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USTA Court Surface Testing

The USTA started testing court surfaces in 2002 using the Tortus equipment to test the friction values of tennis court surfaces. Due to the limitations of the Tortus, the USTA Technical Department developed its own court testing device in accordance with International Tennis Federation’s (ITF) test principles (the ITF establishes the parameters for court surface values.) This new equipment, which utilizes a pneumatic cannon and high speed camera, tests both the coefficient of friction and coefficient of restitution of the court surface and provides a court pace rating (CPR) value. The new testing method has proven to be more accurate and correlates better with player perception.

Recently, the surface testing program has expanded to include sample court testing (for research purposes only) in the White Plains laboratory. Several US surface manufacturers and industry partners are currently working with the USTA as it continues to offer US based testing for the ever growing marketplace. Once the system is validated both in the laboratory and on-site, the USTA will be challenged to develop equipment based on the same concept, that is more portable and has the capability of easily testing facilities anywhere in the US in a short amount of time.

The USTA annually tests some US Open Series courts and the courts used at the Billie Jean King National Tennis Center for the US Open as part of the organization's mission to offer the best tennis events in the world.

In conjunction with the staff-driven court testing, the USTA Technical Committee has established a sub-committee to stay abreast of ITF research and to assess benefits that such a program could be utilized in helping the industry keep standards at the highest level.

For more information on USTA Court Surface Testing, please contact Jeremiah Yolkut at Yolkut@usta.com.    


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