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.
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?