Tennis BallsTennis Equipment

A Closer Look at The Best Tennis Balls On The Market Right Now

Does that fuzzy yellow ball matter? What are the best balls out there?

Is there such a thing as the best tennis ball? Or can you just play with absolutely anything as long it's round and covered in felt?

The short answer is that it mainly boils down to personal preference, but there are certain balls you should avoid, certain balls that are more suited to different surfaces and some that are better quality than others.

The good news is there's plenty of high-quality tennis balls the market to choose from.

The ITF has well over 150 approved balls for use, and in this guide, I'll give you a bit of insight into what I consider some of the best tennis balls out there, why I like them, and how they differ in performance from one and other.

Before we get into it, the first thing to note is that this guide is for tennis balls designed for match use and hitting sessions played with a purpose. If you are wanting to practice serves or hit 100 forehands in a row that are hand-fed, pretty much any ball will do.

A Quick History Lesson on Tennis Balls

Lawn Tennis White Ball

In the 1870s, tennis balls were made from India rubber, which was formed from a vulcanisation process invented by Charles Goodyear.

Originally tennis balls were made solely of rubber, but they were soon improved by covering them with flannel stitched around the rubber core. Further developments saw the core hollowed and pressurised with gas.

The balls were manufactured using the ‘clover-leaf' principle whereby an uncured rubber sheet was stamped into a shape resembling a three-leaf clover, and this was formed into a spherical shape.

As you can imagine, this wasn't exactly precision manufacturing, and as the game became more professional, a higher degree of uniformity was required, so the process changed to using a compression mould with two half-shells.

Those of you who watched tennis back in the day when Rod Laver was the man to beat will know the balls were either black or white in colour, depending on the colour of the court surface.

However, in 1972 the ITF introduced yellow tennis balls as they were more visible to television viewers. Wimbledon, in typical style, continued to use the traditional white ball, but eventually adopted yellow balls in 1986.

How A Tennis Ball is Made

What Makes a Good Tennis Ball

What Makes A Good Ball

What makes a good ball can be broken down into two categories:

  • What players want
  • What bodies like the ITF and USTA are looking for

While both needs are different, the two are closely linked.

As a player, I want two things:

  • Good durability
  • Consistency in bounce and play

The ITF is looking for much more than that, but their requirements essentially guarantee we as players are going to get both of the above.

In their testing laboratory, when approving balls the ITF tests the following:

  • Mass – must be between 56.0-59.4 grams
  • Size – appropriate size is determined using two ring gauges. A ball must pass through the larger one under its own weight, but not through the smaller one. Each ball is rotated on the gauges to check its concentricity.
  • Deformation – done initially with a Stevens Machine but now done with an automated deformation testing device.
  • Rebound – the test involves dropping the ball vertically from a height of 254 cm (100 inches) and measuring the rebound.
  • Durability – done via air cannon that fires balls onto a rigid surface. The impact speed of the ball is 40 m/s (144 km/h); each ball is subjected to 20 impacts. The outer surface (cloth) of the ball is then worn by putting two balls at a time in an abrasion box for two minutes. The abrasion box is lined with sandpaper-like material and has three rotating wooden paddles that knock the balls around inside the box.

The Types of Ball To Avoid

Tennis Balls To Avoid

First up are balls to avoid:

Unbranded Balls

These are the type you find in your supermarket wrapped in a plastic bag. These balls are good for dogs, but not good for tennis. They are usually heavy, rock hard and play like hitting a brick. Avoid.

Pressureless Tennis Balls

Any decent tennis ball for match use will come in a pressurised container that's sealed. While pressureless tennis balls do have their applications like with a ball machine or for basket fed practice drills, if you're looking to improve and play matches, then you need the balls to be pressurised.

All balls used in league matches etc. are pressurised, so it makes sense to practice with them too. Otherwise, you'll be in for a nasty surprise come match day as they fly through the court far more than pressureless balls.

Avoid Buying From Shops That Don't Sell Balls Often

The final pitfall to avoid is don't buy balls from places that only sell a tube of balls once in a blue moon.

The reason here is that the pressure in the tube does leak over time, so if you buy one that's been gathering dust for the last 12 months, the balls won't be as good as a tube fresh from the manufacturer, and they will not bounce as high.

So make sure you buy from a retailer that's turning over a decent volume of stock throughout the year. That way they're taking delivery of freshly manufactured balls regularly, and the ones you buy won't have been on the shelf for months. 

The Best Tennis Balls on the Market Right Now

Best Tennis Balls Review

Below are what I consider the best tennis balls you can play with right now. With over 150 ITF approved balls, this is by no means an exhaustive list, but they are all balls I've tried several times and can recommend.

The below is just my opinion based on spending a small fortune on balls over the years. It's not scientific in terms of weights, firmness, how much the felt fluffs, etc., it's purely my experience and how I think they play. 

Do I think I could tell the difference between balls in a blind test? While not quite as skilled as Dominica Cibulkova, on some I can tell the difference immediately, but many play very similar so it would be tricky. Based on that there must be some bias based on how I've historically played with a ball as to why I like it more than others 🙂

Tennis Point Premium Ball

Tennis Point Premium Ball
  • Type: Soft
  • Felt: Compact
  • Weight: Medium
  • Bounce: Average

The Tennis Point Premium Ball has been my go-to ball for the last few months. Why? It's a premium tennis ball at an affordable price.

I pick these up for £4.61 for a can of 4 (or less when bulk buying) and considering they are made in the same factory as some of the more well known branded balls (Thailand) it's a bit of a no brainer.

It's playable fresh from the tube, has a good level of durability, stands up well on hard courts and I like the level of touch I get with this ball.

Sadly it's not one that will be available for those of you in the United States or outside of Europe but for those of you are; I'd recommend giving it a go.

Why I Like The Ball

  • Affordable
  • Excellent Durability
  • Nice blend of pace, control and bounce


Dunlop Fort All Court

Dunlop Fort All Court

  • Type: Medium
  • Felt: Fluffy
  • Weight: Heavy
  • Bounce: High

The Dunlop Fort All Court is probably one of the most widely used balls on the planet, and it's certainly the ball I've used the most over the years. Most tennis clubs in the UK use this ball, so it's ever-present in league matches and doubles games.

For some reason the Fort All Court divides opinion, some players love it, others look away in disgust when you take a fresh can from your bag and instead insist on using their own Slazenger Wimbledon balls. Even though they're both made in the same factory in the Philippines 😁

I've always found it a solid ball to play with on hard courts. It's not the best ball I've ever played with, but it is more than good enough for club level play and has always played consistently for me.

The ball can feel a bit uncontrollable when fresh from the tube, but after a quick warm-up, they play well. In terms of durability, I would say it's average and can depend on what conditions you play in. I get more playtime from the Tennis-Point Premium Ball, but the Fort All Court usually plays well for two sets.

Why I Like The Ball

  • Affordable
  • Ok durability
  • Readily available at most retailers


Tecnifibre X-One Ball

Tecnifibre X One Ball

  • Type: Soft
  • Felt: Compact
  • Weight: Light
  • Bounce: High

The Tecnifibre X One Ball is probably the best ball on the market right now. It's a high quality, pro-level tournament ball and has been used at several ATP 250/500 tournaments including Marseille, Rotterdam, and Gstaad.

The balls are made from high-quality rubber made by Bridgestone and covered with 72% natural felt from Milliken whose felts are used on several other high-quality balls.

The X One is durable, and it doesn't ever really turn into a dog ball. It seems to fluff up a bit, but never really goes beyond a certain point, so you get a consistent speed through the air.

The only reason I don't use this ball more regularly is the price. They come in at double the cost of the Tennis Point Premium Ball, and although they're great balls, I don't think you get double the performance.

If your retailer of choice stocks them (they're not the most widely available), then I recommend you give them a go, and they are certainly a ball worth using for important matches. The final thing to note is the balls aren't numbered (more on that below) but given Tecnifibre balls aren't in widespread use, it likely won't matter.

Why I Like The Ball

  • Fluffs up but not excessively, so plays well for longer
  • Great durability
  • Consistent bounce and fast through the air


Dunlop ATP Ball

Dunlop Atp Ball

  • Type: Soft
  • Felt: Fluffy
  • Weight: Medium
  • Bounce: High

Dunlop replaced Penn as the official ATP Tour Ball last year, and the ball is, of course, available for retail. This is the most widely used ball on tour at the moment, and it plays well.

From my experience, I find it slightly softer than the Tennis-Point and the Wilson US Open Ball, so it plays a little bit slower and wears quicker.

As a result, it's quite a nice ball to control and takes spin well, so it's easy to see why it's the ATP Ball. For the nine games they are used for at the pro level, the Dunlop ATP Ball plays very well.

However, for recreational play, they are not the most durable ball, and from my perspective, I prefer a firmer response that is quicker through the air, but I like this ball on volleys as it gives a nice plush feeling on the strings.

Why I Like The Ball

  • Relatively affordable despite carrying the ATP label
  • Takes spin well and quite a nice ball to volley/control


Slazenger Wimbledon Ball

Slazenger Wimbledon Ball

  • Type: Soft
  • Felt: Fluffy
  • Weight: Heavy
  • Bounce: Average

The iconic Slazenger Wimbledon ball. Along with the Dunlop Fort, it's one of the most commonly used balls at club level in the UK, and pretty much every player who's played the game will have used the Slazenger Wimbledon at some point.

The ball is made in the Dunlop factory in Bataan, but it has a denser and fluffier nature than Dunlop branded balls so plays differently. The Dunlop Fort All Court, for example, are bullet-like when new, the Slazenger Wimbledon is plusher straight from the can.

I'm a big fan of this ball but only in specific settings. Whenever I use this ball on hard courts, it gets fluffed up exceptionally quickly and seems to play slowly. That might suit some players who want slow-paced points and long rallies, but I like a ball that is flying through the air more. 

When it's on grass or artificial grass, it feels much more at home. It's got a good weighty feel to it, that thicker felt makes it controllable, and its characteristics make it a good match for a quick surface as it's not flying stupidly fast through the air.

Why I Like The Ball

  • Plays great on grass, artificial grass and carpet courts
  • Iconic ball as Slazenger was used at very first Wimbledon


Wilson US Open Ball

Wilson Us Open Ball
  • Type: Soft
  • Felt: Compact
  • Weight: Light
  • Bounce: High

Another popular ball that's used widely in the USA is the Wilson US Open Ball. I've used this ball extensively over the years and for an actual competitive match, they are probably my favourite ball to play with.

While many balls have a bit of break-in time for a couple of games, the US Open balls play well straight out of the tube and just play consistently well in terms of bounce.

The downside for me is they don't last that long. They're great for a set and a half but wear out quite quickly so you will need to change them quite often. The good news is they're fairly well priced and you can pick up some decent bulk deals.

Why I Like The Ball

  • Plays well fresh from the tube
  • Consistent bounce and feel


Head Tour / Pro Penn Marathon

Head Tour Ball
  • Type: Medium / Hard
  • Felt: Compact
  • Weight: Medium
  • Bounce: High

Formerly the official ATP ball before Dunlop signed a new deal, the Penn Marathon (or Penn Tour) is widely used in the United States. In Europe, the balls are sold under the Head brand, but they are the same ball.

Historically, Penn balls were made in Arizona, but since they were bought out by Head, the factory closed in 2009 and manufacturing was farmed out to China. Many players on the forums say that the US made ones were of better quality but having never used them before the switch I can't comment.

I've used the Head Tour Ball several times, and it's a decent ball. They are relatively firm when fresh from the can so they do fly early on, but durability is excellent.

While not my personal favourite, it will be top the list for a lot of players as they're popular at club level, seem to play well even when it's wet (unlike Slazenger Wimbledon balls) and are simply a good all-round ball that performs well on all surfaces.

Why I Like The Ball

  • Good durability
  • Consistent bounce and feel


Wildcard: Wilson Triniti Ball

Wilson Triniti
  • Type: Hard
  • Felt: Compact
  • Weight: Medium
  • Bounce: Variable

The final ball on my list is a wildcard pick, and it's the Wilson Triniti Ball. Wilson markets this as eco-friendly by virtue of it being in a cardboard tube. So while it's not strictly speaking a pressurised ball, it does have similar features.

What Wilson has done is to develop a new core, called Engage, which is made of new plastomer material. That makes the core supposedly keep its liveliness four times longer than that in a typical ball.

The new plastomer-core weighs less than a normal core and to make the overall weight the same, Wilson has made the new core thicker. As per their marketing, this gives more spin, more feel, and more control.

I tested this ball when it first came out, and it's an interesting ball. I used them for about ten separate hitting sessions, and the ball will last you a good long time.

When they are fresh from the cardboard tube, I find them hard and challenging to play with, but 20 minutes in, they improve. Overall I find them slightly inconsistent with bounce, but I would recommend giving them a go as the durability makes them an excellent choice for players who don't want to keep buying fresh cans week in and week out.


Full List of ITF Approved Balls for 2020

Below you'll see the full list of ITF approved balls for 2020. Type 1 balls are classified as ‘fast' balls. Type 2 balls are classified as ‘medium' balls. Finally, high altitude balls, as you would have guessed, are for use on courts at high altitude.

You will also see that there are only really three places in the world that make tennis balls – China, the Philippines, and Thailand. Meaning the vast majority of balls do come from the same factory. However, the quality of felt, density of felt, and the thickness of the wall of the ball differ.

Ball Type Made In
Artengo TB 530 Type 2 Thailand
Artengo TB 920 Type 2 Thailand
Artengo TB 930 Type 2 Thailand
Babolat Championship Pressureless Type 2 Thailand
Babolat Gold Academy (pressureless) Type 2 Thailand
Babolat Gold All Court Type 2 Thailand
Babolat Gold Championship Type 2 Thailand
Babolat Gold High Altitude High Altitude Thailand
Babolat Team Type 2 Thailand
Babolat Team All Court Type 2 Thailand
Babolat Team Clay Type 1 Thailand
Balls Unlimited Code Black Type 2 Thailand
Balls Unlimited Code Red Type 2 Thailand
Bridgestone NX1 Type 2 Thailand
Bridgestone XT8 Type 2 Thailand
Bridgestone XT8 (PET) Type 2 Thailand
Cosco Championship Type 2 India
Diadem Premier Type 2 Thailand
Dunlop Ace All Court Type 2 Philippines
Dunlop ATP Type 2 Philippines
Dunlop ATP Type 2 Thailand
Dunlop ATP Championship Type 2 Philippines
Dunlop ATP Championship Extra Duty Type 2 Philippines
Dunlop ATP Championship Regular Duty Type 2 Philippines
Dunlop ATP Extra Duty Type 2 Philippines
Dunlop ATP Extra Duty High Altitude High Altitude Philippines
Dunlop ATP Regular Duty Type 2 Philippines
Dunlop Australian Open Type 2 Thailand
Dunlop Australian Open (2-ball) Type 2 Thailand
Dunlop Australian Open (Metal can) Type 2 Philippines
Dunlop Australian Open (PET) Type 2 Philippines
Dunlop Australian Open (PET) Type 2 Thailand
Dunlop BTV 1.0 Type 2 Philippines
Dunlop Championship All Surface Type 2 Philippines
Dunlop Championship Hard Court Type 2 Philippines
Dunlop Championship Hard Court High Altitude High Altitude Philippines
Dunlop Club All Court Type 2 Philippines
Dunlop Extra Life (pressureless) Type 2 Philippines
Dunlop Fort Type 2 Thailand
Dunlop Fort (PET) Type 2 Thailand
Dunlop Fort All Court Tournament Select Type 2 Thailand
Dunlop Fort All Court Tournament Select Type 2 Philippines
Dunlop Fort All Court Tournament Select High Altitude High Altitude Philippines
Dunlop Fort All Court Tournament Select Swiss Type 2 Philippines
Dunlop Fort Clay Court Type 2 Philippines
Dunlop Fort Elite Type 2 Philippines
Dunlop Fort Max TP (KNLTB) Type 2 Philippines
Dunlop Fort Tournament Type 2 Philippines
Dunlop Grand Prix Extra Duty Type 2 Philippines
Dunlop Grand Prix Regular Duty Type 2 Philippines
Dunlop Match Type 2 Philippines
Dunlop Pro Coach Type 2 Philippines
Dunlop Tour Brilliance Type 2 Philippines
Dunlop Tour Performance Type 2 Philippines
Head Championship Type 2 China, P.R.
Head Championship (2-ball) Type 2 Thailand
Head Davis Cup Type 2 China, P.R.
Head Instinct Type 2 China, P.R.
Head Marathon (pressureless) Type 2 Thailand
Head Master Type 2 China, P.R.
Head No.1 Type 2 China, P.R.
Head Pro Type 2 China, P.R.
Head Radical Type 2 China, P.R.
Head Team Type 2 China, P.R.
Head Tour Type 2 China, P.R.
Head Tour High Altitude High Altitude Thailand
Head Tour XT Type 2 China, P.R.
HTV Official Type 2 Thailand
INNI MASTER Type 2 Indonesia
INNI TOURNAMENT Type 2 Indonesia
Karakal Ace Type 2 Chinese Taipei
Maax Force Type 2 Thailand
Maxed Elite Type 2 China, P.R.
Meister Platinum Type 2 Thailand
Nassau Championship Type 2 Indonesia
Nassau Championship Pro Type 2 Indonesia
Nassau Czar Plus Type 2 Indonesia
Nassau Czar Tour Type 2 Indonesia
Nassau Patriot Type 2 Indonesia
Nassau Smash Type 2 Indonesia
Nassau Smash Clay court Type 2 Indonesia
Nassau Tournament Type 2 Indonesia
ODEA HONOR Type 2 China, P.R.
ODEA PASSION Type 2 China, P.R.
ODEA SPEED Type 2 China, P.R.
Penn Championship Extra Duty Type 2 China, P.R.
Penn Championship Extra Duty High Altitude High Altitude China, P.R.
Penn Championship Regular Duty Type 2 China, P.R.
Penn Tour Extra Duty Type 2 China, P.R.
Penn Tour Extra Duty High Altitude High Altitude China, P.R.
Penn Tour Regular Duty Type 2 China, P.R.
Prince Type 2 Thailand
Pro Kennex Championship Type 2 Thailand
Pro Kennex Premium Type 2 Thailand
Pro Kennex Premium High Altitude High Altitude Thailand
Pro Penn Marathon Extra Duty Type 2 China, P.R.
Pro Penn Marathon Extra Duty High Altitude High Altitude China, P.R.
Pro Penn Marathon Regular Duty Type 2 China, P.R.
RS All Court Black Edition Type 2 Thailand
RS Black Edition High Altitude High Altitude Thailand
RS Club Edition Type 2 Thailand
RS Tour Edition Type 2 Thailand
Slazenger Championship Type 2 Philippines
Slazenger Championship Hydroguard Type 2 Philippines
Slazenger Club All Court Type 2 Philippines
Slazenger Open Type 2 Philippines
Slazenger Tie Break Type 2 Philippines
Slazenger Tournament Type 2 Philippines
Slazenger Wimbledon Type 2 Philippines
Slazenger Wimbledon Swiss Type 2 Philippines
Slazenger Wimbledon Ultra Vis High Altitude High Altitude Philippines
Snauwaert All Court Type 2 Thailand
Solinco Apex Type 2 Thailand
Srixon Type 2 Thailand
Srixon HD Type 1 Thailand
STAR Major Tour Type 2 Thailand
Tecnifibre Champion Type 2 Thailand
Tecnifibre Club Type 2 Thailand
Tecnifibre Court Type 2 Thailand
Tecnifibre XLD (pressureless) Type 2 Thailand
Tecnifibre X-One Type 2 Thailand
Tecnifibre X-One High Altitude High Altitude Thailand
Teloon Lux Q1 Type 2 China, P.R.
Teloon Pound Type 2 China, P.R.
Teloon Pound Tour Type 2 China, P.R.
Teloon X-Tour Type 2 China, P.R.
Tennis Point Premium Type 2 Thailand
Toalson Championship Type 2 Indonesia
Torneo Type 2 China, P.R.
Tretorn Micro X (see note) Type 2 Thailand
Tretorn Plus (pressureless) Type 2 Thailand
Tretorn Pro Control (pressureless) Type 2 Thailand
Tretorn Pro Court Type 2 Thailand
Tretorn Serie+ Type 2 Thailand
Tretorn Serie+ Control Type 2 Thailand
Tretorn Swedish Open Type 2 Thailand
Tretorn Tournament Type 2 Thailand
Ultra Shine Type 2 Thailand
Wilson Championship (pressureless) Type 2 Thailand
Wilson Championship Extra Duty Type 2 Thailand
Wilson Championship Extra Duty (2 ball) Type 2 Thailand
Wilson Championship High Altitude High Altitude Thailand
Wilson Championship Regular Duty Type 2 Thailand
Wilson DTB TOUR 2.0 Type 2 Thailand
Wilson Prime All Court Type 2 Thailand
Wilson RF Legacy Type 2 Thailand
Wilson Roland Garros All Court Type 2 Thailand
Wilson Roland Garros Clay ASA Type 2 Thailand
Wilson Roland Garros Clay Court Type 2 Thailand
Wilson Roland Garros Event Type 2 Thailand
Wilson Roland Garros Tournament Type 2 Thailand
Wilson Team Practice Type 2 Thailand
Wilson Titanium Type 2 Thailand
Wilson TNB Tour 2.0 Type 2 Thailand
Wilson Tour All Court Type 2 Thailand
Wilson Tour Clay Type 2 Thailand
Wilson Tour Germany Type 2 Thailand
Wilson Tour Premier Type 2 Thailand
Wilson Tour Premier All Court Type 2 Thailand
Wilson Tour Premier All Court LA Type 2 Thailand
Wilson Tour Premier Clay (pressureless) Type 2 Thailand
Wilson Tour Premier Clay Court Type 2 Thailand
Wilson Tour Premier Grass Court Type 2 Thailand
Wilson Tour Slam Type 2 Thailand
Wilson Tour Standard Type 2 Thailand
Wilson Triniti Type 2 Thailand
Wilson Ultra All Court Type 2 Thailand
Wilson Ultra All Court High Altitude High Altitude Thailand
Wilson Ultra Club All Court Type 2 Thailand
Wilson Ultra Prime Type 2 Thailand
Wilson US Open Extra Duty Type 2 Thailand
Wilson US Open Extra Duty (2 ball) Type 2 Thailand
Wilson US Open Extra Duty CTS Type 2 Thailand
Wilson US Open Extra Duty Swiss Tennis Type 2 Thailand
Wilson US Open High Altitude High Altitude Thailand
Wilson US Open Regular Duty Type 2 Thailand
Wilson WTV Tour 2.0 Type 2 Thailand
Yonex Game Type 2 Thailand
Yonex Muscle Power Tournament Type 2 Thailand
Yonex Tour Type 2 Thailand

Frequently Asked Questions

Why are some tennis balls numbered?

Whenever you open a fresh can of balls, you will have probably noticed the balls are usually numbered either with a 1, 2, 3, or 4.

An old wives' tale is that balls numbered four are better as they are pressurised more. This is false.

The reason they are numbered is to stop them from getting mixed up when you are playing on courts that are side by side.

If one court has Wilson US Open Balls marked with a 2, and the other courts are numbered 4, it is easy to distinguish between.

What does Extra Duty mean?

Extra Duty means that the ball has a thicker and more durable felt coating than a regular duty ball. Extra duty balls are designed for used on hardcourts as the surface wears the ball out quicker.

If you play on hard courts, use extra duty. If you play on clay, use regular duty or balls marked as clay specific. Extra duty balls will pick up too much clay.

Why are tennis balls pressurised?

Pressurised balls are sold in airtight containers to maintain the pressure inside the ball which needs to be 14-16 lbs for a proper bounce.

Because the pressure inside the ball is higher than the air pressure outside, the pressure inside will leak out slowly over time. The sealed pressure inside the manufacturer's tin or tube creates an equilibrium around the ball which keeps the air inside the ball from seeping out.

What is your favourite tennis ball to play with, and why? Let me know in the comments.


Huge fan of Roger Federer. I watch all his matches from Grand Slam level right down to ATP 250. When I'm not watching or writing about tennis I play regularly myself and have a keen interest in tactics, equipment and technicalties of the sport.

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  1. Really good article, Jonathan. Do tennis brands have a “made date” on the can. So one can buy fresher balls.

    1. Cheers.

      Yeah good question, tbh I have never seen it or really looked, so I don’t think they do. Not on any of the cans I just looked at now.

      It would be a good idea. Maybe they don’t so that older cans don’t get left on the shelf.

      1. Yes, I guess the industry doesn’t have to worry about getting sued over botulism if they sell dead balls. The shops should rotate their stock though.

    1. Yeah, good memory!
      We were approached by an american company a few years back that challenged us to match the colour of a polyester bundle of staple they used as the raw material for the felt they then supply to Penn. We produce only acrylic, mostly for yarn makers, air filters and so on, so it was uncharted territory for us. We had to look for the right fluorescent yellow colorant, that turned out to be sparingly soluble, so preparing the batches is a pain in the butt.
      Anyway, they tried it and it seems the balls’ performance was nice. Now we regularly supply them around 50 tons a year, so that’s a lot of balls.
      The felts don’t rot or grow mould because, generally, synthetic fibers don’t absorb much water and are not eatable by any living creature, no matter how hungry it is.

      1. Is there much difference between natural and synthetic felts in terms of playability?

        I am not sure what most balls use, the Tecnifibre ball is a mix I think

      2. I think that many types of fibres work fine, including blends. In Gloucestershire there’s a plant that makes fabric using a blend of cotton, wool and nylon:
        Nylon is very resistant to abrasion and to mechanical stress but the surface friction is low. Cotton maybe provides more grip but the tenacity is lower. Wool is the same but unless it’s top tier lambswool it tends to form pills. The limitation of natural fibres is that one doesn’t get to choose their properties. Synthetics can be made in whatever shape, diameter, tenacity, stretchability, friction, etc, etc. Plus they can be producer-dyed (my main business and R&D work, hey!) so no need of endless and high water consumption processes.

  2. Have you played with the Tretorn Micro X? It’s an ITF approved pressureless ball. I’ve played with them a ton to save on money as they will last and play pretty consistently as long as there’s some felt left. They feel a bit harder than regular balls, but to me they feel close enough to do hitting with. Sure, brand new pressurised balls play a bit quicker, but I feel like I can make the transition without thinking about it. Opinions?

    1. Ye I have, I like those balls. Kinda similar to the Triniti. Some of their pressurised balls are used for tournaments in Germany I think.

      I think you could use them in a match. I just like serving with that fresh ball from a can.

  3. Back in the late ’90s, Penn used to be available in Sweden. Used to like them but a decade or so later when I came back to tennis, I couldn’t find them anymore. The preferred ball became Head ATP. Still play it my preferred ball. Unbeatable price-performance here in Germany. The Dunlop All Court and Tournament are really good but the prices are terrible over here, especially on the Fort Tournament.

    1. Guess it was the merger when Head bought them out that stopped them being sold under the Penn name in Europe.

      I recall seeing them in shops too in the UK but haven’t seen them for many years.

      Have you used the Tennis Point Premium if you’re in Germany?

      Tretorn make some alright balls too.

  4. Used tennis balls make for a huge amount of trash. What are the recycling/reuse options?
    In my club sometimes the teaching pros serve the dead balls over the fence, straight into the Marines training facilities that are just across the street.
    I just hope they don’t get too pissed off about it and start returning hand grenades!!!

    1. Yeah must be thousands thrown away daily. Wonder what you could do with them. I just Googled and there’s a firm in the US that grinds them up and uses them as a compound for court surfaces.

      1. Indian Wells used to take used balls. Here they are put under school decks and chairs to prevent scratching and noise!

    2. I have a friend, who’s dog can “recycle” balls from a GS in real-time 😉 Well, then my friend has the problem of how to recycle dead-after-dead balls, which are no more usable for dogs 😉 Kids? (not yet able to hold a racket).
      BTW – Jon – which balls are favorites of top players? We hear sometimes players complaining loud about some balls, but it’s rather about the ball-court-humidity-wind-frame-string-tension-whatever-…-mix than balls themselves, I guess?
      My favorites (I mean – brands, not models) are Babolat and Wilson (because of optimal feeling and relatively weak wrists). Tretorn and Dunlop are on my blacklist (too hard). Of course strictly subjective.

    1. A genuine FedFan doesn’t until end of 2020, I guess 😉 I can, because I’m not that genuine FF, but genuine DTfan.
      Have watched yesterday parts of some matches at W&S. While I’m not a fan of big noise on tennis arenas, the perfect silence was weird even for me (even during pauses no music or something on smaller courts). I think, they should create some simulation of natural noises like wind or some soft people’s noise in the background.
      Right now I’m trying to understand, how it goes on hobby courts, where there is no public at all. But – players are speaking to each other from time to time, courts are close to street or park, so there is always some noise..
      Well, perfect silence is something I love, but only if it’s natural. It’s for sure not natural for athletes doing a show-like sport.
      I have seen part of Andy Murray match, but Andy is a big self-talker, so the only thing he hears when playing must be own voice 😉
      Big loser in this aspect will be Djoker, who must be used to hear the public cheering loud for his opponent, which is making Djoker get extra energy and motivation and at the end mostly winning 🙁

  5. Predictable result. Who’s going to stop him at the USO? Line judges out of a job permanently?

    Watched one of Fed’s matches the other day….miss him and his style.

  6. I’m a convert to Triniti. They feel a tiny bit hard at first, but that quickly passes. They keep a really good bounce, and you can keep using them for ages, 3 or 4 times longer, until the felt eventually starts to come apart.
    Feels virtuous to be putting less balls and no cans into landfill.

  7. Yes, Fed was the last to beat Djoker! I was routing for RBA. I thought he was going to pull it off. Then Raonic looked mediocre in the final after a good week. They say the courts are fast so I wonder if Ashe is as well.

    They seem to have a pretty tight system there. I wonder if players that opted out are now wishing they were competing.

    I did enjoy watching some tennis!

    1. RBA and ND looked very tired during set 3, maybe due to heat and humidity.
      At patches it looked that RBA’s flatter hitting was putting ND in check. I think he’s quite atypical for a Spanish player.
      As for Milos, his game came crumbling down after breaking ND in set 3, ironically. The baseline got unreliable and at the net… he barely won a point there, instead becoming a sitting duck for ND’s passing shots. Maybe it was a mix of him tanking and ND’s rebound, for which he had no ideas left.

      1. Yeah RBA, almost plays with continental grip style shots. His game has grown on me to actually watch, not exactly creative but bit of a different style and very hard to beat. Was close to being a pro footballer I think. He was pissed when they closed the roof, kept losing rhythm which he likes.

  8. Well, we have a default… Djoko should have known better. At first it seemed that the line judge had tripped while dodging the ball but there’s footage of the ball hitting her directly on the throat. Ouch.

    1. This incident has got the potential of changing the entire history of men’s tennis! Maybe Thiem just had a mental block of never having won a slam that had been stopping him thus far from winning one, even after coming so close multiple times. If he manages to win this UP Open now somehow, then he might become a monster and could very well end up winning the French Open also this year (2 birds killed in one stone!). As a side note, the line judge could also become a millionaire, if she is allowed to sue Djokovic!

  9. I have watched Djokovic play live for many years. I have seen his anger on the court over and over. Now he pays the price.
    Shocked but not. Teehee.

    1. Anger has been his fuel. But this time striking back. I learnt that such anger is mainly towards one self. And then reacting – and accidentally harming somebody. Bad luck for him. He has a battle – and has won it most times. But …. Well to be honest, me too am a small bit evilly relieved. But I would much rather – and be more pleased by his opponent winning in 3 wellplayed sets 😇

  10. Nadal will be at home turning his water bottles back and forth, just not getting the right angle.

    What does everyone think of Djoker’s players union? Good thing? ATP and WTA merging?

    Go Canada, eh!

  11. Djokovic’s default means that for the first time since US Open 2014 we will see a new GS champion crowned.
    Also, the one hoisting the cup will be the youngest male GS champion so far and the first male GS champion to be born in the 1990s.

    All it had to take for the younger guys to win is a global pandemic, and empty tournament and a disqualified no 1 tennis player. Not too bad.

    1. Had a typo, meant to write
      “An empty tournament”

      Also my bad.
      FAA is still in the draw, so a 2000s champion is also possible.
      Could be funny that 90s kids are still left without a title.

      1. Blame Roger, Rafael and Novak for that! And Stan. Ok, let Andy jump in too… until the next bus stop.

  12. I find the Wilson balls(extra duty) last the best for me and come with a consistent bounce. they get a bit too heavy if the courts damp would the only downside. I play mainly on artificial grass.

    Very disappointed in Head, they go flat way too soon.

    Be good to get the inside word from a manufacturer, I am sure most balls on this list are just marketing fluff. Ie your paying more for the name, but the balls the same.

    1. Cool.

      Well, the manufacturers aren’t going to give that info out, but I explained in the post that there only 3 factories in the world producing tennis balls. So many are very similar but the quality does differ.

  13. I coached tennis for 11 years and played at club level of 20 odd years. I would generally agree with this article and admit I haven’t played with all of these brands of ball.
    In the UK I found that the Dunlop Fort All Court provided the best value for money. When I moved to New Zealand the Slazenger Wimbledon ball was popular particularly with the older players, but the Wilson Australian Open ball was the ball dictated by the regional association. The Wilson was unpopular because of its lower bounce and I found it to be less durable. Fortunately I was sponsored for a number of years and had access to the Head ATP ball and found this to be a good compromise between playability and durability. I had no quality control issues with the product I purchased.

      1. actually not much grass court tennis in New Zealand but a lot of astro (artificial grass with a sand base) because it can handle the rain better than hard court and is easier on the joints of the old fellas.

  14. I know this is an old article but I think a couple of wildcards should be Wilson Premier Tour which is one of my favorite balls (also used for all our high-level league play, which gets lots of compliments). And secondly the Yonex Tour ball is very good in wet conditions. It’s overall a very good ball but the water-repellant actually seems to work.

    1. Thanks, it has been live for a while but I update them all regularly.

      And thanks for the suggestions. I’ve used the Premier Tour before, think I prefer the USO overall. Do you prefer it to the US Open ball?

      Yonex – I need to test it more, played it once when someone had a can but they were already used so on their way out. But Yonex do make good stuff, although these are coming out of Thailand factory where lots of other brands come from too, but maybe the felt is different.

  15. Have you tried the RS Black Edition or Tour Edition? These are my favourite balls. Great feel and bounce. They are also made in the Thailand factory. Pricey but lasts a long time. The Tour Edition play slightly faster, and are the ball of the Stockholm ATP tournament.

    Another one among my favourites and which has good feel and also is in the same category as the tennis-point balls in terms of quality for the price is the Decathlon Artengo TB 930. They have 75% natural felt (59% wool, 26% cotton). Also one notch down, the TB 920, is good and it is the official ball of the ATP 250 Moselle Open. Have you hit with these?

    1. Hi,

      Thanks for the comment.

      I haven’t used the RS Black Edition. Not that it means much, but I like the packaging having just googled. I’ve not heard much about Soderling’s gear in a while, kept meaning to test his strings but never got around to it.

      Artengo tennis gear is good, I have not used their balls, I will try and cover some of their racquets, strings and balls at some point in the future on here. Decathlon are not big where I am but I will get some of their stuff to test when closer to a store.

  16. Hi, please can you help me with any info on kazu tennis balls. If possible with the contacts of the makers. Thanks.

  17. Hi man you been written beautiful. Tell me whether you know which ball are fastest in your opinio for power full stroke ? Rehay from Greece

  18. Hi Jonathan I have a question. So I’ve been playing tennis alot but don’t have alot of money tor tennis balls sports direct are doing a deal for 6 dozens of slazenger tournament tennis balls are those types of balls any good. A bit of context me and my cousin play maybe 4 times a week for an hour each time and we’re tired of playing g with 8 balls and constantly picking them up so we’re gonna buy it. So in summary are slazenger tournament balls any good?

    1. Hi,

      I haven’t used them personally, but just looked online at them, I think they will be ok. Get mixed reviews.

      Do you really need to play with more than 8 balls at one time though? I only ever use 3 or 4 when hitting against someone. You’d be better using 4 new ones every couple of weeks, rather than opening them all at once.

      Why don’t you buy a pack of 4, play with them a couple of times, then go back and buy the 12 dozen if they are any good?


  19. Hi Jonathan,
    You seem to have a lot of knowledge about tennis ball manufacturers. I have been searching the internet for the Wilson factory in Thailand but came up empty handed. I’m actually looking for padel balls to import (in large quantities) and my guess is that they produce padel balls and tennis balls in the same factory.
    You wouldn’t have some contact information you could share (can send it through email if not want to publish it here)?

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