Professional Tennis Balls: What You Thought You Knew

A couple months back, yours truly had a chance to go to the U.S. Open. My friend had bought me a night pass ticket to see Novak Djokovic play Nikolay Davydenko. He thought the pass was also an all-day pass. It was not. So we walked around the outside of the grounds for three hours until we found a peep hole that looked onto the practice court. There we found Andy Murray practicing, and a worker tossing around two balls. The worker came over and we were sure he would kick us away from that area, but he proceeded to tell us about who he was and what he did. He wasn't anyone really important, but he obviously wasn't a chump. He then dropped a bomb on us. The men's and women's tennis balls at the U.S. Open were actually set to different pressures and the women's ball was slightly smaller.

He told me that the only way to tell the difference was getting the practice balls. The balls had different markings on them, just for practice, but when they were sent out to an actual match, they looked the same. I know I always thought the tennis balls used for men's and women's tennis were the same size.

"This is why" he told me, "the U.S. Open doesn't let the practice balls leave the grounds." I have no idea about the other three majors.

To my knowledge, no other reports have come out about this. You heard it here first!

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