Tennis court grass studies for Wimbledon done at Cleveland by STRI sports turf consultants

Wimbledon's head of courts and horticulture Neil Stubley talks about the work done with the STRI Group

THE esteemed All England Lawn Tennis Club has come 16,500 kilometres to Cleveland to test grass to promote the sport made famous at Wimbledon.

STRI Group sports turf consultant Carlos Sartoretto, who runs trials at the Redlands Research Station, said it was Cleveland's weather that made it the best place to study warm season grasses.

"The trial here is to find out which grass could provide the best lawn grass for tennis in other parts of the world," Mr Sartoretto said.

The year-round trials are for the All England Lawn Tennis Club which runs the Wimbledon championships - now the only Grand Slam played on grass - to promote lawn tennis around the world.

STRI researchers like Mr Sartoretto and manager Mark Ferguson also provide hands-on advice and support throughout Wimbledon, working closely with Wimbledon's head of courts and horticulture Neil Stubley.

AT CLEVELAND: STRI Group sports turf consultant Carlos Sartoretto runs trials at the Redlands Research Station, Cleveland for the All England Lawn Tennis Club that runs Wimbledon. Photo: Cheryl Goodenough

AT CLEVELAND: STRI Group sports turf consultant Carlos Sartoretto runs trials at the Redlands Research Station, Cleveland for the All England Lawn Tennis Club that runs Wimbledon. Photo: Cheryl Goodenough

"There are 18 courts played on during the tournament and about the same number of practice courts," Mr Sartoretto said.

"Grass is a living organism which means it grows differently in different places depending on factors like the wind and shade.

"We need to make sure that each court plays the same regardless of where it is.

"Data obtained by the grass scientists who look at factors like surface hardness, soil moisture content, turf quantity and vigor were used to make decisions every day during the tournament."

Mr Sartoretto said the soil content in the Redlands was similar to that at Wimbledon, although the colour was different.

About 60 grasses, planted on nearly 250 plots are currently being tested at the Delancey Street research station.

STRI has operated in the United Kingdom for about 90 years. The company worked with FIFA during the soccer world cups in South Africa in 2010, Brazil four years later and Russia last year, and also on events like the 2016 Olympic Games and the British Open.

Scientific research into grasses has become more important in an effort to deliver pitches that have the same conditions, even in different stadiums, and look good on high-definition televisions.

"The surfaces need to be the same in all stadiums," Mr Sartoretto said. "Where players train and where they play, the conditions need to be the same."

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