Article  MS605 
                                                                           Practicing and playing on clay 

I have for a long time said that it is essential in the modern tennis world for up and coming players to practice and play on clay.

Who is number one in the world at this present time - Nadal - not only is he the best player for a long time on the clay court but
has now also advanced his tennis in the hard court arena. The emerging nations with the most players in the top tennis arena,
all play and practice on clay - France - Spain - South American countries etc.,

If we look at the top 10 players in the ATP rankings at the end of 2008 at least 7 of them grew up on clay and this was down from
8 in the previous year. In the top 10 year-end rankings since 1973 - 83% grew up on the clay surface.

What does this message convey to us - if you wany to produce champions at the top of the game - they must train and play on
clay! Until nations such as Britain and the USA get a lot more clay courts - we are only going to produce the odd champions, now
and again.

Tip:  If you have promising juniors, try to find some clay courts where they can practice regularly -  gradually clubs are realising
the benefits of clay and putting down some courts (we have three now), try to persuade your club to do the same.

I personally do not think the clay courts being put down in the UK are up to the stadard of those in france, spain etc., but they are
certainly better than none.

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