Courts Pass The Test

Jan 20, 2009

I’m not sure if you remember, but there was plenty of talk at last years Australian Open about the new court surface being used for the first time. The Rebound Ace that had been a fixture of the tournament for the last twenty years was replaced with a more modern surface known as Plexicushion.

The Rebound Ace was known to have a bounce that varied with the court temperature, while this new surface is meant to have a more consistent bounce across all temperatures.

There was however one question about the new surface that was not tested last year, but it has certainly been tested over the first couple of days of this tournament.

Doubts had been raised about the ability of the new material to withstand extreme heat. Apparently the softening point of the resin was thought to be around fifty degrees celcius (122 F). For the court to get this hot, the air temperature would need to get close to forty degrees celcius (104 F). If this melting point is reached it would result in a surface that grabs the player’s shoes a little more, greatly increasing their risk of injury.

I have heard it mentioned that the maker’s of Rebound Ace were praying for a day of sustained high temperature – their melting point is much higher at around eighty degrees celcius (176 F), and the quality of their court surfaces have improved in the last twenty years. Any defects in the new court surface could see them ripped out and replaced by the Rebound Ace.

With the mercury hitting close to the forty degree mark at times over the first two days, all would appear to be well with the new courts. Temperatures for the rest of the week are predicted to drop off a little, which I’m sure many of the players will be looking forward to with some relief, while the Rebound Ace suits may be less impressed.

Written by: Crooksy

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