You’ve probably heard that tennis balls are kept or should be kept in the fridge or freezer but don’t really know its purpose or justification.
This post will help you to understand why tennis balls are kept in the fridge and why you should follow a similar practice. Here’s why you need to keep Tennis balls in the refrigerator:
Tennis balls are kept in the fridge to cause their internal air volume to shrink, as a result of cold. This is important if you don’t want the ball to leak. Keep the ball in freezer under 20 degree Celsius to keep them in perfect condition.
It’s important to know what tennis balls are made of to better understand why temperature would affect them.
What Are Tennis Balls Made of?
Most modern tennis balls are made of a hollow rubber core and covered with a high-quality woven cloth, nylon shell, or wool, which is known as the nap. They are then steamed to achieve the fluffy exterior.
Pressurized air trapped inside the rubber core makes the tennis ball bounce. A tennis ball without sufficient pressure inside of it is referred to as a dead ball and makes a thud when it hits the floor.
Hand stitched tennis balls were used for the first Wimbledon tournament in 1902. This meant that no two tennis balls would ever bouncethe same way. However, hand stitching is no longer the case — a heated press is now used to bind the woven cloth to the rubber core.
Official supplier of tennis balls to the Wimbledon Championship, Slazenger, supplies about 54,000 tennis balls every year. More than 20,000 of these tennis balls are used for practice and playing the qualifying game.
However, all of the balls are kept at a temperature of about 20ºC to keep them in perfect condition and to maintain or improve their bounce.
As seen above, tennis balls got their bounce from the pressurized air inside the rubber core. It’s a well-known fact that temperature has a huge impact on pressure and this, in turn, will affect the amount of bounce.
Note: PV = nRT
P = pressure
V = volume
n and R are constants, and
T = temperature
Most times, the tennis balls are kept in the refrigerator to ensure consistency of bounce in the ball. Keeping the tennis balls in the extreme cold will cause their internal air volume to shrink, slowing down the loss of pressure, and preventing the balls from leaking even at the slightest bit.
However, when the balls are taken out of the fridge and allowed to warm up, the pressurized air in them expands to its full normal volume, causing the balls to compress less when hit by a racquet.
Note: Keeping the tennis ball in the fridge isn’t as effective as keeping them in a freezer or refrigerator as the temperature does wonder when the balls are kept at 20°C (68°F).
While most tennis players have attested to the benefit of keeping the tennis ball in the freezer for a few days, some claimed that storing tennis balls in the fridge was a waste of time and had no tangible effect.
Some players also claimed that storing the balls in a fridge kills the rubber inside the tennis balls, making them unplayable.
Since the pressurized air in the tennis ball is affected by temperature changes, the use of heat treatment, instead of cold treatment, has been tried on the ball and found to be more effective.
Although the tennis balls are still stored in a refrigerated container at 68°F at the side of the courts to keep them in perfect condition, tennis balls are kept in a heated can nowadays to warm up until they are required.
Either you are a beginner, intermediate, or advanced tennis player, you need to know that some certain tennis balls are more suited to different surfaces and some balls are of better quality than others.
Luckily, there are lots of high-quality tennis balls on the market to choose from. This post will consider some of the best tennis balls out there, why users like them, and how they differ in performance from others.
Tennis Point Premium Ball
The Tennis Point Premium Ball is made of high-quality material and yet comes at an affordable price – you can get a can of 4 tennis balls for about £4.61 or less if you’re buying in bulk.
The Tennis Point Premium Ball is highly durable, is playable fresh from the tube, and offers a nice blend of pace, control, and bounce.
Most users love the level of touch they get with this tennis ball brand. However, this tennis ball brand may not be available for players in the US or outside of Europe.
Dunlop Fort All Court
This tennis ball brand is possibly one of the most used tennis balls in the industry over the years. Most tennis clubs also use this tennis ball brand.
The Dunlop Fort All Court tennis ball is a solid ball to play with on hard floors. This ball is good enough for club level play though it may feel a bit uncontrollable when fresh from the tube. Once it’s warmed up, itplays well.
The durability of this tennis ball is on the average and also depends on the conditions you play in. This ball is affordable and readily available at most retailers.
Tecnifibre X-One Ball
The Tecnifibre X-One tennis ball is one of the best balls on the market presently. This is a pro-level tournament tennis ball, it is made of high-quality material, and has been used at several ATP 250/500 tournaments, such as Gstaad, Rotterdam, and Marseille.
The Tecnifibre X-One tennis ball is made from high-quality rubber and is covered with 72 percent natural felt. It’s also highly durable and wouldn’t turn into a dog ball. Even with repeated use, you’ll get a consistent speed through the air with this tennis ball.
This tennis ball is a bit pricey – you’ll get this tennis ball at double the cost of the Tennis Point Premium Ball, which is one of its downsides. That doesn’t mean you’ll get double the performance.
Dunlop ATP Ball
This is another awesome tennis ball brand from Dunlop. This brand replaced Penn as the official ATP Tour Ball in 2019 and is available for retail. It is one of the most used tennis balls currently and is very affordable.
This tennis ball is slightly softer than most other tennis balls. As a result, it plays a bit slower and wears quicker. Nevertheless, it gives very good control and takes spin well.
According to reports, this tennis ball plays very well for the nine games it was used for at the professional level. This ball is not suitable for recreational play as it may not be very durable.
Slazenger Wimbledon Ball
Just like the Dunlop Fort, this iconic Slazenger Wimbledon tennis ball is used at the club level in the UK. The ball has a denser and fluffier nature than other tennis balls from Dunlop. This makes this ball to play differently.
When used on hard floors, this tennis ball gets fluffed up exceptionally quickly and seems to play slowly. This will suit tennis players that want slow-paced points and long rallies. This ball also plays well on the lawn, artificial grass, or carpet.
Head Tour/Pro Penn Marathon
This tennis ball is the former official ATP tennis ball before it was replaced with Dunlop. This tennis ball is widely used in the US and Europe, under the Head brand.
This ball is decent and is relatively firm when fresh from the can. It is also very durable, offers consistent bounce and feel, and plays well even when it’s wet.
As seen in the post above, tennis balls are kept in the freezer or refrigerator under the temperature of 20°C to keep them in perfect condition. Just keeping them in the fridge may not be as effective as necessary.