Aussies kiln it thanks to Canberra clay

By Chris Dutton
Updated April 23 2018 - 9:22pm, first published May 5 2014 - 5:40pm

Tennis ACT has a plan to make Australia a dominant force in claycourt tennis. The organisation hopes a stage two redevelopment will put Canberra back on the professional circuit as it plans for tier one clay surfaces to be installed. Canberra star Nick Kyrgios and Canberra Velocity teammate Alex Bolt have both won Challenger level tournaments on clay in recent weeks. Kyrgios also made his grand slam debut on clay at the French Open. The Lyneham tennis precinct boasts 12 clay courts as well as synthetic grass and hardcourts. But the clay courts are made up of a mixture of surfaces, which prevents ITF and professional events being played on them. Australian tennis players hadn't won on clay surfaces in the past five years, until Kyrgios and Bolt were successful this year. Both Kyrgios and Bolt trained on the Canberra clay surface. "The [clay] surface that was put down is European clay; the issue is around the sustainability of that surface. It breaks down too quickly and we've had to introduce a hybrid of material to try to have it more sustainable and easier to maintain," said Tennis ACT boss Ross Triffit. "We are planning on upgrading them as part of the redevelopment. It'd be great to upgrade them to tier one status so we can get international events back on them." Construction has started at Lyneham but stage two of the development is dependent on funding. Canberra's hardcourt plexipave would be used as the main tournament surface, with clay providing variety. "It depends on what type of events we want to have. There's still a shortage of clay courts around Australia, so if we were to have all 12 upgraded it would be quite a point of difference for our venue." Kyrgios is ranked No. 159 in the world and has won two tournaments since making a comeback from injury.

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