Francois Dumont was 23 in 1986. He told the press, "In France, tennis is almost a national institution. Everyone plays. We have an excellent junior development program that doesn't seem to be as strong here (in the United States). When I first came here (around March 1986), I was surprised by the number of courts. But no one seems to play on them. I had a good amateur ranking in France. I could have been a semi-professional, but I chose to come to America. I wanted to see the country. I will go back eventually. I plan to go back to see the French Open next year (in 1987). The sport is very big and everyone watches on television. I like (Yannick) Noah but (Henri) Leconte is my favorite player. I like the way he moves. He's very quick and he has such nice shots. I hit the ball flat instead of that big looping topspin. Flat shots are unusual these days (in 1986) but I like to attack. With flat shots, I can take the ball earlier and get into the net. It's tough to serve and volley on clay but I still try to do it. I don't want to change."
It was noted few Americans could play on the red clay court. Joyce Oransky believed, "On a clay court, you really need to mentally know the match is going to last longer. Balls that are usually out of reach are playable, so you really have to move. You also have to be a lot more patient." Jim Vidamour of the Daytona Beach Morning Journal explained in 1985, "On grass courts, the ball bounces very low and fast and the best spin to use is underspin. This keeps the ball even lower and makes the passing shot very difficult. The preferred strategy on grass is to attack the net and take the ball in the air as much as possible.
"Clay courts basically come in 2 varieties, red clay which is found primarily in Europe and South America and American clay which is green. The American clay is manufactured by crushing greenstone taken from only one quarry in the United States. The ball bounce is higher and slower on clay and spin has a more dramatic result. The footing is different and players learn to slide into shots. The preferred strategy on a clay court is a patient, waiting style of play, only attacking at the most opportune times. A hard court can be built from concrete or asphalt. The ball bounce is in between that of clay and grass (normally a higher, more consistent bounce). The speed is similar to grass and both topspin and underspin may be used effectively."
Shelley Sniffen said in 1992, "In Europe, I found the further inland you go, the slower the courts. By the coast, the clay is more coarse, not as fine. It's windier and the water soaks through the courts more. I played in a tournament at Roland Garros 2 years ago (in 1990) and the courts were slower but very nice. They were in great shape."
In 1977, Guillermo Vilas won the French and U.S. singles championships as well as another 11 titles. He made the comment in 1982, "We all work to be No. 1 and when a year like 1977 happens and you're there, there is nothing after." In 1982, Guillermo defeated Yannick in the semifinals of the U.S. Pro Tennis Championships. Yannick observed, "Guillermo's ball is heavier and he gives a lot of spin…It's very hard to attack." Another player playing topspin was Ivanna Madruga. She made the observation in 1981, "Topspin is why I have so much success. For many women players, my game is uncomfortable. It is very difficult for most women to return topspin shots because they are not strong enough."