Americans have been fighting a losing battle on clay courts for years. Aside from Serena Williams, there hasn’t been a clay-court Grand Slam winner hailing from the U.S. since Andre Agassi in 1999.

Agassi, Michael Chang and Jim Courier are the only American men who have won Roland Garros in the Open era. The women have fared better, largely thanks to clay-court fiend Chris Evert and her seven Parisian crowns. But—not to take away from her greatness—Williams’ fewest majors have come on clay (just three, compared to 13 on hard and seven on grass).

What’s being done, especially for the next wave of potential American champions, to shift the momentum in Paris in favor of hard-hitting Yanks?

The USTA built six red clay courts at the National Campus in Lake Nona, Fla., with imported dirt from Italy. There are 32 green clay courts, as well, but that’s not what players like Madison Keys, CiCi Bellis and Frances Tiafoe are going to be training on.

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“To have these brand new red clay courts as a way for our players to get prepared, it’s a wonderful environment that we’ve frankly needed,” Courier, a two-time Roland Garros champion, said.

You’ve seen plenty of green clay at your local club, and that may lead you to believe that all clay is equal—that is simply untrue. A green clay (or Har-Tru) court actually plays more like a hard court than a red clay court. It’s composed of crushed basalt, a natural green stone from Virginia, instead of red clay’s brick, limestone and gravel. It’s faster, harder and often far more predictable and lenient with its bounces than red clay. You’re far more likely to see a middle-aged recreational match being played on green clay than you are to see Rafael Nadal ever set foot on the stuff.

Red clay is the court of choice for most European and South American players. It’s dirtier, dusting your clothes and shoes with fine layers of hard-to-scrub-off grit. Your shoes slide longer—and also dig in deeper— than on green clay, and the balls bounce higher and more erratically. The game slows down far more, fitting beautifully into the game styles of dirtballers like Nadal.

Americans continue to fight a losing battle on clay

Americans continue to fight a losing battle on clay

I grew up training on hard courts, and occasional green clay courts, in South Florida. On the rare occasions that I got a chance to play on red clay—which was less than a handful of times, and never in the U.S.—it felt as rare as a meeting with Bono. I was honored to be on a surface that I had only seen on TV, and overjoyed to earn that red-dust badge of honor on my shoes and socks. That shouldn’t be how young juniors feel when it comes to a surface that one-fourth of the majors are played on.

Unless Americans can rewind to their early junior days and start training on real crushed-brick clay, there’s not much to be done. Californian Jared Donaldson did just that, and now he has a slight edge on his fellow rising Americans—at least in Paris.

Instead of growing up playing on hard courts, the 20-year-old snuck off to Argentina for two-and-a-half years during his early development years. Just because Donaldson employed an unorthodox training regimen, it doesn’t mean he’s going to win Roland Garros. But the Donaldson family thought the risk and commitment were worth it, and he’s certainly given himself more of a chance in Paris, as well as given his strokes more shape.

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Americans continue to fight a losing battle on clay

Americans continue to fight a losing battle on clay

Donaldson doesn’t need to put too much pressure on himself, though. Reaching the third round in Paris next month can largely be considered an achievement (Only two American men—Jack Sock and John Isner—made it that far in 2016; Isner reached the fourth round.) The women have greater expectations, partly thanks to Williams’ high standards and partly thanks to shorter matches. Four women survived to the fourth round, including Shelby Rogers—who reached the quarters— and Williams, who fell in the final.

There’s no sense in beating up Americans for their lack of clay-court prowess, with such a lag in red-clay experience combined with an abundance of hard-court training. While six real European courts at the USTA National Campus are better than zero, it’s still not a fair match when your opponent across the net has grown up playing on red clay from the first day he or she held a racquet.