Why are Tennis Balls Pressurized and How to Keep them Pressurized 

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Key Takeaways
  • Tennis balls are pressurized to make sure they will have the maximum range of bounce during gameplay.
  • Once they are out of their can, pressurized tennis balls can last for up to 9 days before starting to lose their pressure.
  • Non-pressurized balls are not as bouncy, but can be used for training purposes.
  • Re-pressurizing and using a tennis ball saver are both effective ways to keep tennis balls fresh for longer.
  • DIY methods for pressurizing tennis balls are not recommended as they are unsafe.

If you have ever been interested in the sport of tennis, you might have wondered why when buying the balls, they come in pressurized cans? The manufacturers use a lot of packing and plastic to seal the containers. They wouldn’t bother with this length if it weren’t important for the product’s quality.

The pressure of the ball is one of the key factors during the game and can affect the players’ performance. So why are tennis balls pressurized? Read on to get the answer to that question and learn a little bit more about the science of tennis balls.

How Are Tennis Balls Pressurized

There are seven types of tennis balls and 200 different brands that produce and marchioness them. To get the approval of ITF (International Tennis Federation), each one of them must pass many different tests before being sold on the markets.

The ITF tests consist of mass, size, deformation, rebound, pre-composition, acclimatization, and durability of the ball. Even when they pass the test, the approval is valid for only 12 months to ensure constant quality.

During the production process, the tennis balls are pressurized higher than the atmospheric pressure to retain their shape. The package of pressurized tennis balls is hermetically sealed, in airtight cans, with a very high internal pressure.

A few layers of materials, both plastic and metallic, serve as protective gear inside the package. As long as the package remains intact, the pressurized balls can remain on the shelves for years without losing their quality.

Why are Tennis balls Pressurized?

Tennis balls are pressured to make sure that they will have the maximum range of bounce during the game. When fresh out of the package, the ball has a better bounce, a higher speed, and a much better spin response. That’s why professional players always use brand-new balls in their games.

Mario holding a pressurized tennis balls

Pressurized vs. Non-Pressurized Tennis Balls

So what if you are not a Wimbledon athlete and do not always have new tennis balls at your disposal? Is there a major difference between pressurized and not- pressurized balls?

The short answer is yes, there is. However, this does not mean that non-pressurized balls are unplayable. They make great use of practicing your serves.

Non-pressurized tennis balls have much thicker and firmer material and might feel a bit heavy or even “dead” compared to the pressurized ones. Safe to say, they are not everyone’s first choice when it comes to playing tennis. However, they do last longer, and with time they even become bouncier as the rubbers inside soften.

Since the non-pressurized tennis balls are heavier, they require much more strength of the arm. So you might want to be careful because this can lead to an injury. Non-pressurized tennis balls are also used as a training aid by some coaches and players. It is said that the use of non-pressurized tennis balls can improve hand-eye coordination

Mario holding tennis ball in hand with a racket

How to Keep Tennis Balls Pressurized

Now that you learned why are tennis balls pressurized, you may be wondering how to keep them pressurized as long as possible. Well, the first best thing you can do is to keep them unopened in their can.

Once they are out of their can, make sure to keep them in a tennis ball pressure container at normal room temperature. There are a few ways to better keep the pressure on the balls and keep them bouncy for your next tennis match.

Re-Pressurize Tennis Balls

It is very important to take care of pressurized tennis balls since they start losing their pressure and, therefore, their quality from the first moment you take them out of their can.

Pressurized tennis balls can last for up to 9 days before starting to notice and feel the difference in the pressure. They can last even for a much shorter time, 30-60 minutes for competitive players. It all depends on the intensity of the game and the strength used to hit the ball. However, not all things are lost. There is a way you can re-pressurize your old tennis balls.

For this, you need a re-pressurized container that has a higher rate of air pressure than the pressure inside the tennis ball. Pay attention to the level of pressure used because it may crush the balls, especially if they are too old. The process takes two weeks, so it is kind of slow, and it might not bring the balls to their optimal state. But it does work, and you may give it a try.

Using Tennis Ball Saver

Yes, yes! I know! All this work, and you will still notice the pressure difference. This is a natural process, and all players, professional or not, face this problem.

The best tip, however, is to use a tennis ball saver all the time. This way, the tennis balls will have the same equal amount of pressure, both internal and external. Trust me, it will keep them fresh. It’s also quite convenient to carry around anytime you want to hit the tennis field.

My personal favorite is the Gexco Tennis Ball Saver, which is a small, plastic device that you can use to keep your tennis balls in good condition. I have one thing to say, it works! My tennis balls stay in better shape, and they last for longer than they used to.

The tennis ball saver itself has lasted me for years now, and it still looks brand new. Also, it’s lightweight and portable, meaning I can take it everywhere easily. Bonus point, the Gexco tennis ball saver has a cute color, so when in doubt, you might consider it the perfect gift for tennis lovers.

DIY Tennis Ball Pressurizer

Here’s a good question! Can you make your tennis ball pressurizer on your own from scratch? DIY is a very popular side of the internet, and I am sure at least some of you are tempted to do it.

Well… there is a way, but pressurizing tennis balls is a hard task, and I must warn you that it is not safe at all. 

The stuff you need can be easily found in your home belongings, such as a pressure canner or a vent pipe. However, the process is crazy long. The result may vary and often might disappoint. Did I also mention that you can hurt yourself in the process? Yeah… in this case, at least, DIY it’s not the best idea ever. Actually, it’s not a good idea at all. 

Mario holding dead tennis balls

What Do You Do With Old Tennis Balls?

The harsh truth is that sooner or later, your tennis balls will be too old and heavy to play with, no matter how much good care you keep them. But there are still other ways you can put them to good use.

If you have a dog, or maybe your neighbors have one, those old tennis balls would make the man’s best friend very happy. And if you are a regular player, your old tennis balls are an endless supply of toys for your dog.

If you don’t have a dog and don’t consider having one, don’t throw those old balls yet. There are a few more things you can do with them:

  • Believe it or not, tennis balls can be great for cleaning the floor or the pool.
  • It can be used to protect the wooden floors by cutting and putting them at the end of the chair’s legs.
  • It can hold your laptop or camera.
  •  can keep the bugs and flies away with the use of some vaseline.
  •  Also, old tennis balls can be used as balloon anchors at parties or for packaging materials, etc. 

You just need to put your imagination at work, and with a little bit of effort, those old tennis balls can be very useful.

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I am Mario, a tennis player passionate about encouraging others to join the sport.

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