Ball issue continues to rear its head on ATP and WTA Tours without being addressed

Tennis balls at the US Open
Frances Tiafoe (USA) catches tennis balls

Top players on both the men’s and women’s elite tours have raised their concerns about the lack of consistency on the standard of balls at tournaments.

As things stand tournaments choose their own ball suppliers and players are not guaranteed practice with the same balls as they play with in the tournament.

A litany of top players have complained in one way or another about the ball issue with certain players more prone to raising their voices.

The PTPA, an alternative player representation body which counts Novak Djokovic as a key member, has fronted the drive for change on the ball issue.

PTPA CEO Ahmad Nassar told reporters that the injury concerns of players have been raised with tennis authorities.

“There will be some board meetings soon where different options will be discussed. Some balls are heavy, some are light. This destroys your shoulder and elbows. It’s something that, if you organize a series of tournaments fragmented, you never give importance.

We did some research and it turns out that a high percentage of tennis balls around the world are produced in similar facilities and at the end of the process a logo is put on them.

This means they can continue to sell their sponsorship but we can at least have the same specifications on the playing surface. This would lead to respecting the different brands, so as not to have a negative impact on sponsorship issues in tournaments,” he analyzed.

Former world No 1 Andy Roddick chimed in on the issue recently revealing that players were experiencing issues at Indians Wells.

“I got two messages from two of the best coaches in the world in the last hour saying how bad the balls are at Indian Wells. Apparently, this happened after a few minutes of warming up,” Roddick said on social media.

“How is it possible that this problem has not been resolved over time?”

American No 2 Jessica Pegula added her voice to those warning of serious injuries.

“The conditions are like night and day, you hit a completely different ball and you have to change the tension,” Pegula told reporters.

“It’s not ideal. If we could at least have the same brand of balls every week, we could at least control that variable. There are already other ones that change. When you constantly change this one, it becomes really difficult.”

American No 1 Taylor Fritz believes that the ball issue creates a bigger need for adjustment than a change of court surface.

“It can influence us more than the change of court,” Fritz added.

“It is impossible to compare one tournament with another, because if the balls are different it cannot be compared.”

While player complaints mount, the powers that be have shown no sign of reacting to the problem at all.

READ MORE: Daniil Medvedev highlights trend causing ‘immense physical strain’ and ‘more injuries’