Regular vs. Extra Duty Balls

balls two miamiThanks to Kevin Bryant for this Tennis Warehouse information on what makes the difference between buying/using “Regular” vs. “Extra Duty” tennis balls.

What is the difference?

Regular duty felt is composed of a combination of SLIGHTLY MORE WOOL THAN NYLON fibers woven onto a cotton backing. As a rule, regular duty balls are designed for soft surfaces such as grass, carpet, and clay.

These balls have a tighter weave, shorter nap, and thus play a little livelier and quicker due to less air friction and drag. The tighter weave is more clay, dirt, and moisture resistant; indoors, it leaves less fluff cleanup on the court and it inhibits fluffing due to static electricity.

Extra Duty Balls

Extra duty balls are designed for hard surfaces such as asphalt, concrete, and other outdoor hardcourts. Extra duty felt has a HIGHER NYLON CONTENT, resulting in a looser weave. Nylon does not weave as tightly as wool because it is a much smoother fiber. This causes the nylon to move around and fluff.

A fluffy ball moves a bit slower through the air. Nylon is more resistant to abrasion than wool, but on an abrasive, hardcourt surface the fluff tends to be cut off as it forms.

Which Ball/ Which Court?

Thus, if you use a regular duty ball on a hard court, it will fluff because the wool is not good against abrasion. It will also sheer more quickly.

If you use an extra duty ball on grass or clay, it will pick up dirt in the loose weave and become heavier. If the ball does get fluffed up (from both the court and a lot of spin shots), it will tend to stay fluffy because there is not as much abrasion to shear it off.

So if you use the wrong ball for the surface, you get either a prematurely bald ball or a poorly performing hairy one.

Can you tell the difference?

PS My arm feels much, much better! No tennis yet.

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1 thought on “Regular vs. Extra Duty Balls

  1. I do not seem to notice any difference! Not sure why as most tennis players are adamant about using regular duty.

    Phil, for me, i even notice differences in BRANDS of balls. thanks, george

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