Types of Tennis Balls
Before we jump into some of the more common uses for colored tennis balls, let’s touch on the different kinds of tennis balls available.
Pressurized vs. Pressureless
In professional and competitive settings, tennis balls are pressurized with a gas such as nitrogen, which helps give them their bounce.
However, as you’ve likely experienced, the pressure wears off rather quickly, and you eventually have to replace the ball. As a result, even unopened cans of pressurized tennis balls have a shelf life. Typically, pressurized tennis balls come in pressurized cans as a set of three.
Pressureless balls, on the other hand, are not pressurized usually don’t come in a can and instead are often sold by the bag or in a bin. Since they’re not pressurized, they last longer on and off the court, and they’re most commonly used for practice and with ball machines because of their higher durability.
Per the International Tennis Federation, above 4,000 feet, you’re playing at “high altitude,” where the lower air pressure results in more bounce from your standard pressurized tennis ball.
High-altitude tennis balls feature slightly less pressure to achieve a more typical bounce that you’d expect from a tennis ball.
Regular Duty vs. Extra Duty
Regular duty tennis balls feature a softer felt for use on clay or indoor courts. As you play with them, the thinner felt also helps prevent them from absorbing less dirt and debris.
Extra duty balls, on the other hand, have a thicker felt cover that helps them hold up better on outdoor hard courts.
Men’s vs. Women’s
Although it may come as a surprise, some professional tennis tournaments like the US Open use slightly different tennis balls for the men’s and women’s tournaments.
The balls are identical in every way except the felt for the men’s tennis balls is heavier than the women. The result is a slightly faster ball on the women’s side and slower for the men.
At the US Open, you can distinguish one ball from the other by the color ink printed on the tennis ball – red for women’s and black for men.
Giant Tennis Balls
You won’t find oversized tennis balls used on the court, but they make great souvenirs at some of the world’s most prestigious tournaments.
They also make a great tennis gift idea. For example, you might buy on for your coach at the end of a season and have all the players sign it.
Giant tennis balls can also make great toys for kids and pets.
Pre-Cut for Chairs and Walkers
If you plan to use tennis balls for chairs or walkers, pre-cut tennis balls make the installation process safer and easier.
These days you’ll find a wide variety of pre-cut tennis balls in an assortment of colors and prints.