By Rick Horrow and Karla Swatek
November 26, 2012
Tennis gear is simple – you need one racquet, and at least two balls. Accordingly, the ATP World Tour has gone about streamlining its partnership with Head, its official tennis ball supplier. The men’s Tour is now guaranteed to have a fresh supply of Head balls for another five years, continuing a partnership that began in 1994.
The overall trajectory of pro tennis balls is not as straightforward as you might think. Wilson is the official ball of the WTA, as well as the Australian Open and the U.S. Open, and Wimbledon has used Slazenger balls since 1902. The French Open now uses Babolat, after bouncing over from Dunlop in 2011. Older players will also remember when tennis balls were white, before tournaments switched over to yellow to make it easier for viewers to follow the balls on TV.
While players sometimes complain about using different balls at different events, in this business, that’s just the way the ball bounces.