When stepping on court, one of the most common questions is. What’s the difference between a padel ball and a tennis ball? Could tennis balls serve the purpose? Surprisingly, they can’t. To truly appreciate the distinctions between padel balls and their close cousin, tennis balls, read this article.
Padel Ball vs Tennis Ball
In the realm of racket sports, padel and tennis balls may appear similar, but there’s more to their relationship than meets the eye. Both emerge from the same factories, and are crafted from very similar base materials. However, the significant difference lies in their internal pressure when new. Tennis balls boast a maximum pressure of 14psi, while padel balls maintain a maximum of 11psi. This disparity significantly influences their performance on the court.
Size and Weight
When examining the dimensions of these balls, tennis balls have a slight edge in diameter due to their higher initial pressure. However, in terms of weight, padel balls and tennis balls are equal.
The Core Difference – Internal Pressure
The International Tennis Federation (ITF) oversees the standard for tennis balls, ensuring they sustain 14psi once the seal is broken during tournament play. In contrast, World Padel Tour (WPT) is responsible for the pressure which padel balls operate within a pressure range of 10 psi to 11psi. This variance in internal pressure subtly but significantly affects their behaviour on the court. As you can imagine, the tennis balls will perform with more pace thanks to this pressure increase.
The Bounce …
Both padel and tennis balls undergo thorough bounce tests, yet tennis balls reach slightly higher in the official bounce test due to their greater initial pressure. This nuanced difference impacts the dynamics of play. You will notice this particularly in padel if you use a tennis ball when it rebounds off the walls.
Adapting to Altitude
For courts situated 500 metres above sea level or higher, a specialised high altitude padel ball is used. While it shares weight and diameter characteristics with standard padel balls, it offers a unique bounce profile designed to accommodate the challenges of higher altitudes. This is a fact not many players actually know.
Crossing Boundaries: Tennis Balls on Padel Courts
Is it conceivable to use older tennis balls for padel games? Surprisingly, yes. While padel players might raise an eyebrow, aged tennis balls with some bounce left can serve for casual games and practice sessions. This approach adds new life into old tennis balls, especially if you’re transitioning from tennis to padel.
While padel balls and tennis balls may initially appear interchangeable, a deeper understanding reveals the subtle yet impactful distinctions that define each sport. These distinctions, from internal pressure to bounce height, influence the game’s dynamics and behaviour on the court.