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If you’re looking for tennis balls that are waterproof, they are actually going to be more like water ‘resistant’.
If a ball lands in a puddle, due to the tennis ball water damage, it will not be dry once you retrieve it.
However, in circumstances where your ball isn’t being actually dunked into water, you may be fine.
So what are the best waterproof tennis balls (or, water-resistant) available?
Are tennis balls waterproof?
There are balls that don’t “devour” as much water as “normal” balls. Some tennis balls are made with a coating called hydro guard that accounts for their water resistance.
Will a tennis ball that gets wet still bounce?
All tennis balls absorb water. The ball then becomes water logged and gains weight (usually 1-3 ounces). A tennis ball only weighs 2 ounces dry.
Soaking a ball in water will decrease bouncing height because the water, which is absorbed by the ‘fur’, will move around and absorb kinetic energy when the ball hits the ground, leaving less energy to help the ball bounce back up.
When the ball absorbs water, water comes off the ball every time it is hit. This is no fun considering you will be the one getting splashed.
If the court surface is somewhat dry but your balls are still wet, the balls are full of moisture and will quickly become water-logged again.
Why not use a Scotch Guard product on tennis balls?
Some tennis players hope to waterproof their tennis balls by spraying on a ‘Scotch Guard’ or ‘Camp Dry’ solution.
Camp Dry is a product sold in the sporting goods section of many stores. It is used to spray on tents to keep them water repellant.
Scotch Guard and Camp Dry are not as effective as water still remains on the fibers of the tennis ball.
This solution may account for the balls absorbing a slightly less than a normal amount of water, but this is not a complete solution.
Should you play tennis in the rain?
You may play tennis during a light rain, but definitely not in a heavy rain.
The determining factor is the intensity of the rain, the court surface and how slippery the court is becoming.
Most club matches are played on clay or hard courts. If playing on red clay, which is a finer, softer type of clay, water will be absorbed more.
Any surface will be affected by rain if it’s a hard rain. The slippery factor is what makes playing in the rain risky.
A wet and slippery court can be dangerous!
As we mentioned before, if puddles begin to form, your balls will become waterlogged and lose most of their bounce.
If you watch professional tennis, you know that rain stops the game. The match is stopped to protect the players and protect the courts.
- Strings — Strings (especially natural gut) get damaged under wet conditions. Natural gut strings will stretch and break when wet. Natural gut tennis strings are expensive! They are an investment you want to protect.
- Footwork — If it is lightly misting and you plan to play, pay closer attention to your footwork. Know that the white lines are extremely slippery when wet. If you must play under wet conditions, make good choices when choosing what ball to ‘go after’. The point may not be worth the injury that could keep you from playing the game you love.
- Shoes — The shoes you wear to play tennis should already be made for tennis. This means extra support at the ankle, and not slippery on the bottom. If your shoes are not up to par, think about waiting for a sunny day to play tennis.
- Drying Courts — Rules in the USTA (United States Tennis Association) rule book say that matches must be suspended for one hour after a rain delay. In other words, after the rain has stopped, an hour must go by before re-starting the match. If you are playing at night with no sun, it could take 2-3 hours for courts to dry. If a hard rain hits for more than 10 minutes, it could also take several hours for the courts to dry out.
Will water ruin tennis balls?
Rain will not ruin the tennis ball so that it can’t be used again. However, for the time that it’s wet (if soaked) the ball will be unplayable.
Once the balls have been opened and it starts to rain, you will notice the ball doesn’t bounce very well and begins to get heavier.
As we mentioned before, the moisture in the tennis balls will make them lose their performance.
When the tennis balls dry, they should be fine to use again for practice or a friendly match. For a competitive match, you may want to toss them.
Do’s and don’ts for playing in the rain can include:
- Do bring sunglasses and a hat.
- Don’t play with water all over your sunglasses lenses.
- Do make sure your sneakers have the proper traction
- Don’t play on a clay court without sneakers that are made for clay and have extra material on the bottom for grip.
- Do bring an over-grip in case your grip gets wet.
- Don’t bring one can of balls. Bring 2-3 cans in case the first can becomes water-logged.
That said, it is still recommended to avoid playing tennis in the rain and to recognize that you do so at your own risk.
Best Waterproof Tennis Balls
As we mentioned before, ‘water resistant’ is a better term than ‘waterproof’ when describing all-weather tennis balls.
We will take a look at two tennis ball brands both with HydroGuard technology.
Slazenger Wimbledon Official Tennis Balls – 3 Tubes 12 Balls by Slazenger
The world’s ultimate performance tennis ball with HydroGuard coating makes it one of the only all-weather tennis balls on the market.
Slazenger and Wimbledon
The Slazenger Tennis ball and the Wimbledon Championships have a long standing relationship.
Check out the history outlined here with emphasis on the outer coating technology of the ball.
History of Ball Technology:
- In 1902 Slazenger partnered with the Wimbledon Championships. Each ball was hand sown and no two were exactly alike. Construction at this time was of rubber with a wool cloth covering, a development of the original leather ball.
- In 1920 developments in ball manufacturing led to the balls being made with a vulcanized process by cementing the cloth to the ‘core’.
- In 1930 patented ‘K’ cloth was used for the first time as a covering. This meant better wear and endurance characteristics for the ball.
- In 1954 consistency was now reaching new levels thanks to improving production technology. ‘Nylon-Armour’ was also introduced which was a coating on the covering to further improve the wear and prolong playing characteristics.
- In 1965 ‘Nylon-Armoured’ balls were still current technology, however, their ‘rough frictional surface’ was made to last longer for improved ball control.
- IN 1976 production processes were further improved to reduce distortion during play. Yellow balls were also created for the first time.
Fun History Facts:
- In 1970 Slazenger ambassador Margaret Court wins all four grand slams in the same year.
- In 1976- although yellow balls are created for the first time-the Wimbledon Championship still used a white version.
- In 1986 yellow balls are used for the first time at the championships to increase the visibility for the players, spectators and TV audience.
- In 2002 Slazenger celebrates 100 years of Slazenger balls being used at the championship.
- In 2011 Slazenger creates a celebratory ball for Wimbledon’s 125 year anniversary.
View at Amazon to learn more about how this tennis ball may work well for you.
Dunlop Fort All Court Tournament Match Playing Tennis Balls Pack Of 12 Balls (3 Cans)
Dunlop tennis balls benefit from a Flouro Cloth outer technology that is perfect for low weather conditions.
Features and Details:
- Designed for competitive play on all court surfaces
- Dunlop HDurability core for long lasting shape retention
- Perfect for players of all levels
- High visibility ball
- USTA and ITF approved
- Long lasting
- Perfect for hard-hitters
- The classic Dunlop has been re-mastered and re-engineered to a much higher specification resulting in technology that increases durability and maintains consistent playing characteristics of the ball.
View at Amazon for more information on how these balls might work for your game.
Featured image credit: DepositPhotos.com