Balls For Ladies

balls two miamiOn Tuesday, a group of us went over to Key Biscayne to watch some great tennis; and I learned something new about ladies and balls!

Did you know (at least at this tournament) the ladies play with the lighter/cheaper regular Penn balls, while the men play with the slightly heavier/more expensive Penn ATP balls? My friend, Rick Barletta obtained one of each from the practice courts to prove the point (they are pictured here).

I wonder why?

What is the best ball to play with?

The world is full of opinions on this topic… so here are mine (reprinted from 4 years ago):
Dunlap – I used to swear by Dunlap Grand Prix balls. I loved the sound the made when you struck them solidly; and they lasted longer for practice balls than anything I ever found. But I also found them hard on the arm. Seems like the thing that made them sound good and last longer also made them cause more vibration through the arm. My local Florida tennis pro used to use them as his teaching ball; but switched due to arm problems (which then went away).ball miami

Wilson – Many tournaments use these balls; but I find them livelier than I like; and they seem to fly a little off my racquet.

Penn – You can usually find “regular” Penn balls on sale somewhere for $2.00 to $2.50 a can; and they are good balls to play with.

Penn ATP – But I have found that the slightly-more-expensive Penn ATP ball is just a little better made, has a reasonable bounce, and lasts just a little bit longer than the cheaper ball. They are tough to find in the stores; so I normally buy them online by the case (at about $2.90 a can, including shipping) through Holabird Sports in Maryland.

So I guess for me, the Penn slogan is true, “The Ball Matters.” For you??

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7 thoughts on “Balls For Ladies

  1. There is also, what I believe to be the ‘best’ ball available, the Pro Penn Marathon. The ball is only available in pro shops, and therefore (presumably) more expensive. It has ‘encore’ technology which has a 22% longer lasting core, they are more optically yellow and have ‘longplay’ felt. They also seem to be arm friendly. Both of our pros use them. You’ll have to check them out and give me your opinion.

    Pam – You are on… i will test them. How much per can? thanks, george.

  2. Lately, I have been playing with Babolat Roland Garros balls. I have only been able to find them online by the case; I usually deal with Midwest Sports in Cincinnati because I know the owner. I believe the balls are made in Thailand for Babolat, but I cannot read Thai to be able to discern the manufacturer. I find the balls neither too lively nor dead, but your mileage may vary as it seems largely a matter of personal taste. Although they are primarily soft court balls, either for clay or grass — I actually found out about them when the US Team played the French team two years back in the President’s Cup on grass at the Philadelphia Cricket Club and my tennis coach was playing on the US team — they play and hold up surprising well on hard courts. One thing that is odd about the Roland Garros balls is that they are not numbered. But since very few people play them, there is little chance your balls will be confused with those on an adjacent court. I also like the Wilson US Open and Penn ATP balls, in that order. Likewise Slazengers, but they have become difficult to find in the US, even online. I agree that Dunlops are hard on the arm. They feel a bit like a pressurized version of the old Tretorn pressureless balls that, long ago, actually came in a box.

    Marty – Thanks. I find the Slazengers to be hard, like the Dunlops. George

  3. George, I believe all balls should meet one spec, that is agreed upon. I have had players
    complain on every ball type at one time or another. Thanks for all the information.
    Anthony Rasile

    Anthony, …and all car gas caps would be on the same side. 🙂 george

  4. I think that Dunlap balls are much like Woolsens. Bill

    Bill- what are Woolsens? George

  5. Ok,I just have to chime in on a spelling issue …it is DUNLOP, not DUNLAP. (Woolsens = Wilson)
    Interesting topic, did you know that in NCAA basketball, the women play with a slightly smaller basketball?

    I think it all comes down to preferences. I think I prefer ProPenns also.

    Mark – thanks for the corrections. george

  6. George, re-reading this topic got me thinking about old brands of tennis balls that used to exist back in the early 1960s when I first started playing tennis, and even older. How many people remember Wright & Ditson, Spalding and Bancroft tennis balls — all of which I remember playing with way back when, as well as Wilson and Pennsylvania balls (the latter before the name changed to Penn)? What other old brands can people remember from long ago? Also, how many people remember when tennis balls used to come in metal cans and there was a little key on the bottom that you needed to break off to unroll the metal strip to open them? And finally, how many people remember when you could only buy white tennis balls (as opposed to “grass court” balls today that remain white), and that there was a short era when you could buy both lime green and orange balls before pretty much all balls switched to the current color?

    Marty – Yes, i remember the metal cans with the key! thanks. george

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