Why Are Tennis Ball Cans Pressurized?

Why Are Tennis Ball Cans Pressurized

Tennis balls have pressure, why? Check the main reason of pressurizing tennis balls.

Why Are tennis ball cans pressurized? Tennis ball cans are pressurized so that they can provide an equilibrium pressure surrounding to the ball to prevent ball loosing its pressure and bounce. Thus, the pressurized cans helps extend the tennis balls shelf life after production until the day the cans would be opened to retrieve the ball.

Actually, the pressurized tennis ball container can be considered as tennis ball saver. It is because the pressurized cans can help extend the pressurized tennis ball shelf life for over 2 years when the can is unopened. Thus, on average how long do unopened tennis ball last is 2 years.

How Does Pressurized Cans Preserve The Tennis Balls

Pressurized tennis balls have internal pressure that should be maintained. Normally, the internal pressure of a tennis ball ranges from 14 psi to 16 psi. Since the internal ball pressure is higher than the outside environment, pressure would tend to move from a high pressure zone to a low pressure zone.

The balls are likely to leak their pressure to the surroundings making them flat and loose bounce. However, when the balls are put in a pressurized cans the cans have a pressure equivalent or even slightly higher than the tennis ball pressure.

As a result, the pressure outside the tennis ball in the cans being equal to the pressure inside the new balls prevent pressure loss of the balls. Thus, the overall shelf life of the balls is extended.

That is why unopened tennis balls in cans last longer than opened tennis balls. As long as the tennis balls have been opened, whether or not the balls are in use slowly result in pressure leak.

Further use of the ball increases the pressure loss of the ball during a match that is why the balls have to be changed in a tennis match.

New Tennis Balls Pressurized Cans Opened Before Match

Often, in a competitive tennis game at the start of every new game 6 new balls are used. So, for a pressurized tennis ball container with capacity of 3 balls, 2 cans have to be opened at the start of the game.

Opening the cans at the start of the game ensures that the game begins with a tennis ball that has maximum bounce. Balls with maximum internal pressure are more bouncy.

Newly opened tennis balls have:

  • More speed of movement when hit
  • Quicker spin response
  • Higher bounce rate

As the tennis ball experiences constant hitting, the rate at which pressure is lost to the environment is high. As a result, overtime the ball would loose its bounce and speed.

How long does unopened tennis ball last with constant hitting in a competitive game, tennis ball last about 2-3 hrs of constant hitting. In moderate play, the balls can last about 1-4 weeks and still have the good bounce.

Therefore, since the tennis balls would be loosing pressure on constant hitting, International Tennis Federation requires manufacturer to produce balls that can last about 9 games before the need to change the ball.

In fact, in a competitive game after the first 6 balls have been opened for a new game, the balls would be changed after playing 7 games then be used for warm ups, and thereafter the balls would be changed after every 9 games. Find out more on how long are tennis balls good for.

Pressurized Cans For Low And High Altitude Tennis Balls

Often, based on altitude tennis balls can be categorized as high altitude tennis balls or low altitude tennis balls. Manufacturer designed the tennis balls with slight variation to be able to suitably be used at various altitude.

In high altitudes, the air pressure of the air is low. So, air resistance to a ball in high altitude is much reduced and balls can move very fast. Thus, high altitude tennis balls have a much wider diameter to increase the ball surface area and increase air resistance around the tennis ball.

The aim of larger diameter is to make the ball move at a speed ideally equivalent to a ball moving in a low altitude areas.

Similarly, in low altitude places the air pressure is high. So, low altitude tennis balls have a much smaller diameter to reduce air resistance and make the ball move fast enough.

Thus, the pressurized cans for a low altitude tennis ball can be smaller in size since the balls are small compared to high altitude tennis balls with large diameters that need to be packaged in a much larger pressurized tennis ball container. All other properties of the tennis balls are similar for both low and high altitude tennis balls.

Pressureless Tennis Balls

Pressureless tennis balls do not have to be stored in a pressurized tennis ball container. It is because since the pressureless have no pressure in them, they don’t risk losing any pressure. Besides, pressureless tennis balls last much longer.

In a moderate play, pressureless tennis balls can last 1-3 years. However, the frequency of use may wear off the outer felt that may result in the need to replace the ball.

In comparison to the pressurized tennis balls, pressureless tennis balls are less bouncy but have much extended durability compared to a pressurized tennis ball.  

Frequently Asked Questions.

Why are tennis balls fuzzy?

Tennis balls are fuzzy because of the fuzz of the nylon felt outer layer. Tennis balls outer cover that is often yellow in color can either be of woolen felt or nylon felt. As tennis ball moves through air, the fuzz on the ball brings about a fuzzy effect as the fuzz tries to resist the air movement around it.

Why do tennis balls smells so good?

Tennis balls smells good when opened because the storage containers normally have chemicals such as the lid glue, and chemicals used in making the felt and rubber during tennis ball manufacturing. When these chemicals are released upon opening a new ball, a good smell can be smelled.

Why are tennis balls yellow?

Tennis balls are colored yellow to make them easily visible by the tennis players in a court and spectators who watch tennis game live or through their television. Yellow color is a standard color for tennis balls set by the International Tennis Federation for purposes of enhancing visibility of the ball.

Why are tennis balls bad for dogs?

Tennis balls are bad for dogs because the ball can easily choke a dog to death. Besides, the fuzz felt causes wear and tear of the dogs teeth as the dog tries to bite and grip the ball. Thereafter, worn out teeth can trigger open pulp and can result in poor feeding of a dog due to pain.


The main reason why tennis ball cans are pressurized is to prevent the ball from loosing its pressure to the outside environment. The pressurized tennis ball container acts as a tennis ball saver by providing an equilibrium pressure environment that deter pressure loss. In the end, balls stored in a pressurized tennis ball containers have much extended tennis ball life span and the stored ball maintains their high bounce, speed, and spin capabilities.

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