With the start of the new European clay-court season next week in Monte Carlo, it’s time to take a look at what makes clay a unique surface and its impact on your tennis betting.
<p>Clay courts are normally among the slowest court-surfaces when compared to hard court or grass and often producing long rallies from the baseline. The courts are also more responsive to spin, which means that heavy topspin shots will bounce higher than on other surfaces. The most common forms are red clay made from white limestone covered with a few millimetres of powdered red brick dust.</p><p>Red clay courts are more common in Europe and South-America while green clay, also known as rubico or Har-Tru, it’s used in North America. The green clay courts are made from crushed basalt, also known as a volcanic rock, which makes the conditions slightly faster when compared to the traditional red clay. Despite its popularity in the United States, the Volvo Car Open in Charleston is the only venue on the ATP and WTA Tour combined which hosts an event on green clay.</p><p>The road to Roland Garros begins next at the Monte-Carlo Country Club. The Rolex Monte-Carlo Masters is the first ATP Masters 1000 tournament on the European clay-court season and is the only Masters 1000 to not have a mandatory player commitment but most of the top players still choose to play the event. The other two Masters 1000 events over this period are the Mutua Madrid Open and the Internazionali BNL d’Italia in Rome. These are the three most important tournaments before the French Open but it’s important to mention also the Barcelona Open Banc Sabadell, the only ATP 500 event of the European clay-court season.</p><p>From these four events, Monte Carlo, Rome and Barcelona have very similar game conditions. All are located at sea level, which means that the courts are overall slower and ideal for consistent baseline players such as Rafael Nadal. The best clay-court player of all time enjoys the game conditions in Monte Carlo, Rome and Barcelona with an incredible record on these three events. Nadal won 139 of his previous 151 matches on these three events and is an 11-time champion in Monte Carlo and Barcelona and an eight-time champion in Rome.</p><p>The Mutua Madrid Open is the other main tournament on the road to Roland Garros but the conditions are considerably different. Madrid offers unique conditions to the players because of its altitude of around 667m (2,188 ft) above sea level. As we discussed in our <a href="https://www.oddsmarket.com/tips/tennis/how-can-weather-conditions-influence-your-tennis-tips/89723/" target="_blank" title="How Can Weather Conditions Influence Your Tennis Tips?">weather conditions article</a>, altitude has a significant impact on the game conditions. The ball travels through the air at a much higher speed, which benefits big hitters and powerful servers. For that reason, consistent baseline players like Nadal have a much harder task on these conditions with the <a href="https://www.oddsmarket.com/tips/tennis/why-being-left-handed-is-an-advantage-in-tennis/89626/" target="_blank" title="Why Being Left-Handed is an Advantage in Tennis?">left-handed Spaniard</a> winning only four titles in his previous 10 appearances on this event.</p><p>Regarding Roland Garros, the most important clay-court tournament of the tennis calendar has similar conditions to the ones in Monte Carlo, Barcelona and Rome. However, it's important to keep in mind that external factors can have a significant impact on the court speed. Clay is a unique surface and the conditions can change drastically from one day to the other. Besides altitude, temperature also affects the way the ball reacts once it makes contact with the surface and this make the difference between winning and losing your <a href="https://www.oddsmarket.com/tips/tennis/" target="_blank" title="More Predictions & Free Tennis Tips">tennis bets</a>. The ball bounces much higher at high temperatures while on cold and cloudy days, it's very hard for heavy topspin to be an effective weapon. For that reason, it is essential to you know not only the players’ style but also the weather forecast since it may have a decisive impact in the outcome of a match. Keep in mind that heavy topspin is a great weapon on hot and dry conditions while flat shots can still make a significant damage on cold and wet clay.</p>