1 My tennis court is nestled in a far corner of my Bedford farm. The court surface is made with green clay, or Har-Tru, and should be replaced before the beginning of each season, depending on how much the court is used.
2 Two tons of Har-Tru are needed to cover an entire regulation tennis court. A drag broom is used to even out the new layer of Har-Tru across the surface.
3 This is done at least twice to ensure the area is smooth and level.
4 Har-Tru is crushed igneous rock which provides a softer surface preferred by many tennis players. It offers less impact, less fatigue, and slower play.
5 Once the court is completely resurfaced, it is watered well, and then left to dry.
6 Here is the old Har-Tru, which was removed from the court.
7 When the team from Oval Tennis returned yesterday, it started with touch-ups on the net poles. These poles will look so neat and tidy.
8 Meanwhile, the team's foreman, Auner, rolled the court to compress the Har-Tru and to remove any bumps and pits.
9 The roller drums are heavy gauge steel and can be filled with water for added weight. It can also turn on the court without damaging the surface. Auner rolls over the court two or three times to ensure all the Har-Tru is compacted.
10 The team then prepares to measure all the lines. The first step is to find the center point between the net posts, which is usually marked with a pre-existing center anchor.
11 Very specific playing lines are measured and marked. Most prefer to lay down the vertical or long lines first - these are the two singles lines, the two doubles lines, the center service line, and the two service tabs at the baselines.
12 Nails are hammered into the surface to mark certain points.
13 To get a perfectly square tennis court, they formed a hypotenuse, the longest side of a right-angled triangle, to mark the baseline. The hypotenuse should measure exactly 52-feet, 10 and a half inches.
14 As a guide for laying down the lines, a string is stretched between marker nails.
15 ... And then rolled over.
16 The roller creates an impression on the damp Har-Tru surface.
17 When the string is lifted, the clear impression remains.
18 10-pounds of two and a half inch aluminum nails are dropped next to the marked lines.
19 Aluminum nails, designed for use on tennis courts, won't rust or develop calcium deposits, during the season.
20 The lines are stretched into place.
21 During the off-season the lines are removed from the court and stored neatly in a plastic bin.
22 Once the lines are down, hammering begins - this is the longest part of the process, which takes about 45-minutes to complete.
23 The nails are hammered into equally spaced holes on the lines in a zig-zag pattern and through the Har-Tru. This ensures the lines are secure.
24 Each has his own style of hammering.
25 And each takes a separate line to make the process as efficient as possible.
26 Marc Tulio has been working with Oval Tennis for many years, and is the team's fastest nailer.
27 As each crew member finishes a line, they move over to help finish others.
28 Any leftover nails are swept up with the back side of the Har-Tru gator hand rake.
29 These rakes are great for grooming the surface of the court and spreading the clay evenly. The stainless steel tines are more aggressive than the steel bristle brooms.
30 The same process is done for the two baselines and the two service lines - first the lines are measured, and then the roller creates the line impressions.
31 Once the lines are put down, nails are dropped.
32 And the hammering continues...
33 Auner rolls each line, firmly pressing the nails into the surface.
34 Here, he is checking to make sure every nail is flat and properly compressed.
35 Frank goes over the surface again with the drag broom.
36 The top of the net is attached to a net tightener, adjusted for height, and then laced onto the posts.
37 The net should be 36-inches high at the center strap and 42-inches at the posts.
38 Calcium chloride is then applied to the surface of the court.
39 Calcium chloride is a disolving salt that retains moisture in the Har-Tru court surface.
40 After sweeping the court with the drag broom, a revolving brush passes over the lines, sweeping them clean.
41 The line sweeper brush is the same width as the line itself, so the process must be done carefully to properly clean all the lines.
42 Sprinklers, timed to go on during the overnight hours, will dissolve the calcium and leave a beautiful court ready for the season.
43 Here are Marvin, Frank, Auner, Winifred McLean, and Marc. Winifred is co-owner, and office manager. Our friends at Oval Tennis always do a great job!