Tennis balls come in two main color varieties – traditional yellow and luminous green. But are there any real differences between the green vs yellow balls? Here are 11 ways they compare:
- Weight – Both weigh the same at 2-2.5 ounces.
- Size – Identical regulation size of 2.57-2.7 inches in diameter.
- Bounce – Similar lively bounce off the court surface.
- Materials – Made of the same rubber and felt.
- History – Yellow balls came first in the 1500s, greens emerged in the 1970s.
- Speed – Both reach identical speeds off the racket up to 160+ mph.
- Serving Speed – Serves reach the same speeds for green and yellow.
- Records – No record speed differences between ball colors.
- Storage – Storing methods are identical for both colors.
- Brands – Top brands like Wilson and Penn make both varieties.
- Aging – Both lose pressure and fluff over time.
So are there any true differences between green and yellow tennis balls? In this article I’ll compare the balls in depth and highlight the contrasts.
Difference in Weight
The most significant comparison point is green and yellow balls weigh exactly the same. Both come in at 2-2.5 ounces on average to maximize playability. The ball color has no impact on weight or heft.
So whether you choose traditional yellow or neon green, you’ll get the same lightweight handling for precise shots.
Difference in Size
Along with identical weights, green and yellow tennis balls share the same regulation ball size as well.
Both measure between 2.57 inches to 2.7 inches in diameter as standard. Pro balls always meet these consistent specifications.
Again, the exterior ball color does not influence the regulation ball dimensions. Both green and yellow are the same.
Difference in Bounce
When it comes to bounce, green and yellow balls perform very similarly off the court too.
The high-pile fuzzy felt coating coupled with an internal rubber core gives balls of both colors an identical lively bounce.
So no matter which hue you choose, you can expect excellent rebound off the strings and court surface during play.
Underneath the different exterior tints, green and yellow tennis balls share the same interior construction.
Inside both ball types is a hollow rubber core encased in that recognizable fuzzy felt material.
The exact materials and assembly process remains consistent to achieve uniform playability across colors.
History of Both Balls
While superficially different, green and yellow balls originated from the same historical origins.
Tennis balls were white or black back in the 1500s. The iconic yellow balls emerged in 1972 for easier visibility on color television broadcasts of major tournaments.
Then optic green balls arrived in the 1970s as an alternate color option. But underneath, the same materials and play characteristics persisted from earlier tennis history across both colors.
Speed They Travel
When struck by a racket, green and yellow tennis balls reach equivalent speeds during play.
Both colors fly off the racket at identical velocities exceeding 160 mph on blistering serves from Serena Williams or Roger Federer.
So whether opting for green or yellow, both will travel at the same lightning fast paces across the net.
How Fast is a Serve?
Relating to speed, serves reach the same maximum velocities regardless of ball color chosen.
The world record tennis serve clocks in at 163 mph, and was achieved with a traditional yellow ball.
But green balls can reach an identical serve speed given identical construction. The exterior tint does not affect the physics.
So for max serve speed, green and yellow are evenly matched.
What is the World Record Speed of Both?
Given that they are structurally the same, the speed records are identical between green and yellow balls.
As mentioned above, yellow balls hold the 163 mph record. But green balls have achieved the same mark.
The ball color simply does not factor into the speed equation. Both boast identically fast serving records.
How Both Compare to Balls from Other Sports
Compared to balls from other sports, green and yellow tennis balls are more alike than different:
- Basketball – Much larger and bouncier than a fuzzy tennis ball.
- Baseball – Smaller and less fuzzy than a high-pile tennis ball.
- Ping Pong – Tiny lightweight ping pong balls couldn’t be more different.
No matter the color, tennis balls are unmistakable for their compact fuzzy size, lightweight, and bright hues.
The Best Brands of Balls
Leading tennis brands including Wilson, Penn, and Dunlop manufacture top performing balls in both the traditional yellow and modern green colors.
Recreational players can choose color based on preference, knowing either will offer consistent quality.
For pros, endorsement deals often dictate which hue they play with, but performance remains equal.
Best Ways to Store or Maintain the Balls
To maintain freshness, pressurized cans are ideal for storing both green and yellow balls to maintain bounce.
The pressure vessel keeps the internal rubber core and felt exterior in ideal playing condition over time.
As balls age, the colors fade equally, losing vibrancy after repeated hard impacts.
How a New Ball Compares to an Old One
When fresh out of the can, new balls offer the liveliest play experience with bright intact felt and consistent bounce.
Over repeated hard impacts, the felt of both colors will fluff down and the balls lose pressure equally. Old balls play “dead.”
While the yellow dye may resist fading slightly better initially, both end up equally worn over time.
So in summary, beneath the different exterior tints, green and yellow tennis balls are functionally identical in terms of weight, size, materials, bounce, speed, and ideal storage. The color is simply a matter of aesthetic preference!