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US Open tennis balls: Iga Swiatek among female players criticising ‘horrible’ balls

Venue: Flushing Meadows, New York Dates: 29 August-11 September
Coverage Daily radio commentary across BBC Sounds and BBC Sport websites and apps, including selected live text commentsaries and match reports

Iga Swiatek, world number one, was not shy about talking about the tennis balls used by female tennis players at the US Open.

Swiatek stated last week that he thought the balls were “horrible”.

They are very bad. “I know that there are many players who are unhappy, and many of them rank among the top 10. ”

The US Open has the only major in which men and women use different balls.


Mixed reactions have been received to the decision to allow coaching in-play at the tournament.

What difference does it make to have balls?

Women use Wilson US Open regular duty ball in New York. Men use Wilson US Open extra duty ball.

Regular duty balls are lighter and thinner than extra duty balls. Wilson claims that the regular balls are

More likely to fluff

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They are faster, but less durable than extra duty.

Wilson says that regular duty balls can be used on softer surfaces like clay and indoor courts. The extra-duty balls, however, are designed for harder courts and more “abrasive” surfaces.

Swiatek said that lighter balls can lead to more unforced mistakes, which can make matches less appealing to watch.

She said that after three hard games, the players are becoming more light.

“You can’t serve at 170kmh [105mph] at the end because you know it will fly like mad. They’re pretty terrible.

“Right now, we play strong and can’t let go of these balls. It’s not easy to see that we make more mistakes. ”

According to the US Tennis Association, “a variety of factors” are taken into consideration when choosing which balls to use.

A spokesperson for the USTA stated that the USTA collaborates closely with WTA and ATP Tour players councils, as well as their brand partners on an annual basis, to decide what kind of balls they recommend.

“The USTA will follow the recommendations from the tours and their players councils to decide which balls are used during the US Open. ”

What did other players say?

Fourth Seed Paula Badosa from Spain posted an Instagram photo of one of her practice sessions, comparing the balls.

Daniel Vallverdu (coach of Stan Wawrinka), replied to the image via Twitter and wrote: “The game evolved.” It should be the same for women and men. I agree with her 100%. ”

French Open runner up Coco Gauff stated that she could “definitely see a difference when it comes to using the US Open ball”.

Jessica Pegula, the American number one, is part of the Women’s Tennis Association’s players council and said that she wasn’t a fan of the balls. According to her, “I feel like there are a lot more double faults in the first couple of weeks because the balls just kind of fly a bit more. I don’t understand why we can’t switch to additional duty. It’s not an easy task, but the player council could help. ”

Madison Keys and Petra Kvitova, who are known for hitting hard, flat strikes, that can gather more pace from a lighter ball than others, like regular duty, prefer the regular duty balls.

Ons Jabeur is a Wimbledon runner-up, well-known for her skill in ball striking. However, she said that she will play with “any ball”. She added, “It would make sense to play with the same balls with men, since that’s what happens in other Grand Slams.” Their point is valid. ”

Amy Binder, WTA spokesperson

According to the Associated Press

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The reason the regular felt ball was used was to limit the risk of injury to the arm, shoulder, elbow, and wrist.

“This is something we will continue to monitor with our athletes and discuss further with our sports science teams. ”

What about coaching changes?

Participants will be able receive verbal or non-verbal coaching in the stands throughout the tournament provided that it does not interfere with play or hinder their opponent.

While it is against tournament rules, coaching from the sidelines can be common. Players may receive warnings or points penalties if caught.

Stefanos Tsitsipas’ father was often caught coaching his son. This happened most recently at the Australian Open where an umpire was stationed under his box to catch any comments.

Tsitsipas stated that although my coach was not as discrete as some others, it has always been happening.

“I have been subject to a lot coaching violations that I find unfair. Now that it’s legalized, I’m happy that I won’t have the to deal with referees who are so strict and want nothing but to ruin the game. ”

But, world number 12 Taylor Fritz stated that he hates the new coaching rule.

“Tennis can be done by anyone, it is a team sport. So why should you need someone to help? The American said it.

“I think people underestimate the mental and strategic nature of the sport, so they don’t realize how significant it can make.”

“I believe that it is an important part of the sport to figure things out on the court. It feels like we are losing an important part in tennis. ”

Swiatek stated that she understood both sides of the argument.

“I get that players think it’s a team sport, but the truth is that there are coaches in almost all sports,” said the Pole.

“Football coaches can shout even though there are 11 adults on the field. They should be able to tell them what to do. He’s probably not as familiar with the tactics but they do know what to do. ”

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