The Butler Club Tennis team participated in the Toledo Clay Court Invitational last weekend from October 19-21 and finished in 3rd place with a 5-1 record. There was great play all around and it was awesome to see the new faces on the team enjoying their first tournament.

One interesting factor about this tournament was that it was played on clay, not hard court like we are used to in the tennis bubble. Many of our players had never played on clay before, so we sat down and talked about the differences between playing on the different surfaces. Clay lends itself to much longer, more tactical points; the ball bounces higher and slower, which means you can get more balls back to your opponent. Another key part of playing on clay is learning how to slide. You can be a good player without learning this skill, but sliding on clay courts allows for faster recovery (and it looks pretty cool).

Here’s a link showing how to slide:

Finally, the other variable our players had to deal with was the wind. A cold front was coming through during the weekend, so the winds really began to pick up throughout the tournament (we even had to go inside at one point, it got so windy). The best way to combat blustery conditions is to put tons of spin on your shots. The more spin you use, the more the ball will cut through the wind. Also, depending on the wind direction, you should change your tactics. It the wind is at your back, use lots of topspin and move forward into the court; your opponent’s shots will get held up in the air, allowing you to be more aggressive and take control of the court. In the opposite situation, you can swing much harder on your shots. You don’t need to worry about hitting the ball long, the wind will bring it back in. So go for it!

That’s all from this weekend. Go Dawgs!

Posted by Erich Endres