How Does the Temperature of a Tennis Ball Affect the Bounce?

How Does the Temperature of a Tennis Ball Affect the Bounce?
  • Cold Weather – Very Low Bounces
  • Mild Weather – Decent Bounces, Not Overly Lively
  • Hot Weather – Very Bouncy and Lively

   Your Guide

Gavin Davison   Gavin Davison

Did you know that the temperature can actually affect how a tennis ball bounces?

I’ve had a fair bit of experience with this having played tennis all over the world.

But for those that haven’t really played in various locations, the impact that temperature can have on the ball would surprise you!

For example, I grew up in the United Kingdom, and let me tell you – those balls would barely GET OFF THE GROUND in the WINTER TIME .

But I’ve also played college tennis in South Carolina, where the temperature was always hot towards the end of season and the balls would bounce ALL OVER THE PLACE.

For a relatively short guy like myself, this could often be a bit of a nightmare!

Perhaps I should have kept my career going on home soil in the freezing cold?

Anyway, as you can no doubt see already, the temperature definitely impacts how the ball bounces, and it can completely change the game.

What You Can Expect for Each Condition

Since tennis is a sport that is played all over the world, it goes without saying that it is played in different temperatures.

That’s why tournaments in Spain are quite different from tournaments in the UK!

With that said, it’s important that you understand how the temperature will actually impact the bounce of the ball, so here you are:

1) Cold Weather

As I’ve touched upon above, cold weather is the absolute worst condition possible if you want the ball TO BOUNCE.

When temperatures get low, the ball will barely react to the surface and any heavy groundstrokes will have no impact whatsoever.

That’s why cold weather is also well suited to players that hit the ball very flat, or for those that like to slice the ball a lot of the time.

Since the ball won’t be bouncing anyway, there is no need to try and hit excessive spin, as all of the venom will be taken out of the ball once it hits the surface.

2) Mild Weather

In my personal opinion, mild weather is the best for tennis.

You won’t be dealing with freezing temperatures, you won’t be sweating uncontrollably, and the bounce on the ball is just right.

In addition to this, not only is mild weather a COMFORTABLE CONDITION to play in, but it prevents the ball from springing wildly once it hits the court surface.

This obviously benefits some more than others, which was actually a major complaint from Rafael Nadal during the 2020 French Open, which was played during the Autumn instead of early Summer. 

Then again, it can’t have affected him that much, as he still smoked Novak Djokovic in the final to win yet another French Open title.

3) Hot Weather

There are many players that prefer hot temperatures over the other two categories.

In hot weather, the ball will bounce much higher than usual, and to be perfectly honest, it’s easier to get longer rallies in hot weather.

This is great for players that are still learning the game, as they can then build on their strokes and develop confidence in their game.

Personally, while I don’t mind playing in hot weather, it’s not my favorite. It can sap your energy and all of those high balls can be pretty exhausting.

How You Can Adjust for Each Condition

While you can’t control the temperature, of course, you can certainly control how you respond to it.

Depending on the conditions, you might need to change your game in order to play the best, or rather the most effective tennis that you can.

On that note, let me show you some different ways you can adapt based on the temperature:

I) Cold Weather

When it’s cold, just remember that the ball won’t react well to the court surface and it won’t really bounce either.

For that reason, if you are someone that likes to hit with a lot of topspin, you might want to consider flattening out the ball.

This will ensure that your opponent doesn’t get a sitter at the other end. Alternatively, you could always start to throw in a FEW MORE SLICES, as slice shots will stay super low during cold weather.

II) Mild Weather

Mild weather provides a Happy Medium for players of all styles.

As I’ve stated previously, the balls won’t bounce super high in mild weather, but they also won’t bounce ridiculously low either.

For that reason, if you do hit heavy, you can continue as you normally would.

But if you are a flat hitter, you might want to consider mixing things up with heavy spin, more slice, and even come to the net to volley at times.

Mild weather pretty much suits all strokes, which is why it’s my preferred condition to play in.

III) Hot Weather

Finally, hot weather can be just as problematic as cold weather.

Here you’ll notice that the balls are bouncing way higher than usual, which causes many issues in itself. In terms of how you can adapt, you might want to drop back in the court to avoid making contact above your shoulder level.

You may also want to RAMP IT UP in terms of topspin as the ball will react incredibly well to the surface, especially on clay or hard courts.

And when it comes to serving, you can also add some topspin to your second serves since it will kick off the court nicely.

Conclusion

So there you have it – the way that a tennis ball bounces in all temperatures.

I hope that after reading this you are feeling more comfortable with your understanding of how tennis balls will REACT FOR EACH CONDITION.

And at the same time, I hope you can apply the tips I’ve mentioned about adapting your game to suit each temperature. 

Has this article helped? Do you have anything you’d like to add? Let us know in the comments.

What Is a Body Serve in Tennis?

What Is a Body Serve in Tennis?
  • A serve targeted at the body of the opponent
  • Why? To jam them up and prevent a comfortable return
  • When? Whenever you feel like mixing it up

   Your Guide

Gavin Davison   Gavin Davison

In tennis, you’ll often hear people speaking of hitting a ‘tee serve’ or a WIDE SERVE.

However, the body serve tends to get overlooked.

But in my opinion, it’s a serving option that is ideal in order to attack your service games and mix up the play when required.

How is it done?

Well

basically, you aim your serve towards the body of the opponent.

The objective here is to jam up the opponent so they cannot take an easy swing at the ball. 

That’s the issue with tee or wide serves – if you don’t hit them well enough your opponent gets a nice shot on the ball.

But with a body serve, you’ve got a little more MARGIN FOR ERROR.

As long as your serve gets somewhere within your opponent’s hitting circle, they won’t have full extension on the ball and therefore a weaker return should be coming your way.

This isn’t always the case, of course, but it’s worth a shot.

In terms of how to get the most out of your body serves, I’d like to share some secrets below.

How to Hit an Effective Body Serve

Above all else, a body serve needs to do exactly that – it has to go in towards the body of the opponent, which causes problems, just ask Roger Federer!

If not, as I’ve stressed above, your opponent’s could easily neutralize the return and before you know it, you are on the BACK FOOT.

The good news is that I have a few bits of advice that should prevent that from happening:

1) Add Some Slice to the Ball

This is my favorite way to hit a great body serve, and it’s something I tend to use when playing both singles and doubles.

By slicing the ball, you can create some movement in the air, and some great bend on the ball after it contacts the court surface.

This alone makes the return more difficult to hit, in the same way that a cricket or baseball player ADDS SPIN to their delivery to get the batter to miss.

And if you choose to slice the ball, you’ve also opened up some additional options.

Should you aim the ball to the left of the opponent’s body, the ball will be swinging into their backhand (for a right hander).

If you aim to the right, the ball will be swinging into the forehand, but at the same time, they will need to MOVE FORWARD to prevent the ball from getting too far beyond their strike zone. 

2) No Slice? Hit Flat and Hard

It goes without saying that some people just aren’t comfortable with slicing the ball.

That’s completely understandable, and if that’s you, then you’ve always got the option of increasing the pace and going STRIGHT FOR THE BODY.

While slice is designed to add movement to the ball in the air and off the ground, which makes it harder to hit, pace is designed to reduce the time for the opponent to react.

Which one is more effective?

Who’s to say really, as it depends on what the opponent feels more uncomfortable in dealing with.

Just bear in mind that if you go hard and flat to the body, if your opponent does manage to connect cleanly on the ball, it will be coming back down your end at pace.

At the same time, it might be the case where your opponent cannot handle the pace and you get an easy point on the board.

3) Rotate Your Grip Further Around the Handle

In a traditional serve, you will be using the continental or ‘chopper grip’ as some people call it.

That’s the grip you use when shaking hands with your racket, at least that’s the easiest way to comprehend what the grip entails.

However, if you actually rotate your grip further around the handle, which opens up the racket face, you can hit even MORE SLICE THAN USUAL.

Sure, this makes the ball slightly tougher to time, but the more you practice this, the better you will get.

How does that relate to a body serve you ask?

Well, if you can increase the slice that you add to the ball while aiming to the left of the opponent’s body, it will be swerving in towards their body IN A BIG WAY.

This increases the movement of the ball in the air, and it makes the return considerably harder to time. 

4) Toss the Ball Wider Than Usual

In addition to changing your grip to hold it further around the handle, you can also toss the ball a little wider than usual.

Most coaches will tell you that you should be making contact with the ball at 1 o’clock (referencing a clock face), and I agree, this is ideal for most serves.

However, if you want to add more slice, you can toss the ball further away and make contact with the ball at 2, 2:30, and even 3 if you want to go a little MORE EXTREME.

This in itself forces you to hit around the ball to get it into the opposite box.

And YES, you guessed it, this means you must slice the ball pretty aggressively to get the desired in-swing. 

Why You Should Use a Body Serve

People use body serves for different reasons.

Personally, I like to use body serves with some added slice to ensure I have a decent first serve percentage in matches.

However, others like to do these serves to shake up an opponent, as is done in other sports like baseball and cricket mentioned earlier.

But above all, I believe it’s a serve that everyone should keep in their back pocket to add variety to their game. And who knows, you might just improve the success rate for service games!

Do you have anything to add? I’d love to hear about it in the comments!

Which Tennis Star Married Actress Brooke Shields in 1997?

Andre Agassi
  • Andre Agassi – eight-time Grand Slam champion

   Your Guide

Gavin Davison   Gavin Davison

I can remember when I was a kid, watching Agassi on TV against guys like Sampras, Federer, and many others.

I was mesmerized by the way this guy played the game, and to be honest, I still am when I look back at HIS HILIGHTS.

Of course, as a kid, I was only concerned with what I saw him doing on a tennis court. I didn’t really dive into his personal life until later, which is when I discovered that he actually married Brooke Shields back in 1997.

Full Disclosure – I had absolutely no idea that he was married prior to Steffi Graf!

And for those that don’t know, Brooke Shields was an actress and model, something that obviously appealed to the young Andre Agassi.

But while they got married young, things weren’t to last, and they separated just two years AFTER GETTING MARRIED.

With that said, they actually started dating back in 1993, so they clearly had a long-lasting relationship before the firecracker marriage. 

The two obviously led quite different lives, with Agassi competing all over the world and Shields working on a plethora of movies at the time.

And from what I’ve read, they have both led happy and successful lives since the divorce.

Shields’ Life Beyond Andre Agassi

Since the divorce in 1999, it would be fair to say that Brooke Shields has been pretty successful. She remarried in 2001, just two years after meeting her current spouse, Chris Henchy.

The couple have two children together, and they live in Greenwich Village, New York. To this day, Shields has continued to work in Film, Fashion, and she has continued to Model.

Of course, these professions have taken her down a path that is entirely different to the one that Agassi has walked since. 

And while I’m by no means a qualified relationship expert, I believe she has been happy and successful since the divorce in 1999. 

Agassi’s Life Beyond Brooke Shields

Andre Agassi was 29 years of age when he married Brooke Shields, so it’s not like he rushed into marriage TOO YOUNG.

However, as history now shows us, he was to divorce Shields just two years later at the age of 31.

Interestingly, just like Brooke Shields, Agassi remarried just two years later, this time to a tennis player, and a very successful one at that!

He married Steffi Graf in 2001 at their home in Las Vegas, and it’s fair to say that this was probably the most powerful tennis marriage in history.

By powerful, I mean the talents and success that the couple shared.

Agassi alone managed to win 8 Grand Slams, which was significant and still is TO BE FAIR.

This might be overshadowed by the numbers posted by guys like Djokovic and Federer since, but 8 slams cannot be taken away or overlooked.

However, his wife Steffi Graf managed to win 22 Grand Slams, a simply sensational achievement. The couple also has TWO KIDS together, and I can only imagine the tennis-playing genes that these kids must have!

But interestingly, Agassi and Graf aren’t pushing their kids to play the game, which is admirable in a way. 

More on Agassi’s Tennis Playing Days

Now that I’ve discussed Agassi’s relationship with Shields, and what both of them have done since this marriage, I’d like to take a trip down memory lane.

And by memory lane, I mean I’d like to discuss the amazing achievements of Andre Agassi on a tennis court:

8 Grand Slam Titles

During his impressive career, Agassi managed to win 8 Grand Slam events.

This included 4 Australian Open titles, 1 French Open, 1 Wimbledon, and 2 US Open titles.

He rose to the top of the game at the same time as other legends such as Pete Sampras, and later, Roger Federer.

This meant that he was competing in an extremely high-level era, which makes his 8 Grand Slams all the more impressive.

Of these 8 Grand Slam titles, he also managed to win the Australian Open on his very first attempt back in 1995.

The reason he was able to win so many top-level events was down to his sensational ball striking, competitive mentality, and amazing return skills.

This served him well throughout his career, hence the success he obviously enjoyed.

Career Grand Slam

Agassi was also a career Grand Slam winner, which means that he managed to hold all 4 Grand Slams at some point in time.

This is an achievement that has also been matched by guys like Nadal, Federer, and Djokovic, which puts him in quite an exclusive club, to say the least.

Many thought that Agassi wouldn’t be able to do this given HOW FLAT HE PLAYED THE BALL, something which served as quite a hindrance to Agassi when it came to the clay-court season. 

However, he put the critics to bed and achieved this during the 1990s, even if he did lose in a number of Grand Slam finals along the way.

First Man to Win All Grand Slams on Different Surfaces

The career Grand Slam wasn’t a breakthrough achievement. Now, that’s not to say that this isn’t an enormous achievement – it is.

However, he wasn’t the first man to achieve SUCH A FEAT.

With that said, he holds the record for being the first man to win Grand Slams on all 4 surfaces, and this record will never be broken.

After all, he was the first to do it, and you can only be first one time!

For me, the most impressive thing about this was that he was able to win the French Open back in 1999.

Given the way in which he played, I never thought he would win the French, but he adapted and ultimately lifted the title.

Again, this showed how versatile his game was, and how determined Agassi was in general to become the very best player he could be. 

And finally, if you have a chance to read his autobiography, I highly recommend it!

Enjoy the article? Have any other interesting facts on Agassi or Shields? Let us know down below.

When to Switch Sides in Tennis

When to Switch Sides in Tennis
  • Every two games in regular play
  • Every six points played in a tie-break
  • At the end of a set depending on the score

   Your Guide

Gavin Davison   Gavin Davison

Have you ever noticed that tennis players don’t always play on the same side of the court?

If you’ve watched professional events, or even if you play competitively yourself, you’ll know what I’m talking about.

While there are three main situations in which players switch sides in tennis, the underlying reasons aren’t as obvious as you might think.

Sides are switched due to:

  • Weather Conditions
  • Court Conditions, and
  • Also for Spectator Viewing Reasons (although that’s not technically as important).

So, coming back to the three points raised above, these are the MAIN SITUATIONS in which you’d switch sides in a game of tennis.

In order to ensure you have a concrete understanding of each situation, I’d like to go into a bit more detail now.

A Breakdown of Each Situation

Changing sides in tennis is PERFECTLY NORMAL.

In fact, it’s a requirement in accordance with the ITF regulations for the game.

You can check out information on these rules and others on the main USTA website – a great resource if you are ever unsure on something to do with tennis in general.

With that said, let me cover the three main situations right now.

1) Every Two Games

When playing competitively, you will change sides after every two games. Now, the reasons for this might be a little More Specific than you first think.

Not only do players change every two games so that things are fair concerning court and weather conditions, but it is specifically two games so that each player gets a turn serving before switching.

Now, this is slightly different in doubles, where you pick an end to serve at and you’ll be serving at that end until the set is over. 

But in singles play, you will change every two games, meaning you’ll play a service game on either side each time. The only contrast here is where a set first begins.

In this case, players switch sides after the first game has been played.

And then they will switch on every two games after this. Some people find it easier to explain this as ‘changing on every odd number’.

For example, players change sides at 2-1, 3-2, 4-3, and so on and so forth. 

As you can see, these numbers add up to make an odd number.

2) Every Six Points in a Breaker

One of the hardest things for new players to learn is how to actually score in a tie-break.

Not only this but changing sides during a breaker is completely different from the way in which it is done during regular play. In a breaker, one server will kick things off and serve one point.

From here on in, players will each serve for two points until the breaker is over.

But rather than changing sides every two points, which would get a LITTLE RIDICULOUS, players now switch sides after every 6 points. 

Theoretically, this can continue indefinitely, as breakers need to be won by two clear points by either player. With that said, it’s pretty rare that breakers will EXTEND LONGER than one or two changes of ends.

Now, at the end of a breaker, you will then switch sides to play the first game of the next set.

And since this is the first game, you then switch straight back. I know, a little confusing, but that’s the way it is.

3) At the End of a Set

This is also a slightly confusing one, so let me clear it up.

Whether you switch sides at the end of a set or not depends on how many games were played.

Remember what I said about the games totaling an odd number before?

Well, that’s exactly how it works for the end of a set too.

If a set ends on an odd total, such as 6-3, 6-1, or 7-6, you will change sides.

For any other outcomes, you will stay at the same side at which you finished the set, and then change only once the first game has been completed. 

Bonus – After the Coin Toss

In professional tournaments, you will often see the umpire perform a coin toss before the players go back to warm up.

One of the players will make a heads or tails call, and if they are correct, they get a choice.

They can choose whether to serve or receive, or they can choose which end they want to play the first game on.

Whichever decision they make, the opponent can then choose on the other factor.

For example, if I won a coin toss and chose to serve, you could then choose to take the opposing side to the one we will warm up on.

This is actually quite a TACTICAL MOVE from players. If I chose to serve, you might then put me to serve at the end where I will be serving into the sun.

Of course, that makes it awkward for me and you might have a better chance to win the first game. With this said, coin tosses are only performed if there is an umpire present.

If one isn’t present, you will then proceed to spin your racket to determine who wins the toss.

The way in which this is done doesn’t really matter in all honesty, as one player or pairing will still get the chance to switch sides after the warm-up.

Final Thoughts

I hope that the information above has helped you to feel more comfortable with when to SWITCH SIDES in tennis.

But if you are still feeling a little uncertain, I highly recommend that you watch some competitive tournaments on TV.

You’ll see all of this in action, and you can even take some notes to help out. I must confess when I was learning to score and when to switch sides as a kid, that’s exactly what I did! 

Find the article useful? Have anything you’d like to add? Let us know in the comments.

How Much Do Tennis Shoes Weigh?

  • Men’s shoes – 2.5 – 3.0lbs for a pair
  • Women’s shoes – 2.0 – 2.50lbs for a pair

   Your Guide

Gavin Davison   Gavin Davison

As you can see above, men’s tennis shoes are slightly heavier than women’s tennis shoes.

In short, that’s because on average, male tennis players are stronger and heavier, which is why the shoes will be slightly bulkier for added support.

Of course, that’s not to say those female tennis players aren’t strong, but THE DEMANDS on the body, and subsequently the feet are less than male players.

And while performing my research, I found that:

Male tennis shoes generally fall into the 2.5 to 3.0lb range in terms of weight, while

Female tennis shoes are generally between 2.0 and 2.5lbs.

This would make sense, but of course, there are DIFFERENT BRANDS and TYPES of shoes that can fall outside of this range. 

In my experience, it’s better to use tennis shoes that are as lightweight and durable as possible.

The lighter the shoes, the LESS ENERGY you need to expel to lift your legs and move around the court.

As for durability, this speaks for itself. But let me get a little more specific now on how the weight of your shoes can impact your game.

The Weight of Your Shoes – It Matters!

As I’ve stated above, you should be looking to use tennis shoes that are as lightweight as possible.

I’ve always found that Nike shoes are some of the lightest available, which is why they are so popular with both amateur and professional players.

However, let me detail some of the main reasons right now as to why lightweight shoes are MORE PREFERABLE than others:

Speed Around the Court

In short, you need to be quick around the court in tennis, it’s that simple.

Being QUICK means you will have a decent Defensive Game, you will get plenty of balls in court, and you’ll become a bit of a nightmare for your opponents.

But in order TO MAXIMIZE how quick you can be around the court, you should be looking to use lightweight shoes.

Heavy shoes, even if it’s just a Slight Difference, can SLOW YOU DOWN in terms of how quick you are off the mark and how RAPIDLY you get around the court, in general. 

And if you think about the most successful guys on tour, Djokovic, Medvedev, and Zverev, they are all pretty speedy, and I GUARANTEE YOU that they are using lightweight shoes.

When I say speedy, I mean how quickly they can

  • Get Across the Baseline
  • Charge Up to Drop Shots, and
  • Scramble the Ball Back When They Are Put On the Defensive

Check out this video of Djokovic’s defensive skills to see what I mean:

Less Energy Expelled 

In tennis, EVERY CALORIE COUNTS, let me tell you!

When you are involved in a Grueling Match, your energy will get sapped, and you’ve got to dig deep if you are to come out on top.

But there is a way that you can do yourself a favor on this topic – just get yourself some Lightweight Tennis Shoes.

The lighter the shoes, the less effort you need to put in when gliding around the court, and this will BENEFIT YOU GREATLY during those long matches.

And just to put it in perspective, thinking of calories burned, tennis can often burn upwards of 500-600 calories per hour.

That means that if you were to play a match that lasts over 3 hours, you are almost Burning Your Daily Calorie Intake in ONE SESSION.

That’s pretty considerable when you sit back and think about it, but since we’re not talking about diet here, I’ll simply state that the shoes you wear CAN HELP OUT massively in this area.

Light on Your Feet

Being ‘light on your feet’ is something that tennis coaches will often say to their students, myself included.

Of course, you can’t change your body weight on the spot and INSTANTLY be lighter on your feet.

This is a figurative way of letting you know that you need to be on your toes and ready for action at all times.

In a standard ready position, you’ll be on the balls of your feet and then you’ll perform a split-step as the opponent hits the shot.

This is your best bet for chasing after the ball AS QUICKLY AS POSSIBLE.

And since you’ll be putting in a little spring in your step here, you won’t be doing yourself any favors by using shoes that fall outside of the recommended weight range.

However, with lightweight shoes, you’ll:

  • Effortlessly Bounce up and Down on the Balls of Your Feet, and
  • I Have a Feeling That the Coach Will Be Pleased With What They See!

Recommended Lightweight Tennis Shoes

Over the years, I’ve experimented with all kinds of tennis shoes.

I’m talking about brands, court-specific shoes, and so much more. But throughout my many years of playing, I’ve also come back to the same two brandsNike or Adidas.

These guys are still the best in the business when it comes to performance tennis shoes. Their shoes aren’t cheap, no, but you get what you pay for in this world.

To this day, I still play in Nike or Adidas tennis shoes whether I am practicing or competing.

Nike is arguably Slightly Lighter than Adidas, on the whole, but they aren’t as durable.

But if you’re not overly bothered about buying a new pair of shoes quite often, Nike might be the best route to go down.

If you’re like me, and you want to use quality shoes while getting the most for your money, Adidas is always a good call.

And without bashing the brands too much, I would steer clear of brands such as Wilson, Babolat, or K-Swiss, mainly because the shoes are heavier than others. 

Have anything you’d like to add? Let us know in the comments!

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