How Long do Tennis Balls Last?

Tennis is a fun outdoor sport. Buying yourself new tennis racquets and tennis balls must excite you. After some time, your racquet loses its quality, tennis balls also get worn out.

The tennis ball is an essential component of tennis sport. You can not play the game without a tennis ball. The way your ball performs highly influences your game as a player. From its quality to its durability, it is crucial to know every element of the ball you use for playing. We are certain when buying your packet of tennis balls, you have always wanted to know; How long do tennis balls last?

Different factors influence a tennis ball’s lasting period. When you start noticing that your ball is getting slower and producing less bounce, and the condition of the ball is wearing out then without any halt, change the tennis ball.

Well, worry no more; we are here to provide you with additional information regarding tennis balls and their lasting period to make it easy for you to figure out.

Let’s dive into the read:

How long does a tennis ball last?

Tennis balls are way more complicated and tricky than people assume. How long does a tennis ball last depends entirely on the packaging as well as how you play tennis whether competitively or recreationally.

Certain factors affect the lasting period of your tennis ball:

Let’s look into it:

Types of Tennis Balls:

Here we are going to discuss two main types of tennis balls. The type you choose also affects the tennis ball’s lasting period.

Pressurized Tennis Balls:

Pressurized tennis balls are often packaged in a plastic container that’s tightly sealed and vacuumed. The balls in the container stay at the same pressure when they are locked inside and stay at the same pressure until the lid is opened. This certain pressure keeps the shape and tightness of the tennis balls maintained, and the air pressure keeps them bouncy.

Nevertheless, the more these balls are used and how hard they are being hit, the more quickly they will lose the pressure and quality. These are referred to as ‘dead’ balls. We mainly see these pressurized tennis balls during competitive matches.

Pressureless Tennis Balls:

Unlike pressurized tennis balls, pressureless tennis balls are sold without a sealed vacuum container. These balls are made of thick rubber and are not designed for competitive games but are often used during practice sessions. Pressureless tennis balls are much stiffer and last for a long time.

Nevertheless, pressureless tennis balls can provide a bounce for a much longer time, but they are more on the heavier side and relatively tough to control.

Playing Type:

Playing type does affect the durability of a tennis ball. There are two types of play; recreational and competitive.

Recreational Play:

Recreational play usually refers to games played without any notable competition. The kind of games you play just for fun. In such matches, it is certain that your tennis ball will last longer without wearing out anytime soon.

If you use a pressurized tennis ball for recreational play, then it will last for 1-4 weeks of average play. Whereas a pressureless tennis ball might last for 1-3 years.

Competitive Play:

Competitive play, as the name suggests, refers to games much more serious than recreational ones.  During the tournament matches, the ball is struck much harder, which increases the wearing out process of your tennis ball, and it starts losing the pressure and bounces quickly.

Pressureless tennis balls are not recommended for competitive games. Whilst a single pressurized tennis ball during competitive play will hardly last for 1-3 hours. In professional matches, you must be wondering how often they change the ball in tennis.

Well, the ball changing completely depends on the number of games and the quality of the ball. They replace the ball after every ninth game.

Tennis Court Surfaces:

Tennis court surfaces also affect the longevity period of your tennis ball. There are four prominent types of tennis court surfaces.

  • Hard court
  • Clay court
  • Grass court
  • Artificial grass

The ball bounces higher on hard courts, and the ball handles more stress. This is one main reason tennis balls start wearing out more quickly on hard courts than on clay courts. Clay courts and grass courts are softer and provide less bounce and less friction, and the ball wears out slowly.

How do you know your tennis ball is dead and needs to be replaced?

Tennis balls are filled with gas inside, and they start losing the gas as well as the bounce depending on how much you are utilizing the ball for play. It is obvious your tennis ball will not last forever; they need to be replaced at some point. If you notice that your ball is not performing the way it used to, then you might want to replace it with a new one for your further games. However, there are ways to know whether your tennis ball is ‘dead’ or not.

There are some ways to determine the deadness of your tennis ball: these methods are enlisted below.


A dead and flat tennis ball will produce a dull sound when you hit it with your racquet. The sound will be much different than the one produced by a new and fresh ball which is not a thud and rather a ping.


This is the most obvious technique to determine the flatness of your ball. Drop your tennis ball on the ground and check for its bounce. If the ball bounces higher, then it can be used for playing games. Try comparing your tennis ball with a new one; if it bounces lower than the new ball, then it is futile to play with that ball and replace the old one with a new ball.


Squeeze the tennis ball in your palm. If the ball gives in easily, it is a dead or flat ball and is of no use. A new ball will not squeeze easily as it is relatively hard.

The tennis ball is an essential element in tennis. It can make or break your game. You should have enough understanding of the balls you are using for playing purposes to succeed in the game.


It is vital to know about the kind of ball you are playing tennis with, and determining its longevity is even crucial. The more the ball is hit, the faster it will wear out. Not just the playing style but the courts you play also make a significant difference in the durability of your tennis ball. This article has covered every aspect of tennis balls. Hopefully, it benefits the readers.


Are pressurized tennis balls better than pressureless tennis balls?

Pressurized tennis balls are certainly better than pressureless tennis balls in terms of quality. But they tend to wear out quickly. On the other hand, pressureless balls are more durable but are hard to control.

When should you throw away your tennis ball?

When you feel like there is a decrease in the bounce if the ball and the sound it is producing are dull, then you should throw your tennis ball away. Also, tennis balls expire after 3-4 weeks if used for a much longer time.

Is there a tennis ball shortage?  

There is a tennis ball shortage reported from the manufacturer’s end. It is reported that the pandemic has delayed shipments, and major brands are left with less or zero stock.

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