Tennis Ball

Tennis Ball

Ball (noun) [bawl]

In this article, we dive deep into the topic of tennis balls, providing a definition, and answering the most common questions on the subject.

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Definition of a Ball in Tennis

A small hollow object made of rubber, covered in fluorescent yellow felt and pressurized so that it bounces.

Examples of Ball in a Sentence

Ok, it’s time to pick up the tennis balls.

The tennis ball just barely caught the line.

Context for Tennis Balls

Tennis balls are a unique piece of equipment developed exclusively for the sport and are necessary to play tennis.

Most cans come with three tennis balls. This number permits the server to carry at least two for their first and second serve. A total of three allows players to rotate them throughout the match.

Having extra balls during a match also helps keep play moving because you don’t have to chase them down as much, but the more balls you use, the more expensive it gets.

Unfortunately, once opened, tennis balls begin to lose their pressure. As a result, unless you play multiple times per week, where you’d get good use out of more than three tennis balls, you may want to consider only opening one can at a time to save yourself money.

Common Questions & Answers About Tennis Balls

What color is a tennis ball?

Tennis balls come in a variety of colors. However, the most common type of tennis ball is yellow or, more specifically, optic yellow.

Why are tennis balls yellow?

Originally, tennis balls were typically white or black, depending on the color of the court to help increase visibility. However, in 1972 the ITF introduced yellow tennis balls because they were significantly more easy to see on TV. Wimbledon didn’t adopt yellow balls up until 1986.

How big is a tennis ball? What size is the diameter or dimension of a tennis ball?

The most common types of tennis balls used in recreational and professional play will have a diameter that ranges from 6.54-6.86 cm (2.57-2.70 in).

At the tour level, there are four types of balls permitted for play which include:

  • Type 1 (fast) 6.54-6.86 cm (2.57-2.70 in)
  • Type 2 (medium) 6.54-6.86 cm (2.57-2.70 in)
  • Type 3 (slow) 7.00-7.30 cm (2.76-2.87 in)
  • Type 4 (high altitude) 6.54-6.86 cm (2.57-2.70 in)

Type 3 and type 4 tennis balls are only allowed for use on tennis courts 1,219 m (4,000 feet) above sea level.

For 10 and Under Tennis, there is a range of tennis balls suited for different levels of play. They include:

  • Stage 1 8.00-9.00 cm (3.15-3.54 inches) Any
  • Stage 2 7.00-8.00 cm (2.76-3.15 inches) Yellow and red
  • Stage 3 6.00-6.86 cm (2.36-2.70 inches) Yellow and orange
  • Stage 4 6.30-6.86 cm (2.48-2.70 inches) Yellow and green

How much does a tennis ball weigh?

The standard weight of all professional and recreational tennis balls is 56.0-59.4 grams (0.123-0.131 lbs) or 1.975-2.095 ounces.

For 10 and Under Yennis, the weight requirements for each type of ball varies as follows:

  • Stage 1 25.0-43.0 grams (0.882-1.517 oz)
  • Stage 2 36.0-49.0 grams (1.270-1.728 oz)
  • Stage 3 36.0-46.9 grams (1.270-1.654 oz)
  • Stage 4 47.0-51.5 grams (1.658-1.817 oz)

What are tennis balls made of?

Tennis balls consist of a two-piece rubber shell that manufacturers mold together to form a hollow core, injected with pressurized gas to give the ball its bounce, and wrapped with a synthetic felt that glues to the surface for durability.

How are tennis balls made?

Tennis balls are made through a 10 step production process that includes:

  1. Crushing of rubber material that’s formed into sheets
  2. Cutting of rubber sheets into chunks of rubber called slugs
  3. Molding of slugs into half pieces of the core
  4. Gluing of two half pieces to form the core
  5. Pressurizing the core to give the ball its bounce
  6. Cutting felt into dog bone shaped pieces
  7. Gluing of the felt onto the core of the ball
  8. Curing of felt to ensure strong adhesion
  9. Labeling of each ball with the manufacturer’s logo
  10. Packing of the balls into pressurized cans

Why are tennis balls fuzzy?

The fuzz on a tennis ball exists for a few different reasons, including:

  • Durability: the fuzzy felt material that wraps the outer rubber core of a tennis ball helps increase the lifetime of a tennis ball.
  • Control: the fuzz also helps players control the tennis ball, improving the spin potential through the Magnus Force, where the fuzz catches air as it rotates and causes the ball to drop with topspin or float upward with backspin.
  • Speed: at the same time, the fuzz on a tennis ball increases the drag on the ball as it moves through the air, which reduces the speed at which the ball travels.
  • Bounce: last but not least, the fuzzy felt material gives the ball a unique bounce that’s not too high or too low.

What’s inside a tennis ball?

Underneath the outer layer of felt, the inside of a tennis ball contains a hollow rubber core. The core is pressurized with air or nitrogen, which helps gives the ball its bounce.

What is the tennis ball smell?

The smell of a freshly opened can of tennis balls is the result of a mixture of the materials used to create a tennis ball, which primarily consists of a rubber core, glue, and felt outer covering.

How or why does a tennis ball bounce?

A tennis ball bounces due to its spherical shape, hollow rubber inner core, and, most importantly, the fact that they are pressurized.

Why do tennis balls come in cans?

The most common type of tennis ball is pressurized to help give the ball its bounce. As such, cans are pressurized during the packaging of tennis balls to ensure the balls maintain their pressure up until the point a consumer receives and plays with them.

However, not all tennis balls come in cans. Pressureless tennis balls often come in buckets or bags, especially when sold in bulk.

Why do tennis balls have numbers on them?

The numbers on tennis balls help players keep track of their tennis balls while playing next to other courts. Tennis balls typically come in cans of three balls, all with the same number for this purpose.

Will a tennis ball sink or float?

A tennis ball will float because buoyant rubber material forms the core of the ball. Additionally, tennis balls are hollow and filled with air.

Will a tennis ball explode in a fire?

A tennis ball will not explode in a fire. Nitrogen, which is often used to pressurize some tennis balls, is not flammable.

Will a tennis ball dent a car?

Absolutely. If hit hard and directly at a car, a tennis ball can easily dent a vehicle. However, any ball hit out of a court that strikes a car in a parking lot is very unlikely to make a dent.

What kind of gas is a tennis ball filled with?

Pressurized air or a mixture of air and nitrogen is the gas used to pressurize a tennis ball.

What kind of tennis balls do the four majors (Wimbledon, the US Open, the French Open, and the Australian Open) use?

  • Wimbledon: Slazenger has been the official tennis ball of Wimbledon since 1902.
  • US Open: Wilson provides the official tennis ball for the US Open.
  • French Open: up until 2011, the French Open was using Dunlop tennis balls. However, Babolat introduced their first tennis ball in 2001, and the French Open switch to their brand in 2011.
  • Australian Open: Wilson provides the official tennis ball for the US Open.

How many tennis balls does each of the four majors (Wimbledon, the US Open, the French Open, and the Australian Open) use per year?

  • Wimbledon: ~54,000 balls
  • US Open: ~70,000 tennis balls
  • French Open: ~65,000 balls
  • Australian Open: ~40,000 tennis balls

Who makes tennis balls?

The five most popular tennis ball manufacturers include:

  • Penn
  • Wilson
  • Dunlop
  • Gamma
  • Slazenger

Wrapping Up

Have questions about tennis balls? Let us know in the comments below – we’re here to help.

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1 comment(s) need to be approved.
4 replies
    • TennisCompanion
      TennisCompanion says:

      Hi Jaimie,

      Thanks for the question. Unfortunately, this isn’t made super clear in a lot of product descriptions.

      You can purchase green dot tennis balls as pressurized or pressureless. If they come in a bag or bucket, they are pressureless. However, if they come in a can, they are pressurized, and the balls will behave differently – expect more bounce out of the balls in a can.

      Unfortunately, many retailers say ‘pressurized’ in the title or description even when they come in a bag, which is misleading.

      I hope that helps.

      All the best,
      Jon

      Reply
    • TennisCompanion
      TennisCompanion says:

      Hi Elizabeth,

      Thanks for stopping by – great question!

      There are lines on tennis balls because two pieces of felt are glued together with a rubberized mixture to form the outer layer, so it’s a byproduct of the production process.

      All the best,
      Jon

      Reply

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