Surface type

The ITF has devised a table of surface descriptions in order to standardise the way surfaces are described as to their type. The descriptions relate only to court construction, and not to performance characteristics.

Type Description
Acrylic/Polyurethane1 Textured, pigmented, resin-bound coating.
Artificial clay2 Sand-dressed and/or rubber-dressed surface with the appearance of clay.
Artificial grass2 Synthetic surface with the appearance of natural grass.
Asphalt3 Bitumen-bound aggregate.
Carpet Textile or polymeric material supplied in rolls or sheets of finished product.
Clay4 Unbound mineral aggregate.
Concrete3 Cement-bound aggregate.
Grass Natural grass grown from seed.
Hybrid clay Clay-dressed systems supported by a carpet matrix.
Other E.g. modular systems (tiles), wood, canvas.


All surfaces may be porous or non-porous, with the exception of ‘Clay’ and ‘Grass’, which are always porous.
1 Normally forms only the uppermost few millimetres of a court.
2 “Appearance” relates only to the form of the uppermost surface material and not other characteristics (e.g. colour). These surfaces are typically composed of a carpet matrix dressed/filled with sand and/or rubber aggregate.
3 Used only when the material itself forms the playing surface. When used as a base for other surfaces (e.g. acrylic), reference will be made only to the playing surface.
4 This term denotes a type of surface that is constructed from naturally-derived materials, and includes an unbound fine gritty material as the uppermost (playing) layer, e.g. fast-dry. The integrity of the surface shall not be reliant on the addition of a carpet or membrane layer to the structure.


Follow the links below to find out more about the development of courts over time, court construction, and rules:


Building an Asphalt Court