Iga Swiatek calls for new balls as she slams ‘horrible’ US Open balls that ‘fly like crazy’
Iga Swiatek believes the WTA and United States Tennis Association have dropped the ball in terms of the balls being used by women for the US Open and tournaments leading up to the final Grand Slam event.
The WTA Tour currently uses light balls than what the men use at ATP events during the North American hard-court swing. The same balls will be used at the upcoming US Open and world 1 Swiatek was not happy after her two-set victory over Sloane Stephens in the second round of the Western & Southern Open.
She admits she can see the reason why women were given lighter balls in years gone by, but thinks it is outdated.
“We make more mistakes [with these balls], for sure,” the Pole said. “So I don’t think that’s really nice to watch visually I don’t know why they are different than men’s ones.
“Fifteen years ago probably women had some elbow injuries because the balls were heavier and they changed them to women’s balls. But right now we are so physically well prepared that I don’t think it would happen.
“I feel, it’s really hard to control them, but everybody has the same conditions, so we are trying to deal with that. I don’t get why they are different, honestly.”
She added: “We [women] have really powerful games right now. It’s not like 10 years ago. Right now we play powerful, and we kind of can’t loosen up our hands with these balls.”
The US Open is currently the only Grand Slam where men and women use different balls. In fact, all the the joint events outside of North America, including joint ATP-WTA swings in Madrid and Rome, use the same balls.
The 21-year-old Swiatek revealed that she set the ball rolling last year and had the backing of world No 3 Paula Badosa when she talked to WTA CEO Steve Simon about making changes and allowing women to use the same balls as the men, but nothing has come of it so far.
Although given that women are now much physically up to the challenge, it could be time for the United States Tennis Association at WTA to make the change again.
“I think those balls are horrible, especially after like three games of really hard playing, they are getting more and more light,” Swiatek said.
“At the end, you can’t even serve at 170km/h because it’s going to fly like crazy. I think they are pretty bad.”
She continued: “I know that many players complain, and many of them are top 10 [players].
“Me and Paula Badosa last year talked with Steve about changing to men’s balls. I don’t think it would be a problem because it’s still the same company.
“Maybe we should push a bit more. I stopped pushing and trying to convince WTA because the war in Ukraine happened and I refocused on something else.”
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