April 2021

Fast tennis! Laykold® tennis court surfaces and their ITF classification

Laykold® is a brand of hard court surface coatings that can be built on an asphalt or concrete base and installed with or without an elastic layer. On the professional tennis tour (ATP and WTA), most tournaments are played on tennis courts with acrylic coating, such as Laykold®.

Laykold® was first used between 1920 and 1930. Since then, this system has been installed on more than 100,000 courts around the world. Laykold® is, among others, the official surface of the US Open, Miami Open and New York Open.

Laykold® courts can be individually installed, according to ITF classifications, in "2" (Medium-Slow), "3" (Medium) and "4" (Medium-Fast) speeds.

The measure of speed: The ITF Court Pace Classification

Tennis today is much faster than it was twenty or thirty years ago. In professional tennis, a ball can reach extreme speeds during an exchange (the fastest measured speed of a serve is 263 km/h).

In order to compare the speed of tennis surfaces, the ITF Court Pace Classification Programme was developed. The ITF (International Tennis Federation) classifies surfaces into one of five categories according to their court pace rating: 1 - slow, 2 - medium-slow, 3 - medium, 4 - medium-fast, 5 - fast.

ITF classifications

What does the speed of court surfaces mean for the tennis sport?

The game of tennis is generally becoming faster, more athletic and more diverse. Not only due to the choice of surface, the ball speed also depends on several components such as the height of the player, the playing position and the overall playing technique.

Due to newer and better materials for tennis court surfaces, the speed of the courts can be adjusted accordingly. The fastest surface is grass and usually receives the ITF classification 5 (very fast). However, many hard courts can also be installed at a similar level.

While international tennis matches are often played on acrylic hard courts, Germany's tennis clubs still mainly have clay courts, which are usually classified as ITF 1 or 2 (very slow to slow). Reliable quality and fast play are not the only advantages of the acrylic system: all-weather courts such as Laykold® also offer the advantage of having far fewer uneven surfaces and being extremely durable and easy to maintain. Accurate, functional and athletic: Laykold® hard court always means "fast tennis"!

You can find more technical details, the different colours and system structures of Laykold® here: