The humble tennis ball

The Humble Tennis Ball: More Than Just a Fuzzy Sphere


Tennis balls might seem like simple, ubiquitous items, but these little spheres are integral to the sport of tennis and have a surprisingly rich history, complex construction, and a variety of uses beyond the court.


 A Brief History of the Tennis Ball


The origins of the tennis ball trace back to the 12th century when French monks played a game called "jeu de paume" using a wooden ball. As the game evolved, so did the ball. By the 19th century, lawn tennis emerged in England, and the balls were made of leather stuffed with rags or horsehair. The modern tennis ball, with its rubber core and felt covering, was developed in the early 20th century, revolutionizing the game with its improved bounce and durability.

 Construction and Specifications


Today's tennis balls are meticulously designed to meet strict standards set by the International Tennis Federation (ITF). A regulation tennis ball has a diameter of 6.54 to 6.86 cm and weighs between 56.0 and 59.4 grams. The core is made of pressurized rubber, which provides the bounce, while the outer covering is made of high-quality felt, typically a mix of wool and nylon, ensuring the ball's aerodynamic properties and durability.




As with many sports products, the environmental impact of tennis balls has come under scrutiny. Tennis balls are not biodegradable, and millions are discarded each year. However, various initiatives are emerging to address this issue. Companies like RecycleBalls are working to collect and recycle used tennis balls, transforming them into materials for new products such as courts and playgrounds. Additionally, some manufacturers are exploring eco-friendly materials and production methods to reduce the environmental footprint of tennis balls.

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