In 2019, the Australian Open decided to change balls. Went from the Wilson brand to Dunlop and the criticism grew. the australian Bernard Tomic directly said that they were “shit”. His compatriot John Millman was also very expressive when talking about them: “They are dead.” And Federer warned that it was “very difficult to give them ‘spin’ (revolutions)”. They didn’t like it either Rafa Nadal, who warned that they became “soft” and became “bigger at night”. Three years later, this change in characteristics has been maintained in the tournament and has spread throughout the circuit, which according to the Balearic “it favors those who hit the ball flatter”.
“With more humidity the ball gets very slow, when the weather is drier, it gets faster. I think the trend of the balls in recent years is that they are becoming more hollow, that they take fewer effects, which I do not share, but I adapt to it”, he said before the current edition of the ocean tournament started. A generation mate Pablo Andújar agrees with him. “When Rafa and I started, the balls were much more aliveAnd they paid much more attention. Now the players are 1.90m tall, so the idea has been to play tennis a little slower, with slower balls”.
Tuning the strings! 🎾
🎥 Nadal (IG)
– ATP Tour in Spanish (@ATPTour_ES) January 22, 2022
According to the man from Cuenca, this means “that all tennis players play more or less the same, that there is not as much difference as 20 years ago, when there were those who served and raised, and more specialists on the ground. This means that in a certain way everything is equalized and that the technique is not so important “. Stylists like Feliciano López are a dying breed. There are hardly any other competitors, although from time to time exceptions appear, such as the American Cressy, eighth finalist in the Aussie Open, who plays a lot of serves and volleys and was praised by Nadal himself a few days ago in the ATP 250 final that they both played in Melbourne. Or like the French Gastón, who uses effects, drops and variations, and Mannarino, Rafa’s rival this morning (04:00, Eurosport), who executes a short swing. The rest play to see who hits him harder. This is the case, among others, of Berrettini, Rublev, Medvedev and Zverev, currently dominant.
Djokovic, who has not done so badly with the change, and Nadal, who prefers topspin hitting, survive. But the winner of 20 Grand Slams insists: “When I got to the circuit, the balls caught the effects much more, they flew, they were much more alive. Nowadays they don’t jump much, that takes away the possibilities of playing with different styles, with angles, heights… Strikers hit without feeling of error. I’ve been quite successful as well, I’m not complaining, but the show is lost, because in the end everyone plays in a very similar way and I understand that tennis is much more fun when there are different options”. Why did this happen? The multi-champion’s response is blunt: “Ask the brands, the ATP, I have no idea…”.