Wilson or Penn Tennis Balls – Pros & Cons

For some time the professional tennis players have whined and complained about different tournaments using different balls.  They have a legitimate complaint.  In football you have a regulation ball that everyone uses.  In basketball, you have a regulation ball that everyone uses. It’s always the same.

In golf, the player chooses his ball and uses the same one throughout the tournament. In tennis, the tennis ball starts very similar per regulations but changes rapidly when hit at professional speed of 130 mph.  Heck, I have used the Wilson and Penn balls the players complain about and understand what they mean.  Penn, by far works much better through a few sets than sorry Wilson balls.

My personal preference:  ”I usually play with Penn, the felt is a little bit thicker, and I play on hot courts in Florida, where the ball wears out fast.” Also Penn is the official choice of the USPTA and the only ball manufactured in the U.S.

Penn Tennis Balls

Penn Tennis Balls

Here’s the case in point:

After Andy Roddick won his 2nd round match at the Rogers Cup on Wednesday, he broached a popular complaint among the players at this time of year.

Like many of his ATP World Tour counterparts, Roddick dislikes using different tennis balls at different tournaments during the hard court series leading up to the United States Open, which begins Aug. 31. He made that clear — loud and crystal — only minutes into his Wednesday news conference.

“I still think that we shouldn’t be changing tennis balls midsummer,” Roddick said. “That’s just, you know, at the height of not using common sense.”

Before Roddick traveled here, he played at the Legg Mason Classic in Washington. There, the players used Wilson brand tennis balls. Here, they use Penn.

While non-professionals may find that complaint trivial, Roddick and some of his fellow pros have long felt it makes a significant difference in their play.

“Unfortunately, there doesn’t seem to be priority on continuity throughout the U.S. Open Series as far as the tennis balls go,” Roddick said.

A reporter asked what the players could do to change that.

“Well, what are our options?” Roddick snapped. “Not playing?”

The reporter suggested that Roddick and the players could complain to officials, to which Roddick said, “We can talk all we want,” before expanding.

“We can use you guys as an avenue to get our thoughts across,” Roddick said to the room full of reporters. “Because otherwise, they’re just hollow words.”

What’s your favorite tennis ball and why?


11 responses to “Wilson or Penn Tennis Balls – Pros & Cons

  1. Pingback: Online Shopping Tennis Equipment and Reviews » A Battle Far to Epic

  2. hej
    first thank you for your visit – http://www.itsatennisworld.blogspot.com i am for sure interested for everything -thank you
    i already added you on my blog roll you are under tennis blog roll, i have a normal one and tennis one


  3. I’ll play with Penn just because they’re made in the US. At my level, I don’t notice any difference between these brand name balls. But I notice a big difference when someone whips out a can of no-name balls. You would think the tournaments would do whatever they can to please these pros.

    • Kim,
      I think the tournaments all carry the tennis balls of the highest bidder is my guess. They just need to remember it’s not a big deal unless the players get tires of real differences they can sense with the ball. IN regards to no name balls i will name one. The worst tennis balls I have ever played with are Wal-mart’s brand. Horrible and “real” tennis players will laugh you off the court if you bring a can of those.

  4. hi,
    i tried to email you in response to a comment you made on my blog but it bounced back. send me an email if you can.


  5. hi, i like your blog. its nice to read some privately written stuff on tennis…

    Martin from The Sport Review

  6. Pingback: Wilson or Penn Tennis Balls – it pros and cons | The Tennis Equipment Blog

  7. I know I’m chiming in a full year later, but I am outraged for the pros over this issue! Why in the world is it EVER okay to not have standardization regarding ball use? It should be Penn or Wilson for ANY professional tournament anywhere in the world, so that uniformity is assured… Why play well all summer with one ball, but then go into the US Open with another? Or to play these Master 1000 series all over the world with one ball, but go into the French Open or Wimbie with a different ball? They don’t do that in ANY OTHER PROFESSIONAL SPORT!! It’s the SAME football, the SAME basketball, the SAME soccer ball, and with golf, the individual golfer plays with the SAME golf balls throughout… Why should tennis be so miserably out of touch with this issue?

  8. And again even later. I have been playing for 27 years and Penn is my only choice. It pops better, more durable and is all around a good choice even in a five setter. Like I used to say in the Military ” You come up to our standard, don’t bring us down to yours.”

  9. FYI, PENN is no longer made in the U.S.A. They moved the plant to china.
    I know I used to work in the Phoenix plant.

  10. I know it’s been a while this post was made but I jsut figured I ll chip in my 2 cents since Google still shows it in its top results.

    I personally can tell the difference between US Open balls and Penn. I find the USO slightly heavier than Penn and the Aus Open balls the heaviest. You can also tell the difference if you’re playing indoors vs outdoors. One way to bring out the difference is to play with Australian Open balls indoors.

    If the balls or the strings type/tension dont make a difference in one’s game, it’s just a sign that one still has plenty of technique to work on and improve. It’s like rackets. Recall when you first started playing tennis, any racket would do… but as you improve your game, the racket specs start to matter (head size, weight, swing weight etc), you improve more and now the strings type and tension start to matter… and you improve more and now you need a certain string tension for hot days and another for colder days… etc.

    >>> Ashleigh: no need to be outraged because there is a perfectly valid reason why they’re complaining ;- ) For one, you can’t use a hard court ball on clay or grass ball on hard court or any other combination for the simple reason that the bounce is extremely different. Try a USO ball on a Wimbledon court and it’s like playing with rocks. You will hardly get any bounce.

    The argued point is “same balls for same court type”. Mainly hardcourt. But even the later aren’t all made similarly even though for TV viewers they are all blue and green. Some courts are faster than others depending on the amount of sand present in the mix (more sand = slower). Thats why some tournements chose Penn vs USO vs what-have-you.

    There is more stuff to consider but I thnk ive written enough to shed some light on the matter. So the decision isnt as easy as it may seem : )

    Hope this helps! Cheers.

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