The answers to 4 tennis ball questions you never knew you had

Yes, the tennis ball is familiar, but it hasn’t always been that way. Answering the questions you never knew you had, here’s the tennis ball explained.

Q: Why are tennis balls fuzzy?

“Why are tennis balls fuzzy?” is such a stumper that it’s even become a stock interview questions. But the answer is pretty simple.

Fuzz on a tennis ball isn’t for fun. It’s functional. Tennis balls are made of bouncy rubber, and the felt covering helps make them softer, slow their speed in the air, and regulate their bounce. As importantly, it gives the tennis ball a lot of surface for spin, which is a key part of the game. In tandem, these help make tennis easier to play than if you just hit around a handball.

Q: Why are tennis balls yellow?

Actually, they used to be white. Today, they’re “fluorescent yellow” or “optic yellow” because of television. In 1972, the International Tennis Federation switched to yellow balls that they claimed were easier to see on TV. Wimbledon switched in 1986.

If you’re wondering why they didn’t choose a pink or orange ball, there’s no good answer—they claim their study showed optic yellow was most visible, even against a tennis court’s lightly-colored ground. Once the pros switched over, amateurs did too. Of course, you can still get oddly colored tennis balls if you search online.

Q: How high is a tennis ball supposed to bounce?

When big money rides on tennis, you can bet that this has been tested.

The ITF has strict rules on the matter. The take home point? If you drop a ball from 100″ above ground, it needs to bounce back 53″-58″.

Q: What are the lines on a tennis ball?

If you’ve wondered about the pattern on a tennis ball, there’s a reason it’s there. Again, the ITF provides the answer.

A tennis ball’s seams are where the felt covering is attached to the rubber. The felt patches are covered with a vulcanizing solution and placed carefully by machine so they’ll be at just the right angle.

The best part? Tennis ball cloth arrives in rolls 60″ by 150′. That’s a lot of tennis ball material to work with and sounds like it would make a great carpet.

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