Clay courts have to be well cared for. The surface should be firm for play. Footprints should not be visible. It is not possible to play when it is soft, after heavy rain or frost. 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 grounds staff 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 drag a court, and we do ask our members to do this after every set in order to maintain their quality.