Tennis is a great game for all abilities and all ages. It is a great social game and is played all over the world.
The game of Tennis was first played in the 12th century, although no rackets were involved at that time. Players hit the ball with their hand. Rackets were first introduced in the 16th century.
Balls have evovled substantially over the years with a huge amount of money spent on development and new technology.
These are the leading manufacturers of Tennis Balls:-
Plus many, many more.
Tennis balls were manufactured mainly in Europe and the USA, however, the majority of balls are now manufactured in the Philippines, Thailand and Indonesia, due to lower labour costs.
Tennis is also played on different surfaces, grass, clay, hard court being the main ones. Tennis can also be played on carpet, asphalt, concrete and astro turf. Different balls are made to suit the different surfaces and every player will have an opinion on which ball is best, for each given surface.
There are two types of cloth used in the manufacture of Tennis Balls, Melton cloth, which has a high wool content and Needle cloth, which has a high content of synthetic fibres.
Some manufacturers like Slazenger and Dunlop have ranges that use a water repellant on the cloth to dispel water, they call this Hydroguard.
There are 3 types of ball, Type 1, Type 2 and Type 3. Type 1 is used on slower courts surfaces, Type 2 is used for standard speed courts and Type 3 which is used on faster courts.
Each ball must weigh between 56.7g and 58.7g. Most balls are pressurized. Early on compressed air was used but now they use safer gases . The colour of the ball was always black or white, depending on the colour of the background. In 1972, the International Tennis Federation allowed the introduction of yellow coloured Tennis Balls. This yellow ball was introduced to improve the visability for players and spectators. It is now they standard colour throughout the world.
Tennis balls are sold in tins of 3 or 4 balls and are aslo available in buckets of 60 balls up to 96 balls This option is the prefered one for coaches and clubs.
The biggest selling ball in the UK is the Slazenger Wimbledon Hydrogaurd Ultra Vis Tennis Ball. During the Wimbledon tournament over 54000 balls are used. In 2017 there were 54,250 Slazenger Wimbledon tennis balls used during the whole tournament. During the tournament the balls are changed after 7 games, as they are used during the warm-up and then every 9th game. If the ball change is due on a tie break, then they weight until the tie break is finished and then change on the next game.
In 2019, Dunlop became the Official ball supplier to the ATP Tour. Dunlop provided the tournament ball for the Australian Open, the AO Tennis Ball and will provide the ATP ball with their new range of Official ATP tennis balls. Tennis balls come in tins or tubes. The cheaper balls tend to be in tubes and the more expensive balls in metal tins.
Many of the tennis balls are manufactured with a number on them. This is so you can identify your balls on court, if there are other people playing. Like golf the players may be using the same brand so would opt for a ball to be able to identify their ball. The numbers used tend to be 1, 2, 3 and 4, the quality of the ball is the same though and has no bearing on the manufacture quality and is purely cosmetic.
In junior tennis, rules introduced from January 2012 state, all ten years and under competitions, must not use a standard yellow tennis ball. For these competitions it is now mandatory to use a slower 'red', 'orange' or 'green' tennis ball on the appropriate sized court. These balls are designed to offer young players a better opportunity to develop their tennis skills before moving through the stages into the full game.
The red ball is for beginners as it is the slowest ball available. Players would then move into stage 1 and use the orange ball before then moving on to stage 2 and the green ball. These balls are available in tubes of 3 or in bulk buy buckets.