PDA

View Full Version : Faster, more exciting pro tennis - make the ball heavier & higher pressure?


OrangeOne
03-28-2010, 05:49 PM
Watching some tennis on TV the other day - I wondered with all of the development in frames and strings - should we allow the ball to develop as well?

I know the size, weight and rebound height is currently regulated. Given we have 'super' racquets now, and physically we have 'super' players compared to 50 years ago too.

With a ball that carried more momentum, and bounced at least as high as the current ball (ie. would need more pressure to offset the extra weight) - would tennis be (even) more exciting to watch? More winners, faster points, better show off the strength and speed of the players?

spacediver
03-28-2010, 05:57 PM
I may be mistaken, but I seem to remember reading something on racquetresearch about why a heavier ball would be a bad idea (partially for health reasons).

spacediver
03-28-2010, 05:59 PM
here we go:



The Effect of Heavier, Larger, or Softer Balls

To slow down the men's game, and thus hopefully to increase its entertainment value for the unsophisticated, the rulers of tennis want to change the balls.

Particularly troubling is the lack of prior consultation with the pros who will be using these balls. Which of them are in favor? True, it is rare to find any touring pros who might be called formally educated, so naturally they must expect their opinions to be ignored and their objections overruled. If they don't want to play, there are plenty of ambitious youngsters eager to take their place. However, even though there might be no reason for courtesy or compassion, wouldn't it be economically prudent to prolong the careers of the marquee players, and not to increase the already alarming rate of injuries among the recreational players?

The ITF has authorized a ball with a 15% greater diameter to be used "on an experimental basis." The intention is that the bigger ball will meet more air resistance, therefore play will be slower. Fluffing the nap (felt covering of the ball) will increase diameter and drag, but apparently the intention of the ITF is to require ball manufacturers to mold a larger rubber core. See the diameter test for the "slow ball" in Appendix 1 to the Rules of Tennis -- fluffed nap will not keep the ball from falling through the bottom hole of the testing apparatus.

The larger diameter of the rubber core, even if the weight of rubber remains the same, will result in a higher rotational inertia for the ball. That means a "heavy" ball because players will be able to impart a lot of angular momentum (spin). Angular momentum is the product of the rotational inertia and the rotation speed, and the higher rotational inertia permits a much "heavier" ball at the same spin rate. High angular momentum of the ball on impact will aggravate Torsion (screwdriver twist on the handle), causing more stress on the arm of the receiver.

Another problem with bigger balls: they will radically change the game in the same way that the "spaghetti string" racquet did, by giving junkballers an edge. The ITF banned (retroactively) the spaghetti strings which imparted such extreme spin. The same reasoning should ban these balls.

Yet another problem with bigger balls: if the same ball weight (57 grams) is to be maintained, the rubber of the bigger ball must be made thinner to stretch over the larger surface. Thinner rubber means that the air will leak out easier, and higher air pressure will be needed to maintain the same ball bounce. These balls will go flat faster. They will also be less bouncy in actual pro-level play because of higher hysteresis loss from more air being compressed. These will be soft balls.

Presently, for professional tournament play, a ball must bounce more than 53 inches and less than 58 inches when released from a height of 100 in. That means that the coefficient of restitution for the ball itself (apart from the racquet) is between 0.73 and 0.76. It should be noted that the 100 in. drop height does not approximate the speed of a pro serve, so for testing the hysteresis loss from the bigger ball this test would be inadequate. Using softer balls, having a bounce at the low end of this range (low c), means higher Shock, Shoulder Pull, Work, Shoulder Crunch, Wrist Crunch, and Elbow Crunch for the players.

As you can see from the formulas, heavier balls (high b) means both higher resultant forces from impact (Torque and Impulse Reaction), and higher Shock, Shoulder Pull, Work, Shoulder Crunch, and Elbow Crunch. With heavy balls, the game becomes more painful and less accurate. See the formulas.

Club players can take a lesson here, especially those who play on clay, where the balls get heavier as play goes on. Change balls often to protect your arm. Tennis balls are a bargain, so leave them on the court.


http://www.racquetresearch.com/sevencri.htm

gpt
03-28-2010, 06:05 PM
I think if it aint broke dont fix it
There is enough variety among the balls on the market already
If anything the ITF should have placed more restrictions on racquets a long time ago.
Oh, hang on that would limit how much money could be made.

nfor304
03-28-2010, 06:08 PM
There were companies that made slightly larger balls, and they were awful. Really hard on your arm. I think a heavier ball would cause more injuries, and injuries are already a major problem on the men's tour.

Also, I remember seeing a tv show where a rugby union player was given a ball pumped full of helium. He kicked that thing about 150 meters, right over the length of the whole field and onto a freeway. There would be some pretty mean serves being produced with a high pressure ball. It would be awesome.

OKUSA
03-28-2010, 06:10 PM
Rod Laver and Bjorn Borg were super players in the 60's, sitting behind the baseline and get to a (good) drop shot with plenty of time to hit a winner was not uncommon

OrangeOne
03-28-2010, 06:12 PM
I may be mistaken, but I seem to remember reading something on racquetresearch about why a heavier ball would be a bad idea (partially for health reasons).

Interesting article.

As crass as this sounds - I'm not thinking about health reasons here. I'm thinking about the pure, sheer excitement value of the sport :)

Also, for the record, just as there are arguments that a heavier ball could makes things worse on the injury front - there could be arguments why a faster game would lead to fewer injuries - points over quicker, less ability to grind.

OrangeOne
03-28-2010, 06:14 PM
There were companies that made slightly larger balls, and they were awful. Really hard on your arm. I think a heavier ball would cause more injuries, and injuries are already a major problem on the men's tour.

True, but I think pros would adjust. They've adjusted to the brutality of poly after all.

Also, I remember seeing a tv show where a rugby union player was given a ball pumped full of helium. He kicked that thing about 150 meters, right over the length of the whole field and onto a freeway. There would be some pretty mean serves being produced with a high pressure ball. It would be awesome.

Bring it on! 200kph forehands ;)

nfor304
03-28-2010, 06:15 PM
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9QO5hPSKvsE&feature=PlayList&p=722FB486169C194E&playnext=1&playnext_from=PL&index=19

OrangeOne
03-28-2010, 06:16 PM
I think if it aint broke dont fix it


How do you know it ain't broke? Tennis struggles as a sport on TV against sports that are more powerful and more explosive (football, car racing, etc).

Imagine a new breed of player designed purely to crush the ball and end every point with one shot, massive winners from bulked up super-players!

(I'm tongue-in-cheek here, but hey, creativity can be fun)

gpt
03-28-2010, 06:18 PM
How do you know it ain't broke? Tennis struggles as a sport on TV against sports that are more powerful and more explosive (football, car racing, etc).

Imagine a new breed of player designed purely to crush the ball and end every point with one shot, massive winners from bulked up super-players!

(I'm tongue-in-cheek here, but hey, creativity can be fun)

I was referring to tennis balls not the sport.
I agree, the sport needs fixing.

Kaptain Karl
03-28-2010, 06:28 PM
I can't go with any of the choices. I think the balls are fine; the strings need to be regulated.

We should figure a way to ban (what today we call) poly. I think the challenge would be describing the string-to-be-banned properly.

What is nuts, is the string being such that you don't need to have any finesse in your game; you just smack the snot out of the ball, and as long as you put some topspin on it ... it stays IN.

But since I try to void hijacking threads ... I'll stop.

- KK

OrangeOne
03-28-2010, 06:42 PM
I can't go with any of the choices. I think the balls are fine; the strings need to be regulated.

We should figure a way to ban (what today we call) poly. I think the challenge would be describing the string-to-be-banned properly.

What is nuts, is the string being such that you don't need to have any finesse in your game; you just smack the snot out of the ball, and as long as you put some topspin on it ... it stays IN.

You know, I'd agree 100%.

Would the description of a thread that is '1 solid core' cover things somewhat? Maybe one would need to define how many cores would constitute a minimum...

I wonder how long companies would take to replicate the properties?

But since I try to void hijacking threads ... I'll stop.

- KK

Please don't 'void' my thread ;)

OrangeOne
03-28-2010, 06:43 PM
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9QO5hPSKvsE&feature=PlayList&p=722FB486169C194E&playnext=1&playnext_from=PL&index=19

Wow, too funny. Posting a thread on an international tennis forum, and getting a link back to the bogan aussie footy show :)

nfor304
03-29-2010, 03:28 AM
Wow, too funny. Posting a thread on an international tennis forum, and getting a link back to the bogan aussie footy show :)

Haha I know its possibly the worst show in the world... but that segment stuck in my head

Dave M
03-29-2010, 06:24 AM
How do you know it ain't broke? Tennis struggles as a sport on TV against sports that are more powerful and more explosive (football, car racing, etc).

Imagine a new breed of player designed purely to crush the ball and end every point with one shot, massive winners from bulked up super-players!

(I'm tongue-in-cheek here, but hey, creativity can be fun)

I think most people on here used to moan when we had people crushing winners everywhere adn the courts got slower with bigger balls to combat that?
Car racing..........thats as bad as sky sports channels showing darts and poker as sports.

Dave M
03-29-2010, 06:32 AM
Wow, too funny. Posting a thread on an international tennis forum, and getting a link back to the bogan aussie footy show :)

Thats interesting, have you seen the mythbusters episode where they filled some American footballs with helium, did controlled tests (i think in a NASA hanger-it was huge) and over 40 or 60 balls it averaged out the same, a myth to do with hangtime on a kick off feom a match where the ball seemed to "stay" in the air longer-good video

ronalditop
03-29-2010, 08:01 AM
Yeah lets make the balls faster, so Karlovic, Isner, Querrey and all the giants of the tour can win everything.

coloskier
03-29-2010, 08:18 AM
They have already made the balls heavier, compared to the 70's and 80's, and they also bounce higher. This was a concession to baseliners who did not like low bouncing balls because trying to hit topspin on a low bouncing ball with a western grip is an exercise in futility.