Since the start of the 2017 Coupe Rogers, the surface has appeared slower than in the last few years. If proof is necessary: the huge amount of very long rallies, including this (still spectacular) 49-shot rallye won by Alexander Zverev down match point against Richard Gasquet:
The opinion of two Coupe Rogers semifinalists
Following his quarter-final win, Robin Haase was asked about the matter. How quick is the court?
“I don’t think it’s that quick, but it’s also not slow”, said de Dutchman. “I look at courts different than many other players. I believe when the ball bounces high, I call it a slow court. Although some actually then say, Yeah, but it’s so fast, it goes up and everything. This here, the ball doesn’t jump that high. That means if you can attack and you can come to the net, it’s a little bit quicker. But it’s not a quick hard court.”
An interesting surface theory lesson by Roger Federer
For his part, Roger Federer did not agree with Haase, but did not disagree completely, either:
“I think that since it’s a little like the start of the hard-court stretch for some, although not for everyone (because, well, they played in Washington or Los Cabos or elsewhere), it seems to me like it flies quite a bit. It’s quite simple to play with a fast pace, meaning with a ball that flies and short rallies every time. If you play a little slower with more topspin, yes, you can stretch the rallies if both play that way, like we saw a little between Haase and Schwartzman. Then all of a sudden, we see quicker rallies. But if one of the players decides to play more forward, there are more chances for those who are aggressive.
“For my part, I think that it’s easier to play a volley than a passing shot. And from the moment it becomes that way, the player will inevitably try to play aggressive, because he doesn’t want to give his rival any time [to get into the rallye].
“Personally, I like having a surface like that, because we already see a lot of slow surfaces. In the past, we saw a lot of surfaces that were very, very slow. But here, I think it’s more like medium, medium-fast. It depends. In my case, I always play day matches, so it always seems to be faster than if you play at night, where everything evens itself out and we have a better control on the ball.”
A very interesting lesson on hard-court surface speed given by the great Federer!