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When the weather is not forgiving, the thought of playing tennis in the pouring rain is enough to test anyone’s breaking point! This is the perfect opportunity to grab a racquet and play at an indoor tennis court.
Indoor courts allow you to play regardless of the weather conditions and are actually more comfortable for spectators watching professional matches.
Because of the lack of wind, game play is considerably different versus outdoor courts. We will take a look at finding the best tennis balls for indoor courts in this article.
Any court surface may be used for indoors. Hard courts are most common indoors, as they are made with the most versatile materials and surface finishes.
Historically, other surfaces have been used indoors such as hardwood.
Indoor courts used for professional match play
Clay courts are installed indoors with underground watering systems. These courts are mostly used for the Davis Cup matches.
The most important indoor tennis tournament currently is the ATP World Tour Finals.
The conclusion of the Wimbledon championships, in 2012, was played on the lawn of Centre Court under the closed roof and artificial lights.
Carpet surfaces have also been used indoors in the ATP World Tour and the World Tennis Championship circuit, though no events currently use them.
The Grand Slam tournaments
Since tennis is a world-wide spectator sport, let’s take a look at the most popular tournaments and where they are played.
The four Grand Slam tournaments (also referred to as the majors) are especially popular: The Australian Open played on hard courts (outdoors), the French Open played on red clay courts (outdoors), Wimbledon played on grass courts (outdoors), and the US Open played on hard courts (outdoors).
The US Open added a $150 million retractable roof before this year’s tournament. The tournament welcomes 700,000 fans annually.
The roof can be closed in less than 5 minutes- even if winds are gusting to 50 miles per hour.
This ensures that there will be no repeat of the famous run form 2008-2012 when storms forced the men’s final to be played on Monday for five consecutive years.
Advantages to the roofed “indoor” stadium at Arthur Ashe
- More games can be played on time regardless of weather. Ticket holders and schedulers have to scramble manically whenever rain throws the 2-week tournament into disarray.
- The US Open can now hold both day and night sessions in two arenas at once with the potential to break the all-time yearly attendance record of 721,059, set in 2019.
- Even when the roof is open, 60 percent of the seats are in the shade. When closed, the whole symmetrical stadium is naturally ventilated, eliminating the need for air conditioning.
Hard Courts: The most popular surface for indoor courts
As we mentioned, hard courts are the most common surfaces for indoor courts, as they are made with the most versatile materials and surface finishes.
Taking this in account, we will consider some of the most appropriate tennis balls for use on indoor courts.
Hard courts provide a durable highly stable surface for fast action, high bounces and reliable ball control – perfect for skilled professional and recreational players.
Hard courts used indoors are considered the perfect court to play on that is in between clay and grass.
A hard court is a fast surface but also with a flat, uniform surface making it more predictable to play on.
According to the ITF (International Tennis Federation) it’s a good surface for a broader range of playing styles.
Indoor hard courts are made from rigid materials such as asphalt or concrete and covered with acrylic material to seal the surface and provide some cushioning.
Best Tennis Balls for Indoor Courts
Because there are multiple factors which sometimes contradict one another, opinions vary on the best tennis balls for any given surface.
For instance, people who open a new can of balls every time they play do not care how quickly they lose compression because all they need is a couple of hours of play and the balls are thrown away.
Conversely, there is an opposite opinion. There are those players who do not like throwing balls away after only one use and prefer the balls that will last longer.
Cost is another factor which may or may not be important, depending on the individual. Balls are kept after play for use in tennis ball machines. This is a common way of ‘recycling’ – for those who are cost-conscious.
There are players who prefer to crack open a new can of ‘less-expensive’ balls for casual hitting and practices.
Those who play with cheaper balls in this manner often throw them away or give them to friends with dogs when finished.
While there are many opinions and personal preferences out there and all are valid, we will attempt to describe some of the best balls out there for indoor hard court play.
These features and benefits (and sometimes complaints) come from manufacturers testing balls, and noting how they degrade in comparison to one another.
US Open 3 Ball Can – Extra Duty
It’s interesting to note that when a player plays in a USTA (United States Tennis Association) league, depending on whose ‘turn’ it is to bring the tennis balls for the match, the most popular ball that players opt for is the Wilson US Open tennis ball!
Unparalleled consistency and performance make Wilson the gold standard in tennis.
For the past 40 years, every point scored at the US Open has been scored with a Wilson US Open tennis ball.
View at Amazon to learn more about how these balls might work for your game on indoor courts.
- Crafted with premium woven felt
- Great durability and consistent bounce
- Wilson lasts longer than other ball so you get an even ball bounce throughout your match.
- This ball is available in extra duty, regular duty and high altitude variations.
- USTA and ITF approved for competitive recreational and professional play
The only complaint we found is that fresh out of the can, the balls can feel too “bouncy.” Given 30 minutes of hitting, balls are at their maximum potential.
Penn Championship Extra Duty Tennis Balls (Pack of 12 Cans) (36 Balls)
You may be interested to hear that Penn Championship XD balls are considered to be ideal for hard courts but also advertise themselves for use on all surfaces!
The Penn Championship XD balls are known as some of the easiest balls to play with.
The excellent quality balls are extra heavy duty with a wool fiber meaning they can be used on any surface.
The XD balls are famous for their controlled fiber release.
Penn Championship balls are constructed from natural rubber which reduces the shock of the ball as it hits the court’s surface.
The only complaint we found was from Rafael Nadal. Nadal is known for hitting with a lot of spin.
Nadal noted that the balls “fuzz up” quickly when hitting with a lot of spin.
A ball that is said to “fuzz up” quickly is referring to the felt. This is known to make your ball ‘slow’. He made this complaint just before going on to win the major tournament he was playing in at the time!
View at Amazon for more information on how these balls may work for use on indoor courts.
- Deep elastic seams for reduced cracking
- Natural rubber for consistent feel and reduced shock
- Interlocked wool fiber for longer wear
Featured image credit: DepositPhotos.com @erstudio