I asked the question a week or two ago about whether indoor tennis is real tennis.
The answer is: it is highly enjoyable but it's not authentic. Indoor is just too perfect to be real. But I do enjoying playing indoor and in winter it is the only way to continue to play week in week out.
For the pros the indoor season runs from late September to mid November. But here in the UK because of the lousy weather in starts in September / October and runs to March / April.
As I've mentioned before I used to be a member of David Lloyd's in Raynes park, just down the road from Wimbledon. I left the club and its 16 carpet courts a year ago.
Today I played on carpet again for the first time in 12 months. It was at St George's in Weybridge. The home of the second best grass courts in the world.
The courts are better than Queens - I've played at both a few times - but I'm guessing, and let's face it I'll never know for sure, that the Wimbledon courts are the best. But that's another story.
Today it was heavy rain so we played on the indoor carpet and boy was it quick. I'd forgotten how quick carpet can be. Too quick. At times you dont have time to play the correct shots and find yourself improvising or using a half take back or block shot.
Don't get me wrong it's fun - you can feel like a pro as you drive a passing shot down the line - but for club players who wish to improve, the surface is a hindrance. It flatters to deceive and players get found out when they play on a different surface. Or move outside.
Since I left David Lloyd's last year I've played on a variety of surfaces - grass, hard, clay, indoor hard and indoor synthetic clay - but not carpet. And my game has come on so much. It can't be a coincidence.
Still needs must and so yesterday I joined David Lloyd in Woking, which is closer to where we live, and has 8 superb indoor courts. It may not be real but the bottom line is I can play no matter how dark or wet it is outdoors for the next 5 or 6 months.