What’s the difference between the can of balls you get for $1.99 from Costco and a can of Tour quality balls you get get at the Pro Shop?
The rubber used to produce the tennis ball is at the core of the issue. Every brand from Wilson to Dunlop to Prince. has varying grades of balls, ranging from entry level and practice balls to tour balls used in professional tournaments. The entry level balls are composed of a rubber core combined with cardboard filler- these are the balls you can purchase for $1.99/can at the local grocer. The cardboard filler is used as a cost saving measure used in production, but cardboard is a poreous fiber and allows the air to escape from the ball over a very short period of time, usually with only one use. Tour quality balls have a full rubber core, devoid of any fillers, which means that the ball holds the air pressure longer and also gives the ball a more consistent bounce.
Gerald Sarmiento is a USRSA Master Racquet Technician of 18 years and co-owner of the Courtware Pro Shops, which operates pro shops at Nassau Racquet & Tennis Club in Skillman, NJ and Warren Health & Racquet in Warren, NJ.