Why Do Tennis Players Slide

If you’ve been following the sport of tennis for some time now, you may have noticed how the game is changing and evolving slightly. Players are training differently, and incorporating new shots and techniques into their game, with interesting results.

If you watch some of tennis’ top players in action, particularly on hard courts and clay, you may notice how more and more of them are sliding to reach the ball. Not only does this style of play make for a very cool-looking visual, but it also offers certain practical advantages to the players’ games.

Why Do Tennis Players Slide

But why are more and more tennis pros now sliding, how does it work, and is it easy to master? Let’s find out shall we, as we look at why tennis players slide.

What are The Benefits of Sliding in Tennis?

To begin with, we’re going to take a quick look at some of the main benefits associated with sliding in tennis. 

Quicker Recovery

One of the main benefits of sliding in tennis is down to the fact that it can lead to quicker rates of recovery. 

Rafa Nadal, who is known as the ‘King of Clay’ is one of the best sliders in tennis. His ability to slide means that he can find his footing and recover quicker between shots, allowing him to get into position faster for the next shot. 

British pro, Andy Murray believes that the ability to be able to slide on grass was partly responsible for Novak Djokovic’s 7 Wimbledon Titles. 

Buying Time

Another benefit of sliding is the fact that it can buy you more time on the court. Players such as Carlos Alcaraz do so well on clay because by sliding, they can buy themselves more time. They’re able to reach the ball quicker and return the shot faster.

How Does Sliding Work on Each Surface?

If you’re a tennis fan, you will no doubt be familiar with clay courts and the French Open. If you are, you’ll know that sliding on clay is integral to the game. It isn’t just clay that players are now sliding on however. Now, players are sliding on all hard surfaces, and even grass courts under the right conditions.

Sliding on clay is similar to sliding on sandpaper or loose gravel. On hard surfaces, however, it’s like sliding on anti-slip surfaces. Experts believe that sliding came about due to the evolution of the game. As the game became faster and more intense, players were forced to adapt their style of play. As the ball is hit quicker, players need to get into position quicker and return shots faster, which is where sliding enters the picture.

As players run across the court, the rubber in their shoes becomes stiffer. This change can reduce how much contact there is between the shoe and the surface of the court. This then reduces the amount of traction force, resulting in the ability to slide.

How To Slide Better In Tennis?

Sliding in tennis may be a relatively new way of playing, but it can be incredibly advantageous. To help you master the slide in tennis, here are some useful tips for you to employ.

  • Improve your balance 
  • Slide before you hit the ball, not afterward 
  • Wear the correct tennis footwear 
  • Try to maintain a low center of gravity 
  • Try to get your timing right so that you slide into your shot at the correct time

You can start by practicing on clay courts and then move to harder ones.