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Clay court tennis – a unique challenge

The clay court season is upon us – but what makes the red dirt different to other tennis surfaces?

Strictly, clay is actually a misnomer, as today’s traditional clay courts are instead made of a solid base – typically limestone – with crushed brick on top, enabling players to slide over the surface.

The clay court tennis season runs from April to June in Europe, with a raft of ATP and WTA tournaments culminating in the season’s only clay court grand-slam, the French Open at Roland Garros in Paris.

Spain’s Rafael Nadal – the so-called ‘King of Clay’ - is today’s most successful clay court player, and has racked up some astounding records over the past 15 years, including 10 French Open titles.

The high bounce on clay suits his heavy topspin forehand, and his formative years growing up on the surface in Majorca gave him an intrinsic understanding of clay court tennis, which requires more patience and construction of the points.

Clay courts are more prevalent in countries such as Portugal and Spain, as they can withstand the hot sun better than hard or grass courts. Clay is also softer than hard courts and as such the risk of injury is reduced, making it a more amenable surface for all levels of player.

If you’d like to try your hand at clay court tennis, you can do so at our wonderful Pine Cliffs resort in the Algarve, where we have two top of the range courts. We have three hard courts too so you can compare your game on the two surfaces!

Benefiting from southern Portugal’s 300 days of sunshine a year, wewelcome players all year round who wish to play and practice tennis on holiday.

Our qualified coaches provide a range of courses for both adults and children which are a great way to improve your tennis. All of this is surrounded by the landscaped gardens of the resort and the beach a short walk away!

If you’d like to improve your tennis on holiday in Portugal, you can contact us at

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Caribtours Limited (ATOL  Number 2674) work in partnership with and act as the Tour Operator for, Annabel Croft Tennis Holidays.  All the flights and flight-inclusive holidays on this website are financially protected by the ATOL scheme.  When you pay you will be supplied with an ATOL certificate.  Please ask for it and check to ensure that everything you booked (flights, hotels and other services) is listed on it.  Please see out booking conditions for further information or for more information about financial protection and the ATOL Certificate go to:


Pine Cliffs, Algarve


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Annabel Croft




Annabel Croft Holidays,
c/o Caribtours,
210 New Kings Road,
London, SW6 4NZ


Call: 0207 751 9042