It's not clay. Say it isn't so!

My Favorite Web Sites - Winchester Star - 6/6/02
 by Martin Zombeck

This is a bi-weekly column providing an annotated list of Web sites that may be of interest to the community. Each column will list sites that belong to a particular category: search engines, art, online newspapers and magazines, health and medicine, history, business and economics, etc. or sites relevant to a particular season, for example, skiing or gardening. Most sites will be non-commercial. To make it easier to access the sites, each bi-weekly column will be posted on the Town of Winchester's Web site so that the sites can be accessed and bookmarked without having to be typed. Previous columns will be archived at the Winchester site, also.

"Life is like a game of tennis; the player who serves well seldom loses" - Unknown

I've always impressed my out-of-town friends by saying that Winchester has clay courts. Now I find out that it isn't true. What we play on is igneous basalt, better known as Har-Tru. The latter sound like a Wal-Mart knock-off. "Har-Tru is made from a billion year old Pre-Cambrian metabasalt found in the Blue Ridge Mountains of Virginia. This rock is crushed, screened, and mixed in the precise proportions necessary to produce a stable surface." That sounds a lot better, doesn't it? Some of the Packer courts do have a clay base, however. Those are the ones that take a while to drain after a rain storm. Even the French Open (at Roland Garros) and the Italian Open are not played on clay, in spite of what the tournament directors say. The surface is crushed red brick (which was once clay, but no more) on a base of limestone and other materials. If you want to play on real clay courts you'll have to go to Mexico, Central, or South America. If you want to know more about this fascinating subject see

The Web sites listed below won't improve your tennis but will keep you informed about the game.

Official Web site of the United States Tennis Association. Pro schedule, the rules of tennis, the tennis code, USTA regulations, links to USTA sections, and more.

USTA New England
The online home of USA Tennis New England. Adult/senior tennis tournaments, National Tennis Rating Program (NTRP), and more.

The Tennis Server
Many tennis features.

Winchester Tennis Association
The WTA Web site. Tournament schedules, tennis links, photos, and more.

Tennis Warehouse
Purchase tennis equipment online.

The official Web sites of some of the major tournaments:

Australian Open

French Open

US Open


Davis Cup

Grand Slam Champions
A complete list of grand slam single champions since 1877. Amaze your friends with your knowledge of the game.

Previous columns with live links can be found at

When he is not updating the Town of Winchester Web site (, Martin Zombeck can be found at the Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics, where he is a physicist. E-mail: