By Chris Oddo | @TheFanChild | Tuesday August 23, 2022
The US Open is the only Grand Slam that uses different balls for men and women (not the only tournament), and a few big stars on the women’s side have been speaking out against it.
Last week at Cincinnati, World No.1 Iga Swiatek said that a lot of the women on tour have been complaining. She herself says that the balls are too light for her liking. At the US Open the women use “Regular Duty” balls, which means that the felt is more tightly wound around the ball and thus allows the ball to play faster.
Here’s what Swiatek had to say about the balls, which have also been in use at all the events during the North American hard court swing.
“Honestly, I don’t like them,” she said. “I have heard many players actually complaining, as well. Woman players, because we have different balls than men. I know it sounds weird, but basically the thing is that they are lighter. They fly like crazy.
“You know, we have really powerful games right now. … 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.”
On Tuesday Spain’s Paula Badosa logged her own complaint, posting a picture of the different balls used by men and women at the Open.
“Very unfavourable conditions for the players and for the spectacle,” she wrote, on Instagram, her comments translated by Reuters. “Then we complain that there are a lot of errors and there’s a loss of tactics and intelligence on points. (While what we deal with is) faster courts and balls impossible to control.”
Paula Badosa another one not happy about these Wilson balls pic.twitter.com/o4HkxnSFKf
— Fergal (@Fergal_Tennis) August 23, 2022
The US Open has used different balls for over a decade.
“Men and women use the same ball in terms of size, pressure and design,” the USTA said in a statement in 2012, when Andy Roddick made note of the different balls when he inadvertently came across one of the “regular duty” women’s balls during his match. “The sole difference is that the men compete with an extra-duty felt ball while the women compete using a regular-duty felt ball.”
For the record, some players like the ball in question.
“It’s like my favorite ball,” Madison Keys said last week at Cincinnati. “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. In my opinion, most of the time they actually get a little bit smaller. They don’t get as fluffy, so they never really slow down, which is great for me.”
If enough players share the opinion of Swiatek and Badosa, perhaps the US Open will rethink it’s ball usage. For now, it’s time for Swiatek and Badosa to make peace with the hand – or in this case, balls – theyv’e been dealt.”