Why Are New Tennis Balls Used? When Are They Changed?

why are tennis balls changed

If you’re a tennis player, then you know that there’s nothing like the feeling of a new tennis ball. But have you ever wondered when new balls are used in tournaments? Are they really important? 

Most people know that when a tennis ball is hit, it doesn’t bounce the same way as it did before. This is because the surface of the ball wears down after each impact, which changes its bounce characteristics.

When playing tennis, most people assume that the new balls are used at the beginning of the match. However, this is not always the case. In fact, there are specific times when new tennis balls should and should not be used in a match. Let’s take a closer look.

The Answer

Professional tennis players have new balls at the professional level. The warm-up for each game is considered to be like two games, so after seven of those you will need a replacement and then every nine thereafter.

Tennis players rank the importance of having new balls to a professional’s game. A player can tell when they are hitting with an old one because it will not bounce back, and this makes them lose confidence in their own technique as well as timing on shots. The ball becomes deadlier; instead slowing down after just two games like most people would expect from being used so much before then getting switched out for fresh ones at nine intervals throughout any given match.

Are new tennis balls a “must-have" for matches?

Why are the balls changed?

Tennis balls are changed many times throughout the game so at any given tennis court you will find an innumerable number of balls lying around here and there. There are so many balls that you wouldn’t even have to wait long hours to get one tennis ball as it takes a couple of minutes for the players to discard a tennis ball. These tennis balls decline in their strength and have a shorter life span that is the reason why are discarded within minutes.

 And with every new ball, the game is more easy for the players as the new tennis ball is high in strength which offers the players a lot of ease because they don’t have to put any pressure on their bodies by using extra energy to swing harder and harder, therefore the use of new balls makes a significant difference. 

Why tennis balls are not long lasting:

 If you got yourself a new can of tennis balls and you just played with them for a couple of hours after that you left them lying around on the court. Later on when you will return they would be in a weak state or nearly like dead tennis balls, yes that is how are designed, so if you do not keep your tennis balls in a pressurized container then they will lose their playability.

 Tennis balls are simply designed in a way that they have a very limited life. They also lose their strength because of hard hitting done by players. That is the reason why they change balls so frequently, even the players on a beginner level can wear them out. 

Some tips:

A lot of experts recommend to keep them in their cans 24/7 and only take out just before playing. It is not like tennis balls completely become useless, they can be used during a match too however their strength is not the same for example, they won’t travel as fast, bounce that higher, instead they might drain your energy more.

When getting yourself a new can of tennis balls, be sure to double check as they can be flat and dead while being in their pressurized container, for example, there may be a tiny hole in the can which will reduce the pressure and eventually the strength out of the balls, so just don’t buy them without checking twice as they will deceive you and lead to utter disappointment.

Are new tennis balls a “must-have” for matches?

For a beginner:

Even if you find tennis balls expensive and you cannot practice with new balls, it is okay you can re-use those balls for practicing purposes because it is fine to feel a bit exerted after a practice session, but for finale do not make this mistake of using balls that are old and pressure-less as they have less spin response. So it doesn’t matter even if you are a beginner and you aim to achieve a career in tennis, buy yourself an extra can of unused balls even if it is an inter-school match as it is a necessity after the match ends you may collect those balls and use them again.

For a professional:

For professional matches like grand slams, WTA, or ATP tournaments. For every set, new balls are used in the beginning then they will be discarded after 7 games and then new balls are brought forward after the 9th game. You must have seen plenty of balls being used in the tennis court and before this thought strikes that “why are so many balls being wasted like this” but it is not excessive at all as these top players are hitting with full power and their average speed is 148 mph, other than the service speed the court surface is extremely hard which can have an impact on the ball’s condition. So around thousands of balls are changed in one tournament.

Switching the balls is a teeny tiny trick that provides a huge advantage to the players such as they can have their highest speed potential which proves to be useful for any kind of shot. A constant relationship has been observed with the use of newer balls and games won by the server, especially by top players. 

How to know that the tennis ball is still okay to use?

When watching any match, you must have seen the players constantly choosing among 3 to 4 balls in order to pick the finest one. Once you take a new ball out, the hair is flat and smooth, but once you knock it around then it gets fluffy, which is a sign that the ball is aging. Some balls are made according to the design of the court such as a hard court ball contains more felt than the clay court balls. This is a very important piece of information as if you get a hard court ball to play on clay court then it will pick all sort dirt and get fluffy. It is very annoying and stressful to handle such balls. 

What do the pros prefer?

Players such as Roger Federer would make use of flattened balls on their first serve, and Novak Djokovic believes that the selection of a new ball could always result in a turning point in the match. The players keep the fluffy ball too because in some cases the flattened ball can lose its grip. In that case, the player will make use of the fluffy ball in the second serve as it is slow and easier to control.

To sum up:

Replacing the balls twice in every set has been the only go-to option up till now because these tennis balls have a very short life span. However, many manufacturers are making the constant effort for the balls to last long with greater performance such as the Wilson Triniti balls. They are designed to be durable and eco-friendly, their core is made using platomer material which is light in weight as compared to other tennis balls. They focus on the outer part of the ball by making it thicker, improved felt, and adding more pressure to it. These reasons extend the lifespan of this tennis ball however it is an expensive option.

Fun Fact:

It is true that picking up the right ball is beneficial for the player in so many ways, but there can be other reasons for selecting a ball too; some of them have superstitious reasoning too. They might pick the ball which earned them a point in the previous set, like a “lucky ball” as they tend to believe that they can win again using the same ball. 

Why New Tennis Balls Are a Must For Matches

Anyone who has ever played tennis knows that a fresh new can of balls makes all the difference. There’s nothing worse than playing with an old, flat ball that doesn’t bounce as high or move as fast as it should. So, why are new tennis balls a must for matches? Here are three reasons:

  1. Fresh balls bounce higher and move faster than old ones. This makes them easier to hit and gives players a better chance of making shots they wouldn’t ordinarily make.
  2. New balls also have more air in them, which means they last longer on the court before going out of bounds.
  3. Finally, using new balls lends a sense of fairness and equality to the game – everyone is playing.

Why Fluff Matters

Many people are unaware that the felt on a tennis ball can wear down, which will lead to it losing air faster. This is due in part because of its construction and type. New balls do not have any so their replacement becomes necessary after some gameplay.

Hard court tennis balls are designed to be more durable than their clay counterparts, but this also means that they don’t fluff up as quickly. A new can of hard-court ball will have a smoother surface with minimal lint or strings attached and once hit around it’ll start increasing in thickness due its wool filled design which helps cut down on water absorption while providing greater traction for players who prefer playing on faster surfaces like grass courts where there’s less court felt on the ball.

The feel difference between these types comes down mostly do what you want:  a professional tennis player who prefers a smoother, speedier feel or a recreational player who wants more control and spin on their own ball.

Do new tennis balls affect the course of a tennis match?

Yes,  in a number of ways. If a player is in the lead and has been serving well, then you will often see that they will elect to use a new ball when going into their service games. This is because the newer balls perform faster, hence increasing the chances of them getting many points through serve. In addition to this, if a player’s opponent is struggling to return, they will often use a new ball in order to increase their chances of breaking.

Some players and coaches prefer that the balls only be changed every few games, but this is often done in slower surfaces such as clay. In faster courts, such as hard courts and grass courts, you will see almost all players use new balls during the majority of their matches. This is because they often play faster, and it is harder to control them when they get more used.

This allows you to see how tennis balls affect the course of a match. If the players continue to use the same ball for too long, it favors a playing style of hitting behind the baseline. New balls, however,  favor an attacking style of play, and favor players who like to come to the net more.

Therefore you could say that new balls give the player a better chance of winning. It is no coincidence that players even choose the balls that are handed to them.

It is certainly easier to control a ball when it is new, and this often gives them a greater advantage in points. Depending on how long they use these balls for however, they can become quite easy to return towards end of the match.

When Should tennis balls be replaced ideally speaking?

Because the balls, affect players’ performance quite drastically, it is recommended to switch them often. However, player’s can’t always play a ‘new’ ball, they have to get their rhythm on and accustomed to the balls, so in the current format which replaces balls usually after 7-9 games, is quite ideal.

How often do Wimbledon get new balls?

Specifically speaking in Wimbledon, balls are being replaced the first time after 7 games are completed. After that, every 9 games are counted from there on, new set of balls will be used again and again.

Is it bad to practice with dead tennis balls?

Yes, it is an important part of the game to choose the right ball, and many players have their own way of picking up the best one. One should always keep in mind that not all balls are the same because they vary in quality, texture, weight, feel used etc. It can affect your hitting feel but blindly practicing with dead balls will definitely slow down the development of your game.

How often do they change the balls at the Australian Open?

The Australian Open uses Dunlop balls as their sponsor. Balls are being switched at the standard rate of every 9 games.

Wrapping Up

Though tennis balls can be used for many years, they do wear down over time and lose their bounce. This is why it’s important to replace them on a regular basis so you don’t have any more trouble with your serve or shots dropping out due to lack of responsiveness.

A lot of people play tennis, but not all are aware that new balls can be important. The “new” in this case refers to when a ball has been made recently and hasn’t had much time for wear-and-tear or natural aging process yet so the point is less about how long you’ve owned your clubs (although those could also affect performance), or it can be that they’re fresh outta package, because usually they are sealed.

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