TENNIS.com gear editor Justin diFeliciantonio and his technical advisers answer your equipment questions each day. Click here to send in a question of your own.
Hi Justin, I have a question about extending the life of my pressurized tennis balls. I’m a 3.5-level player, love the game, but I’m only able to get out to the courts about once a week. Because of this, and the fact that I don’t hit all that hard, the balls are always going flat before they lose their tread. So I’m regularly forced to open up new cans, even though my older balls are, pressurization aside, perfectly fine. Are there ways to re-pressurize balls that have gone dead? Or ways to keep balls from going dead?—Ulrich R.
Unfortunately, Ulrich, outside the pressurized confines of the can, a tennis ball will inevitably go flat. As I wrote a few weeks back, a ball is not air tight; and so when exposed to the ambient atmosphere, it begins to leak internal air pressure that’s crucial to its stiffness, bounce, and feel. After about three to five weeks of leakage, the ball isn’t lively enough to sustain quality play. Regrettably, this depressurization happens regardless of material wear.
However, just because total depressurization is inevitable doesn’t mean it can’t somewhat be forestalled. Toward this end, check out the Tennis Ball Saver, by Gexco Enterprises, or Unique’s Restore T.B.S. Both products, which retail under $20, feature special canisters that can store used balls in pressurized conditions, which, according to the companies, can extend ball life.
And while they’re pricey, you might also be interested in taking a look at the Green Tennis Machines, by reBounces (MSRP: $2700 to $4800). The company claims that GTMs, unlike cheaper canister products, can recharge dead balls back to their standard bounce height in just three days. What’s more, the various devices can hold anywhere from 150 to 400 balls, making them ideal for facilities and teaching pros.