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Training on clay is the right move

Paris - “It awakens your tennis IQ; that’s what I would say,” says coach Jose Higueras, a former Spanish player who joined the U.S. Tennis Association’s player development staff three decades ago and now advises coaches. “Obviously, if you learn how to play on clay, it teaches you better strategy. The surface forces you to build the points; you cannot get away with a big serve, because the ball is going to come back. It forces you to actually develop a strategy, better movement and better concepts.”

“It was definitely a very big learning curve, understanding how a ball bounces on clay,” Chang recalls. “I didn’t know the best way to play on it; I’d play on it like a hard court, and when I did that, I’d get in trouble because I’d be out of position.”​

“You learn how to construct a point better on clay,” Evert explains. “It takes thinking ahead. It’s like a chess match, thinking ahead maybe a shot or two: ‘If I drop-shot now, she’ll pull in.’ And you better be fit enough to hit 12 or 13 shots instead of three or four. It takes fitness and patience to win a point on clay.”

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