Mary’s, but as clay is a natural surface, appropriate footwear is essential. The recommended clay sole has a herring bone pattern, which affords maximum grip without damaging the court surface. Any smooth soled trainers are fine, as are those with a very shallow tread.