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How To Choose the Right Tennis Balls?

Shopping for tennis balls may seem fairly straight forward, but you probably have more options than you might expect. We'll translate the tennis lingo for you so you can be sure you know exactly what you're buying.


In general, each brand of ball makers produces three classes of balls, professional level, championship level, and recreational level. Professional level tennis balls are the highest quality ball of that specific manufacturer, and indeed are often the same balls used in professional tournaments. When you buy a professional level ball, you can expect to get the performance and durability that that brand has to offer. Championship level tennis balls are the next step down, but are certainly sufficient for most league match play and will leave most customers more than satisfied. Recreational balls are typically intended as practice balls for loading up the hopper or ball machine and are not allowed for match pay in many leagues.

Extra Duty/Regular Duty/High Altitude

Almost all professional and championship level tennis balls are available in extra duty, regular duty and high altitude variations. This may sound complicated, but extra duty is just tennis lingo for ‘hard court balls', while regular duty balls are for clay or indoor courts. High altitude is fairly self-explanatory, as these balls are better suited to the thin air of high altitude courts.

Extra Durability

You might have guessed from watching pro tennis matches where new cans are opened every nine games that the life-span of a tennis ball is fairly short. Indeed, you would be correct. Most experts say that once opened, a can of balls left at room temperature will become unplayable in two weeks or less. That's without even hitting them. Wilson 's Double Core balls have a synthetic rubber coating on the inside of their typically rubber core, which helps prevent air from escaping. That wouldn't do much good if the felt wore down at a normal pace, so Wilson fitted the ball with an extra-durable felt layer. Wilson claims that the Double Core balls maintain their bounce twice as long as conventional balls, but feels the same on impact as a typical Wilson ball.

Elbow Ease

In the ongoing war against tennis elbow, Dunlop has recently taken the battle to the ball, developing its Dunlop Abzorber tennis balls, which Dunlop claims reduces the impact to the arm by 15%. Needless to say, tennis elbow sufferers should give this ball serious consideration.

This chart will give you the rundown of what the three major ball-makers, Wilson, Penn, and Dunlop, offer in the professional, championship, and recreational levels.

Wilson Professional US Open Grass Court - Premium high-grade white felt. US Open High Altitude - All surfaces over 3,500 ft elevation. US Open - Regular Duty the Official ball of the US Open. US Open -Extra Duty the Official ball of the US Open.
Wilson Championship Wilson Championship - Extra Duty, longer lasting, more consistent. Wilson Hope - Donation made to BCRF with every purchase. Wilson Championship -Regular Duty, longer lasting, more consistent.
Wilson Recreational Wilson Practice -Extra Duy, practice tennis balls.
Penn Professional Penn ATP - Extra Duty, the #1 choice of ATP players. Penn ATP - Regular Duty, the #1 choice of ATP players. Pro Penn - The #1 choice of tennis coaches and teaching professionals.
Penn Championship Penn Championship - Pink, the best selling tennis ball in the U.S.
Dunlop Professional Dunlop Grand Prix - Hard Court, ultimate performance and durability. Dunlop Abzorber - All Court, reduces impact on arm by 15% Dunlop Grand Prix - Regular Duty, ultimate performance and durability.
Dunlop Championship Dunlop Championship - Hard Court, durafelt technology. Dunlop Championship - Regular Duty, durafelt technology. Dunlop Championship - All Court, durafelt technology.
Dunlop Recreational Dunlop Bucket O Balls 48 - Consistent and durable ball.
Prince Professional Prince Tour - Extra Duty, high quality, performance products.
Gamma Professional Gamma ProTour - Extra Duty - best playing ball on the market. Gamma Recreational Gamma First Set - Balls Pack of 60, soft training tennis balls designed for beginners.

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