If you’re looking to buy tennis balls you’ll be faced with a huge selection of different types of tennis balls to choose from. With so many different sizes, colors, materials and designs available, choosing the ideal tennis balls for yourself, or a family member can prove somewhat confusing and difficult.

To help you make a well-informed decision, we've put together this all-encompassing guide, which answers many of the most frequently asked tennis ball questions. Having an in-depth knowledge of tennis balls will help to ensure that you can choose the ideal tennis ball to meet your individual requirements; which in turn, should help you enjoy the sport of tennis even more. You’ll also come away with lots of interesting tennis ball facts and information!


How big is a tennis ball?

The ITF (International Tennis Federation) sets out the rules regarding the dimensions of a tennis ball. To comply with these regulations, the diameter of a tennis ball should be between 2.575 inches (6.5cm) and 2.700 inches (6.85cm).

Most regulation tennis balls have a circumference of 8.25 inches (20.96cm). The circumference of a tennis ball can however vary slightly from 8.09 inches (20.6cm) to 8.48 inches (21.5cm), depending on the manufacturer and model.

Interestingly the ITF also specifies that logos that appear on tennis balls can only be a certain size. The logo must not exceed a height of 1.26 inches (32mm), and the width must not exceed 2.05 inches (52mm).

Tennis balls for children/juniors vary in size depending on the age group that they are designed for.

How much does a tennis ball weigh?

In order to meet regulations set out by the ITF, a tennis ball must have a mass of 1.98–2.10oz (56.0–59.4 g).

What is the volume of a tennis ball?

The volume of a tennis ball is approximately 9.15 cubic inches (150cm³). Keep in mind that, as the diameter of a tennis ball can vary slightly, so can the total volume.

dimensions of tennis balls


What are tennis balls made of and how are they made?

Modern tennis balls are made from materials including rubber, synthetic felt and glue. In order to adhere to the ITF regulations, a tennis ball must bounce between 53 and 58 inches when dropped from a height of 100 inches onto a concrete surface. To achieve this bounce, tennis balls will usually have a PSI of 25-27.

The process of making a tennis ball is started by pulverizing a soft rubber between two heavy rollers to give it a firmer texture. This rubber is then converted into plug-shaped discs, which are reshaped to become the half-shells that form the internal structure of the balls.

The two halves are coated with adhesive and then joined together using intense heat and pressure in a process known as “vulcanizing”. During this process, a jet of high pressure air is inserted into the balls, just before the two halves are joined together.

Once the ball is formed and the two halves are joined, the exterior is sanded to make it smooth. Adhesive is then added to the ball’s interior shell, before felt is applied. The balls then go through another vulcanizing process, to firmly attach the felt to the rubber shell. Finally the balls are dried out to produce their fuzzy exterior.

What color is a tennis ball?

There’s lots of confusion around the color of a tennis ball, specifically - whether a tennis ball is green or yellow.

The International Tennis Federation (ITF) mandates that the color of tennis balls used in professional tournaments must either be yellow or white, specifically "optic yellow". This shade, often labeled as "fluorescent yellow", is represented by the hex code #ccff00 for design purposes. To conclude, the official documentation from the ITF, states that the color of the tennis balls currently used in grand slam tournaments is yellow, not green!

For easy identification, children's tennis balls are marked distinctly with red, orange or green markings. These balls are not only lighter but also often larger than those used by adults.

When did tennis balls become yellow?

Yellow tennis balls were first used in the early 1970s. Before 1972, tennis balls were predominantly black or white. The reason why tennis balls are yellow nowadays was driven by the desire for better visibility during televised matches on color TVs which became popular in the 1970s. In 1972 the ITF stated that:

“The ball shall have a uniform outer surface consisting of a fabric cover and shall be white or yellow in color.”

Founded in 1877, it wasn't until 1986 that Wimbledon stopped using white balls and started using yellow balls.

Why are tennis balls fuzzy?

Tennis balls are fuzzy because of their exterior covering of synthetic felt. The felt plays an important role in the properties of the ball; creating drag as the ball moves through the air, which slows it down significantly. If it wasn't for the layer of felt and the fuzziness of the ball, it's likely that many serves from professional players would be impossible to return due to the speed of the ball. This is why it is common to see players inspecting several balls, looking for the smoothest one, before serving.

In addition to moderating speed, the fuzz provides added grip and traction when struck with a racket's strings, providing players with greater shot control and the ability to apply more spin. The fuzz also contributes to a consistent bounce and extends the lifespan of the ball.

numbered tennis balls

Do the numbers on tennis balls mean anything?

Tennis balls can have numbers on them for several reasons. For example, when playing tennis at a club or center with multiple courts, it's easy to lose track of which balls belong to which players, especially if the balls are the same brand and model.

Junior tennis balls often have numbers on them too. This is done to clearly show the age range of the "stage" of development that they are meant for. Vermont Stage 2 Balls, for example, are designed for players aged 8 and 9 years and have "Stage 2" printed on them.

Finally, some manufacturers will print numbers on their tennis balls, to indicate what type of court surface they are designed for. Balls intended for slower-paced courts, such as clay, usually have a number 1 printed on them, a number 2 indicates a medium-paced court like a hard court made from asphalt, whilst a ball with a number 3 on is designed for use on a fast court surface, like grass.


What are pressurized tennis balls?

Pressurized tennis balls are tennis balls that have been filled with air under high pressure. The air elevates the balls' internal pressure, which in turn enhances the bounce of the balls.

Pressurized tennis balls are usually packaged and sold in cans and offer a superior level of performance, but less durability when compared to pressureless tennis balls. Pressurized tennis balls are used in professional matches and tournaments, but they are replaced regularly, as they tend to lose their bounce and become "dead" relatively quickly.

Why are tennis balls pressurized?

The added air found inside a pressurized tennis ball, enhances the ball’s bounce and responsiveness when struck with a tennis racket. A pressurized tennis ball will tend to bounce higher, travel through the air faster and be more receptive to spin, than a pressureless tennis ball. Pressurized tennis balls are always used in professional tennis tournaments.

Why are pressurized tennis balls sealed in a can?

Cans help to provide an air-tight seal that prevents air from escaping from the tennis balls’ cores, ensuring they maintain their internal pressure. If air escaped from the balls, then the performance and bounce would be compromised before the can was opened.

pressureless tennis balls
pressurised tennis balls

What are pressureless tennis balls?

Unlike pressurized tennis balls, pressureless tennis balls rely on a rubber inner shell to generate their bounce. The solid rubber core generates the bounce and responsiveness of the ball, rather than air under high pressure. Pressureless tennis balls are ideal for practice or recreational matches, as they provide a similar performance to pressurized tennis balls, but are more cost effective and durable.

Comparing the performance of pressurized and pressureless tennis balls

The performance between pressurized and pressureless balls differs slightly. For example, it is generally easier to apply spin to pressurized tennis balls. For this reason, if you are a serious tennis player looking to play in tournaments, it can help to train with pressurized tennis balls so you are able to transfer the skills learned in practice more directly to a regulated match.

Recreational players will often opt for the more durable pressureless tennis balls, as they are great value for money, and the differences in performance are not going to be of huge significance for those playing for fun.


Whilst tennis balls that are used in senior competitive matches and tournaments adhere to the same regulation dimensions, weight, and color, there are several different types and classifications of tennis balls available to buy. In this section, we'll take a look at some of the characteristics & properties of each type of tennis ball.

Tour/Tournament Tennis Balls

If you are looking for the best type of tennis balls that money can buy, then you'll want to purchase tour or tournament tennis balls. Tour tennis balls are pressurized and will closely match the specifications of the balls that are used in Grand Slam tournaments such as Wimbledon. They are manufactured using a superior felt compared to training balls, which does not fray easily. The durability of the felt helps to ensure a consistent level of air resistance, producing a more predictable flight, trajectory, and bounce.

While tour tennis balls are primarily designed for use in tournaments, they are also used by serious tennis players and coaches for practice sessions. As tour tennis balls closely match the properties of balls used in a tournament or regulation match, practicing with tour tennis balls makes it much easier to transfer skills learned in training to competition.

Our Vermont Classic Tour Tennis Balls are ITF approved and provide an excellent level of shape and air retention, thanks to their innovative DuraCore center. They are the perfect choice for anyone seeking the best tennis balls on the market.

Practice Tennis Balls

Practice tennis balls offer great value for money, are designed to offer an exceptional level of durability, and will typically outlast the lifespan of any tour/professional balls that are used in regulation tournaments.

Practice tennis balls will often feature a pressureless design, deriving their bounce from an interior rubber shell, rather than air pressure. Whilst air escapes over time with pressurized tennis balls, pressureless balls which rely on a thick rubber shell, tend to maintain their bounce for much longer.

Tennis ball tour

The perfect choice for schools and amateur players, Vermont Training Tennis Balls offer an unparalleled level of longevity and depending on the frequency of use, can last for many months. Available to purchase in packs of 60, the practice tennis balls are suitable for all court surfaces.

Kids’ Tennis Balls

Standard senior tennis balls are too heavy and bounce too high for the majority of young children to use. Back in the 1980s and 1990s, teachers and coaches would often use old tennis balls, with a reduced bounce, to introduce children to the sport. These days, coaches can purchase standardized tennis balls, which are tailored for the height and strength of children of different age ranges.

Kids' tennis balls are larger and lighter than senior balls, and bounce much lower. The balls also travel through the air at a slower speed, making it easier for children to hit and return.

The table below summarizes the recommended tennis balls for children of different ages:

8 and Under 3 7.5cm Red
8 & 9 2 6.0 - 6.8cm Orange
9 & 10 1 6.54 - 6.86cm Green
10 and above Senior 6.54 - 6.86cm Yellow

Using a standard tennis ball can prove extremely frustrating for young children, as the ball will often bounce too high and too fast for them to return. Using tennis balls designed for the correct age range, allows children to have more success and more fun.

Vermont's Mini Red Tennis balls are designed specifically for children aged 4-8 and stage 3 of mini tennis. The red tennis balls are lighter, larger, and significantly slower through the air than standard senior tennis balls. The balls also bounce much lower, which makes groundstrokes much easier to execute, and encourages correct technique.

Vermont's foam tennis balls are suitable for children under 8 years old. The ITF-approved tennis balls are made from high-density foam and are much lighter and easier to hit than standard tennis balls.

For players aged 8 & 9, Vermont's Mini Orange Tennis Balls [Stage 2] are an excellent choice. The balls are 50% softer and also lighter than adult tennis balls. Designed to match the size & strength of children in the 3rd grade, they are great fun to use.

Typically used for the final stage of mini tennis, Vermont Mini Green Tennis Balls [Stage 1] are designed for children aged 9 & 10. The green tennis balls are 75% compressed, making them slower than senior tennis balls.

Foam Tennis Balls

If you are looking to introduce young children to the sport of tennis, then foam tennis balls are a great choice. As children may lack the strength & size to return a standard tennis ball, the lighter, larger foam balls are a great alternative. Incredibly lightweight, the foam tennis balls move through the air at a slower speed, making them easier for children to track and react to, as they hone & develop their hand-eye coordination.

While standard tennis balls aren't likely to cause any serious injury, foam tennis balls eliminate the risk of impact injuries entirely, ensuring a safe and enjoyable game for children. Foam tennis balls can be used indoors and outdoors, and have a lower bounce, making them easier to hit while utilizing correct body position and technique. The fact that the foam balls are easier to hit as they bounce lower and move slower, also means that children are less likely to become frustrated and lose motivation.

Vermont Foam Tennis Balls are designed for children aged 8 and under. They are available in 2 sizes - 80mm and 90mm and in packs of 3, 12, or 72 balls. The 90mm foam tennis balls are larger and therefore slower through the air than the 80mm balls. Manufactured using high-density foam, the junior tennis balls are suitable for short and mini-tennis matches and meet regulations set by the LTA and ITF.

numbered tennis balls


When should you replace tennis balls?

At major tournaments, such as Wimbledon and the US Open, new balls are introduced after the first seven games and then after every ninth game. With tiny margins in placement and speed often making the difference between winning and losing, this ensures that the balls are kept in near-perfect condition throughout the matches.

As amateur tennis players don't usually have the big budget of a tennis grand slam tournament, they will replace their balls less regularly. Players will often test tennis balls by evaluating their bounce, how easy they are to squeeze, and the sound of the balls to determine if they need to be replaced. Some players will also visually inspect the exterior of the balls to check for fraying.

Pressureless tennis balls will tend to last much longer than pressurized balls, as they rely on a rubber shell rather than internal air pressure to produce their bounce. When pressureless tennis balls need to be replaced is often down to personal preference, or when there is an obvious change in the properties of the balls, such as significant fraying of the felt exterior or a reduced bounce.

How long a tennis ball will last for, depends on a number of factors including the type of tennis ball that you use, the type of court that you play on, how hard players can hit the ball and how often you play.

What tennis ball accessories can you buy?

Whichever tennis balls you use, you may consider investing in tennis ball accessories to streamline your matches and intensify the effectiveness of your practice sessions.

Tennis ball pick-up tubes, ball mowers and ball carts/hoppers are extremely popular as they help to keep the courts organized and tidy, whilst tennis ball machines are great for solo practice sessions.

Tennis ball machines and launchers can take your practice sessions to the next level. The Baseliner Slam Tennis Ball Machine serves balls up to 40mph and features an adjustable trajectory so you can serve the balls at different heights and angles.

Our tennis ball mowers and hoppers are popular with coaches and tennis court owners, as they allow them to collect and serve tennis balls efficiently, keeping the court and matches running efficiently.

pressureless tennis balls
pressurised tennis balls

Can you recycle tennis balls?

300 million tennis balls are produced globally each year, and at the US Open alone there are approximately 70,000 tennis balls used. That’s quite a lot of tennis balls! With pressurized tennis balls lasting a few matches at most, there’s a lot of tennis balls ending up in landfill sites.

You can recycle tennis balls with specialist recycling firms or non-profit organizations (NGOs) operating in your area. There are specific NGOs set up just to recycle tennis balls, but only a handful of these exist across the United States at the time of writing.

If you are unable to find a recycling solution, you can look to repurpose tennis balls or donate them to a dog charity or kennels.

Can you wash tennis balls?

Amateur players will sometimes wash their tennis balls if they get covered in dirt or mud. You should however, always check the manufacturer’s instructions or contact the manufacturer, to ensure that the balls won’t be damaged by any type of cleaning process.

If you do choose to wash a tennis ball, it’s best to use lukewarm water to rinse the ball and remove any dirt or mud with a sponge. Be careful not to damage the felt on the exterior of the ball. Leave the ball to dry out of direct sunlight once you have finished the cleaning process.

At Net World Sports you’ll discover a wide range of ITF-approved tennis balls. Whether you are looking for tour tennis balls offering exceptional performance, pressureless practice tennis balls for developing your tennis skills or kids’ mini tennis balls for introducing your children to the sport of tennis, we can help. We also supply tennis balls in bulk, with orders in the thousands welcome!