© Ella Ling

Roger Federer

Melbourne diary - are the courts quicker this year?


Roger Federer started the ball rolling when he mentioned in press, almost in passing, that he felt the speed of the courts at Melbourne Park to be around 10 percent faster than last year. Sam Querrey picked up the subject on Wednesday when he said the outside courts here are faster than any outside courts he’s ever played on at a grand slam event.

Now Sam has played at Wimbledon several times and even though they’ve slowed down the grass a little over the years (and the balls), you would have thought that he would have put grass above hard courts in terms of speed. On a side-note, Querrey once said he didn’t see any difference between the speed of clay courts and hard courts.

However, when Federer speaks on such matters, people notice. The Swiss is one of those players who would love the Tour to liven up some of the slow surfaces a little, so The Tennis Space looked into it and Tournament Director, Craig Tiley, explained that once the courts at Melbourne Park are resurfaced, they increase in speed until they reach a plateau. This year, because they were resurfaced slightly earlier, they have already reached that plateau – medium-fast – and will stay at that speed throughout the tournament. The science behind it all is really quite fascinating, especially if you’re a little on the geeky side, like me.


Tennis players get a lot of stick for being “boring” by playing computer games between matches or spending their time doing equally unethereal things. So it was a nice change to walk into the players’ restaurant today and see Feliciano Lopez and a few friends playing chess. They do say a lot of tennis matches are like chess games, after all.