Have you noticed that tennis players ask for three or four balls from the ball boys or girls and pick two balls to serve with? What are they looking for exactly?
How tennis players pick balls for first and second serve?
Not all tennis balls used during play are used uniformly. Newer balls have smooth hair, whereas balls that have been used more tend to be fluffier and slower. For first serves, players prefer smooth balls because it allows them to serve faster. The disadvantage is that they get less accuracy with a smooth ball.
Players use the fluffier ball for the second serve. This gives them more control and is less likely to result in a double fault.
Other reasons players are picky about balls
Few tennis players such as Novak Djokovic and Rafael Nadal are notorious for their slow play. Taking the time to pick the balls allows them to slow down, concentrate and get in the zone for the next point.
How often are balls changed in professional tennis?
ATP and WTA tournaments change balls every 9 games. At the start of the match, balls are changed every 7 games to account for the 5-minute warm-up.
How often do players change racquets in a match?
Most players carry 6-10 racquets in their bags. Players typically change racquets at every ball change (every 9 games).
Some players like Federer change racquets one game before the ball change. That’s because they don’t like to serve with new balls when the racquet strings are at maximum tension.