I’m far from a tennis ball connoisseur. As I mentioned in a previous review, my basic criteria is that a good ball is one that has no impact on the outcome of a match. Don’t pop or prematurely bald and we’re good.
However, I do play with some guys who are quite particular about the brand and model they use. So much so that they believe they need to alter their playing styles just to accommodate the idiosyncrasies of the ball. They may even put the blame on a shoddy performance at the feet of an unwelcome ball. There are many unflattering words I use to describe such a discerning player, but for the sake of civility I’ll just call them picky.
But I have to believe that even the most finicky of players would have no trouble playing with the X-Ball Championship. When I profiled the company’s Tour ball last fall, I was impressed by the lively bounce and impressive lifespan. I also really appreciated that the uniqueness of the ball made it very easy to distinguish in a crowded tennis center with lots of balls scattered on neighboring courts and behind the curtains (it’s the little things).
The Championship is the regular-duty alternative to the Tour, with a slightly lower price of $2.49 per can. Otherwise the two have identical construction, including the Magna Rubber compound designed to the give ball its durability and responsiveness.
The Championship is still considered an all-court ball, and I actually tried it out on a hard court. After two hours of play with pretty lengthy rallies, the balls were still in fine shape. They still seemed to have so much life in them, I kept them to use as practice balls—something I don’t often do after a long match.
I also got a few cans of the Championship in the hands of some of our racquet testers and the feedback has been pretty positive. There was one complaint that the graphics wore off pretty easily—not a problem I encountered—but they all appreciated the liveliness and feel at contact. One tester and his playing partner even did a side-by-side trial with a well-known brand, which they found felt like “low-bouncing rocks” in comparison to the X-Ball.
If you haven’t been satisfied by what the big manufacturers have been producing, or are just looking to try a new ball, the X-Ball Championship is definitely worth a demo. You can buy it directly from X-Ball, Holabird Sports, or Amazon.