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Betting on tennis. Playing on outdoor hard courts

Hard is a predominant court type used on the professional tour. Its popularity is attributed to numerous advantages as comparing to other court types. The organizers of tennis events speak about comfort, ornamental qualities and aesthetic appearance, maintenance ease and, most importantly, longevity and resistance to weather conditions of hard courts.

Types of tennis hard courts

Hard courts are made of multiple acrylic layers. Each layer has its own function. The number of layer determines quality and velocity characteristics of the court. According to ITF CS 01/01 qualification all hard courts fall into five types: slow, medium-slow, medium, medium-fast and fast. Hard surface are made of rigid materials that do not permit sliding.

Two of the most widely spread hard court types are the following:

Pure hard court (fast). No soft acryl layers are used. This is the most dangerous surface with a high injury rate. It suits the players who employ fast and aggressive tennis with a big serve and good net play (Ivo Karlovic and Roger Federer).

Cushioned hard (medium). Elastic resin is an additional layer that makes playing conditions softer. As a result, cushioned hard is more comfortable for feet and limbs. Fewer injuries are recorded on it. This type is a golden mean of hard courts and the most predominant in the tennis world.

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Service - return strategies on outdoor hard courts

Service and return on outdoor hard courts have something in common with these elements on indoor hard courts and clay ones. The main rule to be complied with is the following: the faster the surface is the more important return and high first serve rate are; the slower the surface is, the more important the first serve speed and active return game are.  

There is a tendency showing that the organizers of the tennis events prefer to cover courts with slower hard materials with increasing frequency. As a result, outdoor hard courts require high speed of the first serve and aggressive return of the second serve.

Nick Bolletieri, the American tennis coach and one of the greater tennis personalities in the USA, speaks about the hard court tactics and points out that big serve, solid net game, big return and variable groundstrokes are the key elements to hard court success. Choosing the tactics for every match one has to consider the opponent’s style characteristics and make the most of it to prevail.  

How weather conditions affect outdoor tennis on hard courts

Hard courts tennis is affected by weather conditions in a larger scale than indoor, grass or even clay events. It’s all clear about indoor facilities – the playing conditions stay constant there. As for grass and clay events, they do take place in a shorter period of time and on one continent. That’s why external conditions are more or less constant and easy to adapt.

As for outdoor tournaments on hard, they are scheduled on different continents and undergo different weather elements. This is what the players think about it.

Boris Becker: “This is the surface with most injuries recorded on. During the Australian Open hot sun makes the court as sliding as a skating rink or as sticky as a bog. Playing in such conditions is really tough. What’s more, when heated up the synthetic materials start smelling really bad, says the German tennis legend.  

It’s not rare for the USA to suffer strong winds blowing. In this case the players employing strong top spins get advantage. Their shots get more reliable and are less affected by the gusts of wind. As for the Miami and Cincinnati Masters, they are always played in hot and humid conditions. As a result, these events become a real challenge for the players’ stamina. Indian-Wells Masters and the Canadian Open, scheduled one week prior, make the things even worse. 

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Tennis techniques on outdoor hard courts

Playing techniques employed on outdoor hard courts mainly depend on the moderate playing speed. When playing on fast courts the players mainly rely on their strong sides. If it is a big server, he would build his play on his service play. On slow courts power and stamina are more important. If a player has some drawbacks in his technique, clay will cover them. Power is what matters most.

As for the outdoor hard courts, it’s vital not to show your poor sides. Any opponent will easily benefit from them. Be it a bad return or a weak service play, they will be hard to make up for. Backhand wing is also a must. There is no time to run around forehand. Hone your backhand. So generally speaking, it’s not about the best forehand on tour or the biggest serve in history. Hard courts will favor all-courts players with no distinctly poor sides.

Betting on outdoor hard court events

Avoid huge negative handicaps. With no clear signs, don’t select -4.0 handicaps and lower as it’s rather hard to convert break points on hard. More often the final score will look like 6:4 6:4.

Consider the schedule time of the event, especially its temperature parameters. It’s really difficult to perform on hard in the afternoon when the sun is high. Any player will hardly show his best tennis when its +30°C outside (+86ºF). But there are some special issues to take into account. A pre-match favorite may try to close out the match as quickly as possible not to spend a lot of time in the sun. If this is the case, negative handicaps are likely to take place.

The forehand is a universal weapon of the most players. Many of them build their game behind powerful forehand shots. At the same time players with weak backhand wing are more vulnerable on outdoor hard courts. But be attentive to consider current physical condition of the players.  

A resume: back the lefties more often.

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Set betting. If you want to play set betting you’ll have to pick the exact result of the match. Very often 2:0 (3:0 for grand slams) score is a good alternative to negative handicaps. Favorites don’t wish to spend more time than necessary on courts and will pull hard to end it up in two sets.

Speaking about the positive handicaps on outdoor hard courts, it should be dealt with special attention. The reason is that it’s easier to hold the serve on such courts than on clay. So if the bookies offer a +5.5 handicap and over, don’t rush to bet at it. A pre-match underdog may perform more successful than you have expected or a favorite can fail the entire affair.  

And a great rally to finish up.

Thanks for reading and stay tuned for Dotennis previews and articles!


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