THE company which lays down the Rebound Ace hard courts for the Australian Open says research debunks player criticism that they are dangerous.
Paul Bull, the technical director of the Rebound Ace company and the man responsible for developing the courts in 1988, said testing showed Australian Lleyton Hewitt's claims about the safety of the courts were incorrect.
He said the pace of the surface had not changed since last year.
Hewitt has been a vitriolic critic of the surface and demanded they be fixed, saying they were slower than the courts used for the 2005 championships.
American James Blake said the playing surface in Melbourne was notorious for foot and ankle injuries.
Australia's Davis Cup chiropractor Andreas Bisaz was also quoted in the press this week as saying the rubberised courts were a major problem for players.
I think it is dangerous, he said. From my perspective, obviously they should (change the surface) because I can see more serious problems in the years to come.
Bull disputes claims that players are susceptible to injuries from playing on the hard courts.
The Women's Tennis Association (WTA) did a lot of research on this in 2004, Bull told the Melbourne Age yesterday.
They canvassed a whole host of players and it was something like 0.01% of players that had played on Rebound Ace had injuries and, of those, every one, without exception, was carrying that injury into the tournament. AFP