What tennis balls do you use? Some don't even know, they just play with “whatever”. The tennis balls can be quite important.
It took me a few years of tennis playing to understand how important it is to change balls relatively often. Playing with overly-used and worn tennis balls can lead to injury. They will lose the felt and become soft and lack liveliness and bounce. I play with the same balls twice generally and I currently use HEAD Tour XT balls. They are durable, feels good on the arm and has a bit more weight to them. I also like Dunlop Fort All Court for example.
What tennis balls a tournament uses is not trivial for the players. I wrote about Nadal's complaints about the French Open balls here. And in today's match against Dusan Lajovic in Rotterdam, Daniil Medvedev complained loudly and frequently about the Tecnifibre X-One balls (his sponsor). He even complained in French, probably to drive the point home to Tecnifibre even further.
It's a money thing
On the ATP Tour, the balls used is a money thing. To get the tournament to use your balls, you will need to write a nice, big sponsor cheque. Nothing strange about that, but the players don't have any say in the balls chosen. From what I have heard, Medvedev was not alone in voicing complaints about the Tecnifibre X-One balls. I have never used them myself, so I don't really have an opinion about them, but they are said to be lively and pretty light for “Tour” balls. This is what tournament director Richard Krajicek said about the balls.
“It's a very good ball. Lively and durable, tennis players like it very much.”
Maybe tennis players in general, but not Daniil Medvedev.
I am personally a fan of heavier balls because I get more control out of them. But it all depends on the circumstances. If you play with a heavy ball in heavy conditions, it might get too much. And if you play with a lively and light ball on a hot sunny day on a clay court, it's not ideal either. Like with everything, you need to find a balance of the conditions and the ball. I am not sure how Rotterdam's court plays in relation to the balls, but it might be a mismatch.
What tennis balls do you play with? Do you have a favorite or it doesn't matter?
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Tennis Warehouse Europe
Generally I’m a fan of a lot of various Dunlop tennis balls. They have great durability and feel comfortable. I’ve tried pretty much all the brands out there and Tecnifibre ones are on the lower spectrum of my preference together with RS. Tretorn serie + control is also on the top of my list.
Wimbledon Slazenger ball is on top of the list.
Dunlop Grand Prix all court
Tf X-One is a hard ball for hard hitting, it really needs to be hit properly, but is very nice, has a nice control and trajectory, and lasts a lot, it doesn’t fluff up or soften too much. Players who don’t like to drive the ball and depend on redirecting, absorbing pace and defending won’t like it. Medvedev is one of them. When he hit the ball proper it went in, when he tried to just block it it didn’t. Combined with a slower surface, it didn’t give him much to work with, but he was imploding emotionally anyway. After AO final he most definitely needs rest.
Players who prefer to hit hard, like Rublev, Khachanov, Wawrinka etc. will definitely like the ball. Krajicek knows it, and players have in fact said that they really like the ball several times over the years. Monfils won two times in a row, and he was really attacking and hitting it, he played great. With a slow half dead ball – like Dunlop Australian Open – such tennis is a no-go, and Novak will win 10 more AO’s with it.
My favorites are Wilson Titanium All Court. Lively, long lasting and only $1.92 a can. Apparently a well kept secret.
Robin Soderling Black Series ball and Head Tour XT (Pro Penn Marathon in US?) ball i would have at the top of my list of well weighted high quality balls. Top end price point though.
Dunlop Aus Open and ATP are nice balls but perhaps not straight out of the can, then need a few minutes hitting. Mid range price point.
Head Championship (Penn1 in US?) seem to have nice weight and also lively bounce yet pliable rather than brick like on the string contact and are good value.