Why New Balls Are Important in Tennis? The Truth

Tennis is a sport that requires precision, strategy, and skill. One of the most critical components of the game is the tennis ball. While it may seem like a small detail, the type and condition of the ball can have a significant impact on the outcome of a match.

In this article, we’ll explore why new balls are important in tennis and how they can affect a player’s performance on the court.

The Role of New Balls in Tennis

New tennis balls play a critical role in the game of tennis. They are used in almost every tennis installation and are frequently changed during games. Here are some reasons why new balls are important in tennis:

  • Consistency of Bounce: New tennis balls have not been subjected to the wear and tear of other balls, meaning they will bounce more consistently and provide a truer flight. This consistency is essential for players to make accurate shots and to ensure that the game is fair.
  • Improved Playability: New tennis balls have a higher level of playability compared to used balls. They are pressurized rubber balls with no valve to pump additional air in them when they are low. This means that they have a limited life before they lose their playability. New balls have a better bounce and spin, which can make a significant difference in the outcome of a game.
  • Safety: New tennis balls are less likely to cause injuries compared to used balls. Used balls can become flattened and lose their bounce, which can cause them to bounce unpredictably and increase the risk of injury to players.
  • Enhanced Spectator Experience: New tennis balls are more visible and easier for spectators to follow during a game. The bright yellow color of new tennis balls makes them easier to see against the green background of the court, which enhances the overall spectator experience.

As you can see, new tennis balls are critical to the game of tennis. They provide consistency of bounce, improved playability, safety, and an enhanced spectator experience. It is essential for tennis players to use new balls during matches to ensure a fair and enjoyable game.

Read: Where Do Female Tennis Players Keep The Ball 

Impact on Game Performance

Bounce Consistency

New tennis balls are crucial to maintaining a consistent bounce throughout a match. Over time, tennis balls lose their pressure and become flatter, resulting in an unpredictable bounce. This can make it difficult for players to anticipate and react to their opponent’s shots.

In addition, the fuzz on the surface of the ball wears off as it is hit, which can also affect the bounce. New balls have a consistent amount of fuzz, which helps to maintain a predictable bounce.


New tennis balls are faster than old ones. The rubber in new balls is more elastic, which means that they bounce higher and travel faster through the air. This can make it more challenging for players to return shots, especially if they are not used to the increased speed.


New tennis balls also provide more spin than old ones. The fuzz on the surface of the ball helps to grip the court, allowing players to generate more spin on their shots. This can make it more difficult for opponents to return the ball, as the spin can cause it to bounce in unexpected directions.

Why New Balls Are Important in Tennis

Impact on Game Performance

New balls play a crucial role in enhancing the performance of tennis players. Here are some of the ways in which new balls impact the game performance.

Bounce Consistency

New tennis balls have a consistent bounce, which is essential for players to hit accurate shots. The balls’ fuzz is intact, providing optimal grip and spin, which helps players control their shots better. In contrast, used balls have a fluffier fuzz, making them harder to control and predict their bounce.


New balls travel faster than used ones, making them ideal for players who rely on fast serves and shots. The rubber in new balls is more elastic and has more pressure, providing a faster rebound. This added speed can be the difference between winning and losing a point.


New balls produce more spin than used ones, making them an essential tool for players who rely on spin to control their shots. The fuzz on new balls provides more grip, allowing players to generate more spin on their shots. This added spin can help players hit shots that are harder to return and gives them a significant advantage over their opponents.

Check: Are Tennis Balls Recyclable 

Player Safety and Comfort

When it comes to tennis, player safety and comfort are of utmost importance. New tennis balls play a crucial role in ensuring that players can perform at their best while minimizing the risk of injury.

Reduced Injury Risk

Old tennis balls can become worn out and lose their bounce, which can increase the risk of injuries such as ankle sprains and knee injuries. New tennis balls have a consistent bounce, which helps players maintain their footing and avoid getting injured. Additionally, new tennis balls are less likely to cause blisters on players’ hands, which can be painful and impact their ability to play.

Improved Grip

New tennis balls have a better grip than old ones, which helps players maintain control over their shots. This is especially important when playing on clay or grass courts, where the surface can be slippery. A better grip also reduces the risk of the racket slipping out of a player’s hand, which can cause injuries or lead to a lost point.

In summary, new tennis balls are crucial for player safety and comfort. They reduce the risk of injuries and provide players with a better grip, allowing them to perform at their best.

Professional Standards and Regulations

Professional tennis players are expected to adhere to certain standards and regulations when it comes to the use of new tennis balls during matches. The International Tennis Federation (ITF) has established rules and guidelines that dictate when new balls should be used, how they should be stored, and how they should be handled during play.

According to ITF regulations, new balls must be used in all professional tournaments. However, the number of games that can be played with a new set of balls varies depending on the level of the tournament. For example, in Grand Slam tournaments, new balls are used for the first nine games of each match, while in other tournaments, new balls may only be used for the first seven games.

Once a set of new balls has been used for the allotted number of games, they must be replaced with a new set. The used balls are then collected and sold to the public or donated to charity. The ITF also requires that new balls be stored in airtight containers to prevent them from losing their bounce.

In addition to these regulations, professional tennis players are also expected to handle new balls with care during play. They are not allowed to alter the balls in any way, such as by wetting them or rubbing them with substances that could affect their bounce. If a player is found to have altered the balls, they may be subject to penalties or fines.

Cost and Availability

New tennis balls are not only important for their better performance, but they are also readily available in the market. However, the cost of new tennis balls can vary depending on the brand and the quantity purchased.

For example, a can of three balls from a popular brand like Wilson can cost around $3-$4, while a can of four balls from a brand like Penn can cost around $5-$6. However, purchasing tennis balls in bulk can be more cost-effective, with prices ranging from $1 to $2 per ball.

It is important to note that the cost of tennis balls may also vary depending on the location and the store where they are purchased. Sporting goods stores, online retailers, and even some supermarkets may carry tennis balls, making them easily accessible for players.

In addition to their availability and cost, it is also important to consider the quality of the tennis balls being purchased. While new balls may be more expensive, they offer better performance and consistency, making them worth the investment for serious players.

Environmental Considerations

Waste Management

Tennis balls are not biodegradable, and they end up in landfills, where they take hundreds of years to decompose. Although tennis balls may seem like a small fraction of total landfill waste, they still contribute to environmental pollution. To address this issue, some organizations have started recycling programs to reduce the number of tennis balls that end up in landfills.

Recycling programs like RecycleBalls offer an eco-friendly way to retire tennis balls. The company collects used tennis balls and repurposes them for other uses, such as dog toys, playground surfaces, and even new tennis balls. By recycling tennis balls, players can reduce the amount of waste they generate and contribute to a more sustainable future.

Sustainability Efforts

Tennis ball manufacturers have also started to take sustainability seriously by developing balls that last longer and have a lower environmental impact. Wilson, for example, has released the Triniti tennis ball, which is designed to maintain performance longer and has a lower carbon footprint than traditional tennis balls. The Triniti ball has a unique design that uses a thinner rubber core and a more durable felt cover, which helps it last longer and reduces the number of balls that need to be produced.

The International Tennis Federation (ITF) has also taken steps to address sustainability in tennis. In 2018, the ITF announced a partnership with the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) to promote environmental sustainability in tennis. The partnership aims to reduce the environmental impact of tennis by promoting sustainable practices and reducing waste.

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