All you Ever Wanted to Know About Tennis Balls

Lawn tennis is one of the most popular outdoor games all around the world. Modern-day tennis was invented between 1859 to 1865. The word “Tennis” comes from the Anglo-Norman term “Tenez.” According to sports historians, a British army officer, Walter Clopton Wingfield, is credited as the developer of the modern-day tennis game. If you are a geek like me, you’d like to know every little detail about the game. Now, as a tennis enthusiast, you must have thought of the origin of the game and the ball. In this blog, I’ll try to answer all you ever wanted to know about tennis balls. 

Origin

The first tennis ball dated back as early as the fifteenth century and was made of animal leather filled with a horse or human hair or wool. The Scottish ball makers used the stomach of a goat or sheep to wrap with yarn and tied with threads. In the late 18th century, makers tightly tied strips of wool around a cork-made nucleus. Tennis balls with a cork as the nucleus and cloth covering are still used in the game of tennis, known as Real Tennis.

In the year 1870, vulcanized rubber was first used to make tennis balls. The Germans were very efficient in making vulcanized air-filled rubber tennis balls. Manufacturers made constant research and improvements to the ball by wrapping flannel around its surfaces and later using felt as the exterior cover. Pressurized tennis balls with felt covers are being used today.

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How is a Tennis Ball made?

Tennis balls are made of good quality rubber core that is hollowed out. Mostly, the rubber comes from south Asian countries. The rubber is kneaded and prepped or moulded into a semi-circular half shell before going through the heating procedure.

There are, in fact, three curing and heating processes before shells are combined into the shape of a ball with a pressurized hollow inside.

The ball goes through several more procedures, similar to sandpapering before these are covered in solid glue and wool and/or felt, known as the ball’s nap. This cover can also be made of synthetic materials.

Seams are added after that, and the ball goes through a smoothening and then a steaming process for the bounce. The brand name is added before being inspected, kept in pressurized cans, and transported for sale.

It is the pressurized core of the ball that gives the bounce. Tennis balls should bounce adequately on all surfaces of a tennis court, including clay, cement, sand, or grass. If a ball does not bounce properly, it is known as a dead or a flat ball.

In professional tennis tournaments, the Association for tennis professionals, balls are replaced after every set due to the players’ power. In amateur tennis with non-professional players, three tennis balls should last at least two matches. We say three tennis balls as three balls are used on a court, at the same time.

Types of Balls

From the inception of this game till now, Lots of researches have been going on with tennis balls. Nowadays, there are at least five kinds of tennis balls available in the market. Each of them serves different purposes for the game. 

Special tennis balls

 

The qualities of a tennis ball

How to choose tennis balls

I suggest you start with regular tennis balls and don’t even think of getting an expensive ball. If you are beginning to play, I’d recommend you to get an inexpensive ball. And when you get professional, then only choose a better brand for your practice games. 

If you or your friends love to play tennis regularly, then you should get better quality tennis balls as you go along and improve your skills.

You’d never want to play with the artificial balls as they do not give you any bounce and will break open after a few powerful shots. Buy medium-quality tennis balls for your starting days and try hard not to hit them over the fence.

I’d suggest you go for a brand that makes durable balls in the beginning.

If you play tennis for long, you most likely know what it feels like to hit a dead ball.  

Interesting Facts

Trivial facts always make us excited and feel more connected about the game, let’s get to know some brilliant points about tennis balls: 

Specifications of a Tennis Ball

Tennis balls must follow the specifications as per the rules of the International Tennis Federation. These include:

Tennis balls must be tested under certain conditions, including:

The most well-known tennis ball brands are Dunlop, Wilson, Babolat, Penn Penn, Head, Slazenger, prince, etc. 

Conclusion

Tennis is a game of excitement. Players running around the court, serving and hitting back the ball as hard as they can, rush adrenaline through our veins. Whether you are a tennis enthusiast like me or directly involved in playing, learning these facts mentioned above is fun. Learn more about your favourite sports, and feel more connected to them. With the grand-slam season just starting, let’s watch the games of our favourite players with these incredible facts in mind.

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