US Open tennis balls controversy explained: How it has become the biggest topic of discussion at Cincinnati Open ft. Iga Swiatek, Rafael Nadal and others

Rafael Nadal, Iga Swiatek and Daniil Medvedev, among others, weighed in on the topic of the balls used at the US Open.
Rafael Nadal, Iga Swiatek and Daniil Medvedev, among others, weighed in on the topic of the balls used at the US Open.

The tennis balls used during the US Open series have become a major talking point at the ongoing Cincinnati Open, with many players chiming in with their views on the same.

The balls used during the North American hardcourt swing, including the Grand Slam tournament in New York City, are different from those used throughout the season. Additionally, the women's tour uses a different kind of tennis ball during the US Open swing compared to the men's tour.

It all began after current WTA No. 1 Iga Swiatek first spoke out against the use of Wilson tennis balls during the US Open swing every year. For starters, the World No. 1 was quite dissatisfied with the lighter balls used on the WTA tour as she felt that they fly around at pace and draw a lot more errors from the players. The Polish superstar was also opposed to the fact that the ATP and WTA tours use different types of tennis balls.

Swiatek compared the current generation of women's tennis to that of 10-15 years ago and believes that players these days possess much more powerful games and are comfortable playing with heavier balls. As per Swiatek, many of her top-10 colleagues echo her thoughts on the same.

"Oh, my God. Well, honestly, I don't like them. Well, I have heard many players actually complaining, as well," Swiatek said on the matter. "Well, but basically the thing is that they are lighter. They fly like crazy. You know, we have really powerful games right now. It's not like 10 years ago except Serena, girls, I think they played slower, right?
"Right now we play powerful, and we kind of can't loosen up our hands with these balls. I know that there are many players who complain, and many of them are top 10," she added.

Swiatek called for a change back to heavier balls during the US Open series as she feels that players on the WTA tour these days are a lot fitter to deal with more powerful games. Her comments led to a range of reactions from some of her colleagues.

Petra Kvitova, Madison Keys and Jessica Pegula weigh in on the US Open balls debate

Western & Southern Open - Day 6
Western & Southern Open - Day 6

The US Open series uses Wilson balls, which are lightweight for the WTA tour and heavier for the ATP tour. This is the only phase of the season which uses such drastically different balls for both tours, with most other tournaments throughout the year featuring Dunlop, Penn, and Slazenger balls, consistent across the men's and women's draws. Earlier, the US Open series itself had different balls for different tournaments, but this year there has been consistency throughout the American swing.

World No. 8 Jessica Pegula agreed with Swiatek's sentiment and confirmed that many other players on the women's tour feel the same way. While she is glad that the hardcourt swing is finally consistent with the use of balls, she is against the use of lighter balls that fly more.

"Yeah, I heard Iga talking about that," Pegula said during a press conference in Cincinnati. "I'm not a fan of them either. Honestly, I don't think a lot of the girls are, like she said."

Pegula also showed her dissent with the lighter balls used at the WTA tournament in Dubai during the early phase of the season. Meanwhile, she aims to use her position on the Players' Council to bring about a change.

"I'm on the player council, so hopefully we can get something together and maybe make it more consistent. I think through this series at least we are playing with the same ball every week. In D.C. I remember I used to play I think with Penn balls, and then I'd come to the rest of the tournaments and it would be Wilson," she said.
"At least now they are all the Wilson Regular Duty, I'm personally not a huge fan. I don't see why we couldn't switch to Extra Duty. But it's easier said than done, so hopefully the player council can work on that," she added.

Meanwhile, Petra Kvitova and Madison Keys are happy with the choice of balls during the US Open swing as the lighter and faster balls suit their games much more.

"I love it. It doesn't matter, but we are not changing it. That's important to have the same balls like Toronto, here, US Open, especially for my wrist. It's tough to adjust all the time, every week different...Well, it's pretty flying, I would say. Well, it's tough to say it after three wins, right? I like it overall. It's flying to the court, so that's important," Kvitova said during a press conference in Cincinnati.
"It's like my favorite ball. I mean, it's what we practice with all of the time. The US Open Regular Duty is my favorite ball...It starts pretty fast, and I think it's one of those balls that actually stays pretty consistent throughout until ball change," Keys said at a press conference in Cincinnati.

Also Checkout:- Cincinnati Open 2022 Schedule

Keys further stated that she understands why Swiatek opposes the lighter balls but the fact that they do not slow down during matches helps her cause.

Daniil Medvedev, Rafael Nadal, and Taylor Fritz express their opinion on the US Open balls

Citi Open - Day 6
Citi Open - Day 6

Current ATP No. 1 Daniil Medvedev also expressed his thoughts on the matter. While Medvedev did not have much to say about the difference between the balls used on the ATP and WTA tours, he said he is a fan of the Wilson balls used during the US Open swing. The Russian likes the pace on the ball and agreed with Keys' sentiment on the consistency.

"I like that they are fast," Medvedev said after his win against Denis Shapovalov in Cincinnati. "And when they get older, so when it's seven, nine, so when you play like fifth or sixth game or eighth and ninth game, these balls, in my opinion, they don't lose that much spin because -- it's tough to explain, they go a little bit smaller and they go bald in a way."

He believes it is normal to use a different kind of tennis ball during the US Open swing and also recognizes that some other players might hold a different opinion.

Taylor Fritz also chipped in with his viewpoint and agreed that the lighter balls used on the WTA tour tend to fly a lot more.

"They are lighter. They fly more. I can serve like 150 miles per hour with the girls' balls," Fritz said after his win against Andrey Rublev

Additionally, he is not a big fan of the heavier Wilson balls used on the men's side as they do not support his style of play. Fritz believes each player is entitled to their own opinion on the matter.

"I'm sure it's going to be different based off how people hit the ball, people's strokes, whatever. I just know that when I switch from the ball we normally use to the men's Wilson ball, it doesn't feel good on my arm, so I feel like if I'm saying that, then maybe some girls would also have the same issue playing with the balls. To each his own," Fritz said, when asked about Swiatek's comments.

Rafael Nadal, on the other hand, opined that having different tennis balls on both tours for the US Open series is not that important a topic.

"I don't know. I don't have any idea of that," Nadal said after his match against Borna Coric. "Of course I didn't try, because I practice with the ball that I played. But I don't think is an important topic at all."

Also Checkout:- US Open 2022 Results

Quick Links

Edited by Anirudh
Be the first one to comment