Rafael Nadal Isn’t Happy With The Balls Situation On The Tour
by Tom Gainey | October 2nd, 2014, 9:42 am

Following a 63, 64 win over German qualifier Peter Gojowczyk in the second round at Beijing, Rafael Nadal ripped into the balls the tournament uses which are made by Head, the official ball of the ATP.

“The ball is so bad here,” Nadal to the AP. “If you throw the ball on the floor, the bounce goes everywhere. Is not a question of winning or losing. I won in Rio (earlier this year) with this ball. I won tournaments with this ball.

“It’s just that we’re competing at the top level of our sport, tennis, and the ball is an important thing.

“This week we are playing with one ball. Next week we are playing with a different ball,” he said. “That’s dangerous for the shoulder, dangerous for the elbow.”

Nadal does have a point. For example the circuit does have several different balls manufacturers. In addition to Head balls at the ATP events, the French Open uses Babolat, Wimbledon uses Slazenger and the US and Australian Opens use Wilson.

Nadal is playing his first event in three months since a loss at Wimbledon on July 1. The former champion and 2013 finalist is 14-2 at the Beijing event.

“Coming back in this part of the season is completely different than if I am coming back on clay. I would be able to be in rhythm a little bit faster, a little bit easier,” Nadal said. “The positive thing is that for another year I’m going to finish in a high position in the ranking, winning a Grand Slam again. I’m going to enjoy the remaining few tournaments. For me this last part of the season obviously is important. Every tournament is important for me. At the same time I want to finish with a better feeling possible to start the new season with good tennis.”

Nadal will play Friday in the quarterfinals against qualifier Martin Klizan who advanced when Ernests Gulbis retired down a set and a break with a shoulder injury.

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14 Comments for Rafael Nadal Isn’t Happy With The Balls Situation On The Tour

Hippy Chick Says:

LOL Had to read this again,as i thought it said Rafa isnt happy with his balls?….

RZ Says:

I wonder if anyone’s done a study on whether different types of balls at different tournaments can cause injuries. My speculation (with no research, I admit) is that it would be minimal compared to the injuries caused by the strings the players use and the length of the season.

Tennis is a sport where each tournament can bring a change in time zone, weather, altitude, location, court surface, etc. Having different balls seems like less of an issue to me than the changes the above bring, but it’s also an easier one that you can standardize. I suspect that politics and sponsorships would get in the way of the ATP using one ball only.

Polo Says:

I can feel of rush of people typing their criticisms against Nadal for complaining about the balls.

Hippy Chick Says:

Polo lol true,by tomorrow morning 300 posts or more, we are nothing if not consistently predictibe,anything negative cant wait to pounce,anything positive like the Li Na flowers thread,nobody wants to know….

Jack Lewis Says:

” is that it would be minimal compared to the injuries caused by the strings”

When balls take weird bounces you have to react very quickly and do things with your whole body that are not part of the normal flow, I am sure that could create injuries. The real question is whether or not there are real issues with the balls, it would be interesting to hear from other players on this.

RZ Says:

@Jack Lewis – I agree, but doesn’t change in court surface and speed, indoor vs. outdoor, weather, and altitude all affect how the ball bounces too? Those also change from week to week.

In any case, I doubt that the ATP or WTA would do anything to standardize the balls used. Too much politics in dealing with different companies, different tournaments, etc. ATP has Head as the official ball, USTA/U.S. Open has Penn, Wimbledon has Slazenger, etc. I don’t see that changing any time soon.

Tennis Vagabond Says:

The players control their strings and racquets and are used to them, and know how they’ll work with their bodies.
Changing the balls every week, besides any defects in these balls, I would have to guess causes stress because your body and motion is not used to the weight/ feel.

RZ Says:

On a related topic, Robin Soderling has developed his own brand of tennis balls:

Humble Rafa Says:

I take two balls wherever I go. I might as well use them for consistency.

ATP is insane.

amadeus Says:

drama queen in Beijing

Hippy Chick Says:

Amadeus read Giles link as Andy Murray said the same thing,it wasnt just Rafa?

Dc Says:

Sports people have to play In a variety of conditions – weather , equipment, etc and it’s all part and parcel of the game. Cricketers have to adjust pitches across venues, the ball condition changes drastically as the game progresses; similarity other sports have their own nuances.
Though Nadal is a great champion , he never stops complaining..the blue clay, the balls, not feeling well..the list is endless.

Hippy Chick Says:

DC at the risk of repeating myself,its as i said to Amadeus Murray had an issue with the balls too jeez….

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