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Why Do They Get New Balls In Tennis?

Balls play a critical role in tennis matches. It is exciting to receive new balls every few games as a player. New balls reinvigorate the game and add a bounce to play, which used balls lose after a while. So, why do they get new balls in tennis?

Players are given new balls in tennis because new balls are smooth and bounce better than used balls. However, after a while, the hair on the balls gets fluffy, and this causes the ball to lose bounce. In professional circuits, players are given new balls approximately every nine games.

Whether you’re a social or professional player, the feel and smell of new balls add an element of enjoyment and excitement to the game of tennis. A change of balls is an exciting time for players. But how often do players get new balls, and how many are used in big tournaments?

Why Do Tennis Players Get New Balls During The Match?

Every player, social or professional, knows the anticipation of getting new balls. Nothing beats the feel and smell of new balls. If you’re playing a social game, even the tin pop when you peel open the lid is a beautiful sound to many.

New balls add excitement to the game as players anticipate taking advantage of the extra bounce the new balls offer.

The science behind new balls having more bounce than old comes down to the hair on the ball. As the ball is hit repeatedly, its hairs get ruffled and worn, and eventually, the ball becomes fuzzy.

If balls are used for a long time, the rubber in the ball will eventually become pliable and soft. This, added to the fuzziness of the hair on the outside of the ball, causes it to lose its bounce.

If balls are used for a long time, you’ll notice they don’t bounce as high or as fast as new balls. Hence players generally look forward to receiving new balls while playing, as this means they can liven up the game with quick shots and more spin.

Many players can relate to the satisfaction of hitting new balls that pop off the racquet and bounce high and fast. Serving with new balls is an advantage, and whether social or professional, players look to exploit this opportunity.

In games that may be dominated by a particular player or team, the element of new balls can change things up and add excitement as players get new power.

How Often Do Tennis Players Get New Balls?

Social and professional players all anticipate and benefit from a change of balls. In addition, new balls add an element of excitement to the game with their added bounce and speed.

How Often Do Professional Players Get New Tennis Balls?

Professionals in the ATP and IFP regularly get new balls during matches. For example, professional players will use the same set of balls for seven games to start the match. From there, they get new balls for the remainder of the match every nine games.

These players are given six new balls at a time.

These players often look at at least three balls before finding one that they are happy to serve.

Generally, players will select a new ball to serve the first serve and an older ball for the second serve. The reason for this is that the new ball does well for first serves as players generally focus on adding power and speed, and the new ball works well for this.

They use an older ball for the second serve because the fluff on the ball works well with serves with added spin. Most players will focus on lessening speed and power on the second serve and adding spin.

How Often Do Social Players Get New Tennis Balls?

Depending on their budgets, social players usually start with a new set of balls and use them for the entirety of the match. If they belong to bigger clubs with the budget for new balls, they will change balls mid-way through the match, but it all depends.

If players are practicing or playing a social match and do not belong to a club, they will determine whether they play with new balls or not. This is because balls tend to be expensive and are considered a luxury by players who play for fun.

In all likelihood, these players will use new balls every few matches and rather keep reusing balls as much as possible. However, it doesn’t impact players who play for fun as much as those who play professionally, so having a change of balls at this level is an excellent addition but not a necessity.

Casual players will generally only use about three balls per match. This is the number of balls that come in a tube.

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How Many Balls Are Used During Professional Tennis Tournaments?

Professional players require new balls every few games during tournaments, so you can imagine they go through a fair number of balls. But, of course, how many balls are used in a match depends on the number of games played.

For a match that ends up being 6-0, 6-0, 6-0, a total of 12 balls will be used. However, some matches go on for a lot longer. For example, for a match that goes to five sets, which often happens among the leading professionals at tournaments, players will go through as many as 36 balls.

How Many Tennis Balls Are Used During Wimbledon?

The All England Club provides approximately 55000 balls to players each year during the tournament. Players require new balls regularly throughout their matches.

Considering that players start off in the warm-up rounds and progress through to the Final, there are hundreds of games to be played, and a lot of balls are needed.

Selling Used Balls During Wimbledon Tennis Tournament

Once balls have served their purpose on the court, they are sold to members of the public who might want the balls used by some of the world’s leading tennis players.

Instead of binning balls after their use on the court, the Wimbledon Foundation sells them at a small kiosk outside the grounds where members of the public can purchase balls for memorabilia.

The balls are sold in packs of three, with proceeds going to the Foundation’s charitable endeavors.


New balls add a new dimension to the game of tennis. With increased bounce and speed, they invigorate the game. Players generally anticipate new balls because they can use the added bounce and speed to their advantage.


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