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The tennis balls you purchase for your match may be the most inexpensive part; but they are also essential to the game. Having the right tennis ball for your court changes everything. Since clay courts are different from hard and grass courts, the kind of ball you choose will be different. To help you find the best clay court tennis balls for your upcoming game, eight products have been listed below. You will also find some great buying tips to help you choose the right tennis balls for your needs.
The 8 Best Clay Court Tennis Balls
How do you select the top-tier tennis balls for a clay court? By analyzing their durability, performance, and popularity among other players. Although most clay court tennis balls have the same construction, you will find that each brand or type has subtle differences.
Need help deciding which kind of tennis ball to use or how to spot differences? This video explains it all:
With that in mind, here are the eight best clay court tennis balls:
Last update on 2023-10-30 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API
First up is the official ball of the ATP World Tour Finals, the Penn ATP World Tour tennis ball, using Optik felt technology to keep the ball bright for long periods of time. Even after long hours on the court, the felt stays clean-looking. Penn ATP World Tour Regular Duty tennis balls were designed for hard matches in ideal conditions. Out of the can, Penn ATP World Tour tennis balls have a load of bounce that stabilizes around 10 minutes into your tennis game. The balls have a moderate bounce and excellent durability, though they do not hold up as long as the Pro Penn Marathon balls (see below).
Overall, this is a durable tennis ball made for grueling matches. If you plan on training for tournaments any time soon, this is one of the best balls you can get for your money.
- Incredible durability, even throughout hard matches
- Consistent bounce
- Uses Optik felt to stay bright
- Excellent playability out of the can
- On the expensive side
Looking for a tennis ball with high levels of durability? The Pro Penn Marathon Regular Duty tennis ball is just what you are looking for. This company—and ball design—has been around for many years now and is a favorite among recreational and professional players. Pro Penn Marathon tennis balls work great on clay tours. The Optik felt makes the balls easier to see, too, even after long hours of playing.
In fact, this ball is arguably one of the best clay court tennis balls currently available. Sure, it may have fancy features or be designed specifically for clay courts, but it does a great job. The regular duty felt stays bright and holds up on a dry clay court. Unfortunately, the felt does tend to suck up moisture, so do not use these balls directly after a rainstorm.
The Pro Penn Marathon Regular Duty tennis ball is also easy to come by. You can find it online in single packs or in a money-saving bundle of 24.
- Exceptional durability
- Medium bounce
- Optik technology makes the balls easier to see
- The felt fluffs up after extended play
- Not ideal in humid conditions
Presenting the official ball of the Australian Open Grand Slam. The Dunlop ATP Regular Duty tennis ball has not been around for as long as other types on this list, but they are already among the favorites. The Dunlop ATP ball was designed for clay and indoor courts. These balls do well during rallies and even repeated serves. In other words, these tennis balls can take whatever you throw at them.
Some players will say that Dunlop balls are a bit smaller and lighter than other brands. However, that is because the felt is woven more tightly. This tennis ball also has high playability. It can be a little hard to handle at first, but you will get used to the difference in feel soon enough. Once you do that, you will love how this ball makes your shots more accurate and quick. Another plus is their durability; a single can will last you a long time.
Want to see this ball in play? Check out this video review:
That said, there are some conflicting views about these balls. Some people feel that they are a bit too cheap in sound and feel for clay courts. Others are ecstatic to have them. The best way to know if these balls are for you is to try them out.
- Pressurized tennis balls
- Made with Max Core and Durafelt HD Cloth technology from Dunlop
- Official ball of the Australian Open
- Fast and accurate during play
- Ball quality can be sporadic
- Feels too light or small for some people
Now you might be thinking, “Why would I use a ball designed for the US Open on a clay court? The US Open uses hard courts!” Just because it says that on the can does not mean this ball is strictly for a single kind of court. In fact, the Wilson US Open Regular Duty tennis ball is an all-court ball that functions exceptionally well on clay courts. Wrapping the balls is Tex Tech felt, a creation from Wilson that provides more flexibility and durability. While Tex Tech does work best on hard courts, it does not detract from clay court play.
This ball is approved by the ITF and USTA, due to its consistency during games. Out of the can, the ball has low bounce. Once it collects moisture, it tends to fluff up more easily and can lose some of the bounciness when compared to other balls on this list. However, in spite of the negatives to this ball, it is very durable and versatile.
- Reasonable price for high-performance quality
- Great speed and control
- Certified by USTA and ITF and used in the US Open
- Fluffs up easily
- Turns dark quickly
These are the “#1 Best-Selling Ball in America” for a reason. Penn Championship tennis balls are great for those who want to play for fun, not for competition. They are approved by both the ITF and USTA, but they are not made for longevity. The construction is not entirely durable; a single grueling match will be the end of your ball. But they are affordable and relatively decent quality for clay court play.
For those who are just beginning with tennis, the Penn Championship Regular Duty tennis balls are an excellent starting point. The balls are pressurized and compact. According to Penn, the “controlled fiber release” and natural rubber add to a natural feel and reduce shock. Though they do not have a ton of bounce, they can provide you with a bit more control. Other features include crack resistant seams and a soft core construction for better matches on clay.
- Great for recreational play
- Official USTA tennis ball
- Suitable for both hard and clay courts
- You really cannot go wrong for the low price
- Not designed for advanced gameplay
Out of all of these tennis balls, the Penn Court One regular duty ball is one of the best for recreational play. The ball is more or less identical to the Penn Championship model, except it is designed for easier control on a variety of courts. The Penn Court one uses a tightly interlocked and woven wool to keep the ball looking new, even after a long match. The seams are crack-resistant, as well. Although these are not the bounciest balls around, they are great for the clay court because of this.
Even after several matches, these tennis balls maintain a high level of visibility. The high quality felt also does not fluff up immediately. The Penn Court One Recreational tennis ball is approved by the USTA. Therefore, for a reasonable price, you get a consistent ball for your weekend games at the park (or a game of fetch with your dog).
- Affordable price for a durable tennis ball
- Reliable brand
- All court tennis ball
- Lightweight but with good control
- Not bouncy
Although the KEVENZ standard pressure tennis balls are not as well known of a brand as Babolat or Penn (the brand is better known for ping pong balls), they are decent quality for the money. These balls are made using high quality materials, including a stronger rubber liner to make the ball bounce more lightly and softly. Being that they contain standard pressure, you can use KEVENZ balls on clay or hard courts. They are designed to be incredibly durable and can be used for extended periods.
You get 12 balls in a single pack. The felt is soft to the touch but durable. As part of the 100% natural rubber on the inside, the ball sails through the air without issue and is capable of a strong rotation.
- Incredible durability—you get your money’s worth
- Deep seams for more longevity
- Designed with 100% natural rubber
- Provides consistent play
- Not designed for professional level game play
Being that these are some of the highest ranked tennis balls around, it is safe to say that the All Court tennis balls by Wilson are an inexpensive yet durable option. Featuring a USTA and ITF certification, these tennis balls have all the features you need to take them to any court. These balls are also the official ball of the Australian and US Open Grand Slam tournaments. This is excellent, because you probably do not want to have hundreds of balls between hard and clay court types.
What makes them great? These balls are pressurized and bounce consistently. They are also wrapped in Wilson’s signature Duraweave material. Wilson Prime All Court tennis balls do have a little less playability than the Wilson US Open Regular Duty balls, but their durability makes them a reasonable buy for any player on a budget.
- Extremely versatile ball that is usable on all court types
- Highly durable
- Pressurized ball
- Reasonably priced
- Good for every kind of tennis player, from beginner to professional
- They have a chemical smell
Buyer’s Guide: Choosing the Best Clay Court Tennis Balls
Playing on a clay court feels a little like playing indoors. The court is not as abrasive, and so you do not need tennis balls that are designed strictly for hard courts. Here are some other things to keep in mind when shopping around for clay court tennis balls:
Regular Duty vs Extra Duty
You will notice that all of the tennis balls in the list above are regular duty (unless it is an all court variety). This is related to the court you play on. Indoor and clay courts require regular duty tennis balls, while hard courts only use extra-duty balls. Almost every kind of tennis ball has two variations: regular or extra duty.
What’s the difference? Regular duty tennis balls have thinner rubber on the inside. Extra duty tennis balls are slightly heavier and more expensive. Extra duty balls are made with reinforced materials so that they can last longer on a hard court.
Tennis Ball Types
To make matters slightly confusing, there are four main types of tennis balls, as well as three tiers of quality. The four types include:
- Ball Type 1: Designed for faster surfaces, such as grass.
- Type 2: Standard surface ball for hard courts.
- Ball Type 3: Designed for slower surfaces, like clay.
- High Altitude or Type 4: Designed to travel faster and have a greater bounce.
For those who are recreational, this may not mean much. However, the ATP Official Rulebook states that the different tennis ball types must meet size and weight restrictions in order to be used in a tournament or professional match. For example, Type 3 balls can be 7.00-7.30 cm, but all others must be between 6.54-6.68 cm.
Aside from that, you can choose between the quality type, such as recreational, championship, or professional. These depend less on the subtle mass and size differences and more on your skill level. If you are a beginner, seek out balls made for recreational play. Those who are at an intermediate skill level can try using championship balls. Lastly, if you want control, power, and precision from a tennis ball, select one made for the professionals.
Pressurized vs Non-Pressurized
Another question you should ask yourself is if you would like pressurized balls. Tennis balls without any pressure—referred to as pressureless or non-pressurized—are often used for practice scenarios. However, you will only ever receive pressurized balls when playing in a tournament. For that reason, some people prefer to play with pressurized tennis balls consistently.
Non-pressurized tennis balls lack the hollow core of pressurized tennis balls. The solid core is filled with hard rubber, reducing bounce for a short while. The more you play with a pressure-less ball, the bouncier it gets, because the stiff rubber inside begins to soften up. Pressurized balls, on the other hand, are filled with pressurized air, which increases their bounce.
The downside to pressurized tennis balls is their short lifespan. For clay courts, either pressurized or non-pressurized tennis balls will work fine. This is a matter of preference.
Whenever you are on the market for new tennis balls, look into durability. You do not want to buy balls that are going to fall apart during the first round. Tennis balls are made with longevity in mind, but some brands are better than others. And, since tennis is a demanding game, no matter how durable the balls are made, they take a beating. This is especially true with pressurized balls.
If durability is your main focus, look for non-pressurized balls with a stronger felt on the outside, such as Wilson’s Duraweave.
The last thing you will want to consider when picking the best clay court tennis balls is altitude. In tennis, this refers to the bounciness of the ball. Choose a ball that is too bouncy, and you will have problems. Clay courts are known for their springiness. Balls on clay courts tend to bounce higher than they would on grass or hard courts. Therefore, you want to choose a ball with a low or medium altitude rating to balance out the bounce from the court.
Time to Play on Clay
Anyone who has played on a clay tennis court knows that it is a different feel than other courts. Because of that, you need a tennis ball that can also handle that surface. Now that you have seen some of the better options, you know what to shop for. Keep in mind that if you open a new can once you receive it, the air will cause a loss of playability. To maximize the durability and playability of your clay court tennis balls, keep the container sealed until it is time to play. Game on!