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قراءة كتاب Making a Tennis Court

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‏اللغة: English
Making a Tennis Court

Making a Tennis Court

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دار النشر: Project Gutenberg
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material that has been used both in England and in this country for tennis courts, but it has never been popular. It makes such a gritty surface that the feet of the players become sore after a few sets.

Along the Jersey shore, tennis is popular, but conditions are unfavorable for the construction of either a turf or clay court. The soil consists chiefly of a heavy muck underneath, with a surface of fine beach sand, or it is composed almost entirely of sand. The building of clay courts in such localities necessitated the complete removal of the soil to a depth of nearly two feet, and the importation of clay from some distance. The fine seashore sand was used as a top-dressing. This sort of court has rarely proved satisfactory. The fine seashore sand works loose too easily under the action of the feet of the players, and the court soon showed unevenness. In order to use the seashore sand for surfacing, it is necessary to mix it with a large proportion of clay for a binder. If the proper mixture is obtained the surface is rendered fairly durable. Usually this proportion must be as high as two or three parts of clay to one of sand. Any larger proportion than two to one makes the drainage bad. There is not sufficient sand to make the surface porous, and water collects, making the court useless for some time after every rainstorm.

Dirt tennis court

A good dirt court is perhaps more expensive to build in the first place, but it is more easily kept in first-class condition

Nevertheless, some very fair courts have been made by using a foundation of cinders, and top-dressing with three inches of seashore sand and clay. In selecting the sand for this purpose, the coarsest found on the seashore should be chosen. The finest sand mixes with the clay without making it porous.

We have also concrete, cement, and asphalt tennis courts, but few of them are really satisfactory. They all have the disadvantage of being hard on the feet and the balls. The concrete and cement courts are, furthermore, very hard on the eyes. The white glare of the surface on sunny days frequently causes players to desist after a few games. Asphalt is not so hard on the eyes, but it is not an ideal material for tennis courts. It is very expensive, to begin with, and it is too easily affected by heat and cold. On hot days it sometimes gets too soft, and even sticky to the feet, for expert playing. In winter it is liable to crack with the frost, although this may be obviated if it is properly laid with a foundation of stones and cinders.

There is one other material that has been tried for tennis courts that is receiving considerable attention. This is wood. Indoor tennis in the winter season has long been popular among lovers of the game, and armories and other large buildings have been utilized as shelter. The courts here are naturally laid out on wooden floors. Fairly good tennis can be played on these, as there is more give and resiliency to wood than to concrete or cement, and it is not nearly so hard on the feet or balls.

The popularity of indoor tennis on wooden floors has led to the construction of wooden courts outdoors for winter playing. A properly constructed wooden court can be used all through the cold weather. Mud and water cannot interfere with the players. Snow can be removed, and the courts are immediately ready for playing.

An outdoor wooden court for winter use is rather an expensive work, for a solid foundation must be made of broken stones and small pebbles, topped off with a layer of concrete. Then the wooden floor is laid on top of this. The wooden courts are in process of evolution for outdoor use, and the most satisfactory way of building them is still disputed. One way is to use wooden blocks or squares set up on end, so that the grain of the wood runs up and down. Wooden pavements have long been made in this way, and they stand heavy traffic and constant use. There is no danger then from splinters, and they are very durable. The blocks are set close together, and the surface smoothed off with a floor scraper. If the court is worn in places, the surface can be scraped off at no great cost by a modern floor scraper. But the wooden surface must be laid on a solid foundation that will not be affected by the frost, or the wooden blocks will be thrown out of line. Also, the surface must be raised above the surrounding land so that water will not settle on the courts. The wooden tennis courts will undoubtedly become more and more popular for clubs as the demand for winter outdoor playing increases. Improvements will then be gradually made as experience teaches.



A properly constructed clay court is usually more expensive than a turf court, for the ground must be excavated to a depth of eight or ten inches so that a foundation can be made of stones, cinders, or gravel. The drainage problem is one of the most important in laying out clay courts, and, if overlooked, the most promising court will soon become a place for pools to collect. In time it will settle in spots and need constant repairs to keep it in any kind of condition. While it may take a good engineer to build a clay court suitable for professional playing, a novice can do work that is suitable for all ordinary purposes. As the cost of building one is largely due to the labor item, it may be achieved at one-third the total expense through the coöperation of several members of the family in excavating and hauling material to the site.

To make a good dirt court it will be necessary first to dig off the surface to a depth of at least one foot, and level it roughly with a spirit level. The cost of this excavation in ordinary dirt is not more than ten or fifteen dollars, but where rocks must be blasted away the cost may be five or six times as much.

After leveling the foundation, a six-inch layer of trap-rock, such as is used in macadamizing roads, or any broken stones ranging in size from a walnut to an egg, should be placed in the excavation. This must be leveled off also to keep the grade. An uneven tennis court will never give satisfaction. Before the next layer of gravel is placed on the trap-rock, provision must be made for drainage. There are several methods of draining a court, depending greatly upon the nature of the soil and the preference of the owners.

For ordinary soil a good method is to lay the drain pipe near the net and at right angles to the courts, dividing them in half. The drain pipe may consist of terra cotta sewer pipes cut in half or terra cotta gutters, such as are used on tiled roofs. They are laid parallel with the net and filled with loose stones. The drains are tilted sufficiently to carry the water off at the sides or to a receptacle in the center. Sometimes a barrel is sunk in the middle and filled with stones, and the drain pipes empty into it.

Another common method is to drain the courts at the end. In this case the court at the net is two inches higher than at the ends, and on porous soil this will be sufficient to carry off the water. When the drain pipe is placed near the net the tilt from the ends toward the center should be from one to two inches.

We have more difficult drainage problems in very thick loam and clay soils. Artificial drainage of a more elaborate nature is required here, or else the courts will be muddy and sticky for days after rainstorms. Drain pipes must be laid under the courts at various places, and tilted toward one particular point. The open drain pipes are laid down before the trap-rock is placed, and filled with broken stones so they will not clog up with dirt. Two or three of these lines of open pipe should be placed on either side of the net. They should run from the ends of the courts toward the net and drain into the