Saturday, October 06, 2012
Dunlop Grand Prix / Worst Tennis Ball Ever!
The Greater Cincinnati Indoor Tennis Association (GCITA) recently adopted the Dunlop Grand Prix (@DunlopSport) as the official ball of the 2012/13 Interclub season.
To put it succinctly, I have been playing tennis for a long time and the Grand Prix is the worst ball I have ever encountered.
Dunlop has created the heaviest feeling, hardest, and fuzziest ball that I've ever seen. These unfortunate characteristics make for a very unenjoyable game of tennis, no matter what level you play.
A 5.0 player on my team commented on how many times his forehand hit the tape due to the excessive weight of the ball. I find the Grand Prix particularly bad for serving. A powerful swing is usually greeted with shoulder-jarring impact.
Besides negatively impacting play, I believe that these balls are also dangerous. The weight, density and "fuzziness" are a recipe for shoulder, arm, and elbow injuries.
I suffered a shoulder injury last year and worked for several months to get rid of the pain and weakness. By the end of this summer, I was back to normal. At that point, the Grand Prix's made their appearance in my Tuesday night doubles group. Everyone immediately noticed how heavy the balls were. By the end of the first set, many players were complaining about the fuzziness and hardness of the balls. The next day my shoulder felt horrible.
If you despise these balls as much as I do, please send an email to the GCITA at email@example.com and demand a change. Be sure to tell your club owner as well.
In my opinion, Wilson U.S. Open (@WilsonTennis) and Penn Championship balls are superb. Perfect weight, density, and no fuzziness!
[Update: March 27, 2013] After taking a month off from singles play for my fatherly responsibilities; I returned to action on March 16th. (I had been playing doubles every Tuesday during my singles break; but fortunately I persuaded the group to ditch the Dunlop balls at the beginning of the session.) Anyway, I guess I had lost whatever Dunlop immunity I had built up. As my singles match wore on, I could feel my forearm and elbow breaking down. By the end of the match, I was serving at 50% speed. My forearm and elbow felt like someone had set a blowtorch to it; this pain lasted 3-4 days. I haven't played tennis since March 16th - singles or doubles. I have decided that as long as Dunlop balls are being used, I can no longer play singles in the GCITA. Thus, I will sadly be stepping down as captain; a postion I have held for 13 years or so. I will attempt to play GCITA doubles next session. Since the serving rotation is 1 every 4 (instead of 1 every 2); my arm and shoulder might be able to withstand the Dunlop assault. I am thoroughly convinced that Dunlop Grand Prix balls lead to shoulder and elbow injuries. Hopefully one day I will be proved right.