How Big is a Tennis Ball?

When makers of tennis balls and lovers of the game talk about a tennis ball’s size, the referential measurement is usually the diameter. Many of the balls used in tennis are in the region of 6.608 cm or 2.630 inches across. However, the ITF (the International Tennis Federation) and the United States Tennis Association (the USTA) allow balls measuring as small as 6.5405 cm (2.575 inches) and as large as 6.858 cm (2.7 inches).

When giving the tennis ball’s standard and ideal size, the two organizations, together with ball makers, have been encouraging the manufacturing of slow balls. This has been lauded as a move to make new players have an improved experience of the game and to make more people play. The slow balls are usually made to be larger in diameter and by six percent more than their counterparts, which are oriented for competition.

The tennis balls, which are taken as having the official size, have circumferences of about 20.975 centimeters (8.258 inches). However, the IFT, the USTA, and tennis ball makers use diameter and width to size their balls.

This article will make a clear attempt to answer all the questions in and around the tennis ball. I have picked the most asked questions and tried to respond to them in the best way possible. Make sure that you read between the lines till the end to get information about tennis balls.  

Other Tennis Ball Questions

Why is it that tennis balls come with fuzz on them?

The felt, fuzz, or hair on a tennis ball is present to protect the rubber shell from the effects of wear. Also, they have a hand in the ball’s aerodynamics, and specifically, how the ball takes it bounces. Each tennis ball is a fusion or a gluing of two interlocking panels. Because of their shape, these panels often go by the name dog bones.

In the tennis ball aerodynamic phenomenon, the fuzz ensures that the ball’s movement is more predictable. It does this by slowing the ball gown and giving it a consistent bounce regardless of the playing surface. The fuzz also helps the strings of a player’s racket get an excellent grip on the ball. This would be difficult to achieve if the ball has a smooth surface of rubber.

The fuzz assists in aerodynamic drag and ensures that the ball’s travel does not surprise the player. This means that a tennis player will know where the ball will bounce off to. While the ball may be affected by different surface types, the bounce-off would not be too unpredictable for the player.

The left also controls the speed of the ball, both in the air and on the court. If a ball has a lot of fuzz on it, its bounce will be slow and unpredictable. If you’ve watched pro tennis players, you will see that they pay attention to a ball’s outlook before picking the one to serve. They are always looking for a tennis ball with an evenly tight weave as it will bounce and serve faster to give them a slight advantage.

Are tennis balls of different kinds?

Yes – yes, they are. The tennis ball market provides many options. You can get non-pressurized or pressurized balls. Also, you can get four types of tennis balls with regards to ball speed.

Some tennis balls are made for sand, grass, clay, and court tennis courts, and you can also get types based on the nature of competition. Also, the ground elevation is another perspective that delivers championship, high elevation, and heavy-duty balls. When you go to the market to buy your ball, be sure of the court type you will be playing on and the game’s weight.

Why do many tennis balls come in color yellow?

Tennis balls haven’t always been yellow, but they are now. Before 1972, tennis balls were either white or black. The name behind the change of the tennis ball color to yellow is David Attenborough. At the time of the change, David used to control BBC2, the channel that used to broadcast Wimbledon to the UK audience. He expertly did a study that posited that yellow balls would be easy for viewers who had colored TVs to see. The color would help distinguish the ball when it was close to the court’s white lines.

The action was taken by the ITF, and they amended the rules to include a yellow ball alongside the white one. Despite the change that happened in 1972, the white balls in Wimbledon stuck to the stage until the late 1980s.

What was the shape and form of the first tennis ball?

You and I will share the sentiments that the materials used in early tennis balls were disgustingly unpleasant and strange. If you browse the history books, you will find out that the balls found among the Scotts were made of a sheep’s stomach, wool, and used a rope wrapping. Other earlier versions used animal fur, pinewood, and ropes from intestines. The strangest examples would the ones found in England in 1920 as they had human hair.

The tennis ball’s history has not been all strange. Later versions included leather coverings with sand, chalk, earth, or sawdust fillings. Louis IX, the then king of France, tried to subject the game to some form of standardization; he raised the claim that tennis balls with wool and good leather were the only acceptable ones.

When lawn tennis came around in the 1870s, the new tennis ball began taking shape. One of the processes that aided its development was the vulcanization of rubber. The earliest tennis balls used to be solidly uncovered, but things did not stay like that for long. They were made hollow, subjected to air pressure, and gone through flannel stitching. All these activities were meant to improve play by decreasing wear.

What forms the current tennis balls?

The most straightforward answer to this question was already implied previously, and here it is: they have a shell, a woolen cover (or felt), and a glue cement holding the two dog bones together. The deeper and harder response is not present, seeing that the manufacturers do not reveal the recipe for making modern tennis balls.

While it is true that tennis ball materials can be different, their main ingredients (or components) are quite the same. The balls of the balls are either made from synthetic or natural rubber, but sometimes it is a blend of both. The fuzz (or the felt) can either be nylon, woolen, or a mix of both items.

A well-known tennis ball making company, Penn, uses natural rubber and New Zealand wool. This is according to some of the descriptions of their products. Another one, Slazenger, who is the Wimbledon ball sponsor, uses rubber from Malaysia. Since it makes very little of it, New Zealand supplies ships in most of Slazenger’s rubber.

Is there anything inside of a tennis ball?

Any ball either has a gas or a solid inside it, thus the binary of pressurized and non-pressurized balls. While the pressurized balls have gas or air inside (and are therefore hollow), the non-pressurized have a core made of solid rubber.

For a pressurized tennis ball to be made, manufacturers choose to compress nitrogen, air, or a mix of both into the rubber shell. The reason behind using the nitrogen-air combination is that as a dense gas, nitrogen does not make its way out of the rubber shell as easily as oxygen would. This means that the ball will stay responsively fresh for a long time. An urban myth has it that the gas fitted inside a new ball of tennis can kill you if you accidentally inhale it. The legend, well, is still a myth because science cannot back it up. While oxygen and nitrogen are toxic to humans in high concentration, you probably won’t die because of sniffing a new tennis ball.

A non-pressurized (or pressure-less) tennis ball is just that – it lacks no pressure. It depends on its core, which is hard and made of solid rubber. The core is usually tougher and more rigid than the ball’s shell. This is as opposed to how pressurized tennis balls operate – the compressed gas in the shell makes it possible for them to bounce once they make contact with the ground.

The USTA and the ITF recommend that for tournament play, the internal pressure rating of non-pressurized balls must not go beyond 1 pound per square inch.

Of the many, the noteworthy differences between the pressurized and non-pressurized tennis balls are their longevity and performance. The bounce of the non-pressurized tennis balls is initiated by the solid inner core. The core enables the ball to bounce correctly and adequately without flattening. On the other side, the flattening of the pressurized balls starts when the can of tennis balls is opened. This means that the non-pressurized balls will bounce for long (longer than their counterparts). Also, you can play tennis with them for long – as long as the fuzz holds up.

More from author


Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here

5 × 3 =

Latest posts

Why Are Bicycle Seats So Uncomfortable?

If you've ever gone on a long bike ride or even a short commute on a bicycle, you know that the one thing that...

What Age Do Tennis Players Start?

Tennis is a popular sport enjoyed by millions of people worldwide. Whether you're looking to play for fun or aspire to become a professional...

How To Take Apart A Foosball Table: A Comprehensive Guide

Foosball tables are a fun addition to any game room, but there may come a time when you need to take yours apart. Perhaps...