In this article I’ll take a sidestep from your ideal string setup and discuss another rather important part of the tennis game: the tennis ball. Without one, there will be no play! And without joking, because the ball and strings collide into each other, it really benefits you to know something about tennis balls and how they impact your game.
How are tennis balls made?
Let’s say you have just picked up your very first racket and you are a total newbie to the game. Congratulations first of all, tennis is the most beautiful game (in my modest personal opinion) and you’ve just joined the show! Let’s say that you actually don’t know anything about tennis yet, but I’ll bet you’ll know you need a can of tennis balls, right? Right, everybody has seen them probably once in their life, easily recognisable due to their flashy yellow colouring.
But do you know what makes a (modern) tennis ball and how tennis balls are actually made? Probably not, but no worries, you’ll read it al here.
What are the best balls for tennis?
While there are many ways of defining the best balls for tennis, I have found in my own experience of playing and observations that most people find the Wilson US Open the best balls for tennis in terms of price/quality.
Which tennis balls bounces the highest?
This is a tricky question because I have definitely not test all tennis balls out there on the market, but speaking from my own experience I have found that the Dunlop Fort (Max TP) tennis balls bounce the highest.
The bouncing effect is amplified if the pressurised can is being opened (with the famous isshing sound) just before starting a game. While this gives the best bounce on your balls, it is somewhat of an unwritten rule to open the cans the evening before play.
How many tennis balls come in a can?
Tennis balls are sold in tin or plastic cans. The cans are sold in 3-ball or 4-ball quantities, with the latter one of course being slightly more expensive. My recommendation is to buy a good set of 4 because chances are that you’ll lose a ball out of sight (regardless of your playing level) and having at least three balls to play with will not keep you collecting (2) balls all the time.
If your budget allows it, you can also order tennis balls in great quantities.
How long should tennis balls last?
This is also a tricky question, which ties in with how long your strings should last. It all depends on your frequency of play, playing level, hitting style and outdoor circumstances. Of course, if you hit long with harder groundstrokes, you’ll find your tennis balls to last a shorter time. In addition, if you play on gravel, which is considered to be the most intens surface for tennis balls, the tennis ball felt will deteriorate rather fast too. And last, some tennis balls might withstand the first few drops of rain better than others, but in general you’ll want to protect them at any cost from rain, because normally you can throw them away after becoming wet.
But let’s say you play two times a week, on average level and you have bought a durable set of balls, you play (mostly) on gravel and don’t let them lay around in the rain. My estimate would be that you are able to play one month without noticing any drop in quality. The second month you’ll find that the pressure in the balls drops quite noticeably.
Which tennis balls last the longest?
This is also a tricky question to answer, but I can only speak from my own experience and have found that, in order (most durable first), the Tecnifibre X-one, the Head ATP Tour and Babolat Team (clay) tennis balls last the longest.
What tennis balls do professionals use?
Professional tennis players hit with a great amount of pace and a lot of precision. Of course, they can keep this up a longer amount of time than almost anybody on court. That’s why pro’s normally only play just seven games with a set of tennis balls before the umpire asks for “new balls, please”.
However, there is not a definite set of tennis balls the professionals use. Most often, big tournaments have contracts with big brands and almost all the big brands produce a line of tennis balls that the pro’s can play with. To make things a bit more easy on the eye, I’ve made this table down below with all the tennis balls that are being used at the biggest tournaments.
|Dunlop AO Open
|Wilson x Roland Garros Clay Court
|Slazenger Championships 2021
|Wilson US Open Extra Duty
What do numbers on tennis balls mean?
The numbers on a tennis ball represent the ‘set’ they belong to, helping you not to mix up the tennis balls from your court with the balls from your neighbours court. Many people think the numbers are indicators for a durability level of some sort of the balls, and while tennis balls can be classified in certain types, these numbers are not the ones you’ll find on tennis balls.
Let’s say you our playing with those good Wilson US Open Extra Duty balls you’ve just bought and want to take them for a test run… only to find that the players on the court next to you are playing with the exact same balls! Well, now you know, not exactly the same balls, because the numbers under the branding are different on each set. So, just check the numbers, next time your neighbour tries to ‘lend’ your newer set of tennis balls.
Why are tennis balls kept in the fridge?
Tennis balls are kept in the fridge, mostly court side, at big tournaments to preserve the internal pressure of the ball. The internal pressure of the ball is the main factor for ball bounce so you can understand why this is a very important factor at the world’s greatest tournaments.
And what about you? Do you have a favourite brand and type of tennis balls? Please let me know in the comments so I can update this article on a regular basis. Also, please don’t forget to mention the surface you play on and your playing level.