How Tennis Players Choose Balls Before Serving? Facts

Tennis players are meticulous when it comes to choosing the right ball before serving. The ball’s quality can affect the player’s performance, especially if they rely heavily on speed. Therefore, players go through a ritual to select the perfect ball that suits their playing style.

Most professional tennis players check several balls before serving to find the smoothest one. A smooth ball provides increased speed and can increase the player’s chances of hitting an unreturned serve. On the other hand, a fluffy ball tends to slow down the ball’s speed, making it easier for the opponent to return the serve.

Choosing the right ball is not just a matter of preference but also a science. Tennis balls have different types of hair that affect their speed and bounce. Newer balls have smoother hair, which provides increased speed, while older balls tend to get fluffier and slower.

In this article, we will explore how tennis players choose balls before serving and the factors they consider when selecting the perfect ball.

The Importance of Choosing the Right Tennis Ball

Choosing the right tennis ball is essential for players who want to perform at their best. The ball can affect the speed, spin, and bounce of the game, which can ultimately influence the outcome of a match.

Factors to Consider

When selecting a tennis ball, players need to consider several factors, including:

  • Surface: The type of court surface can impact the performance of a tennis ball. For example, a softer ball may be better suited for clay courts, while a harder ball may be better for hard courts.
  • Altitude: The altitude of the playing location can also affect the performance of a tennis ball. In higher altitudes, the air is thinner, which can cause the ball to travel faster and bounce higher.
  • Weather: The weather conditions, such as humidity and temperature, can impact the bounce and speed of a tennis ball. A heavier ball may be better suited for humid conditions, while a lighter ball may be better for cooler temperatures.
  • Personal preference: Ultimately, the player’s personal preference is also a factor. Some players may prefer a ball with more felt or a ball that is softer or harder, depending on their playing style.

How Tennis Players Choose Balls Before Serving

Different Types of Tennis Balls

There are several types of tennis balls available, each with its own unique characteristics.

Type Description
Regular Duty Designed for use on clay or indoor courts. These balls have less felt, which can cause them to wear out faster.
Extra Duty Designed for use on hard courts. These balls have more felt, which can make them more durable but also slower.
High Altitude Designed for use in high altitude locations. These balls are pressurized differently to compensate for the thinner air.
Low Compression Designed for beginners or players with slower swings. These balls are slower and have a lower bounce, making them easier to hit.

By considering these factors and understanding the different types of tennis balls available, players can choose the ball that best suits their needs and playing style.

Check: Why Tennis Courts Are Blue

How Tennis Players Choose Balls Before Serving

Tennis players are very particular about the balls they use during a match. They want to make sure that the ball they choose will help them achieve their desired speed, spin, and control. In this section, we will discuss how tennis players choose balls before serving.

Pre-Match Preparation

Before the match, tennis players will typically select a few cans of balls to use during the match. They will choose balls that are approved by the International Tennis Federation (ITF) and are of the appropriate type for the court surface they will be playing on.

Players will also take into consideration the weather conditions and altitude of the court. For example, at higher altitudes, the balls will fly faster and players may choose a ball that is less pressurized to compensate for this.

Ball Testing During the Match

During the match, players will test the balls to determine which ones are best suited for their playing style. They will typically test the balls during the warm-up and between points.

Players will look for balls that are smooth and have a consistent bounce. They will also check for any defects or damage to the ball, such as cracks or flat spots.

Some players may also prefer a fluffier ball, as it can be easier to control and generate spin. However, a smoother ball may be preferred by players who rely on speed and power.

It’s safe to say that, the choice of ball will depend on the player’s individual preferences and playing style. By carefully selecting the right ball, players can maximize their performance on the court and gain a competitive edge over their opponents.


Choosing the right tennis ball is crucial for players to perform at their best. Tennis players have different preferences when it comes to ball selection, and they use a variety of methods to choose the best ball for their serve.

Some players prefer to select the smoothest balls to maximize their serve speed, while others choose balls with more fuzz for a slower serve. Many players also have superstitions and rituals surrounding ball selection, which can help them focus and get into the zone.

It is important to note that the condition of the ball can change throughout the match, and players may need to adjust their ball selection accordingly. As the ball gets fluffier and slower, players may need to switch to a smoother ball for a faster serve.

Overall, the process of choosing a tennis ball before serving is a combination of science and superstition. Players use their knowledge of ball physics and aerodynamics to select the best ball for their serve, while also relying on personal preferences and rituals to help them perform at their best.

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