COLUMN: What color are tennis balls?


Austin Hronich

Photo by Austin Hronich.

by Austin Hronich, Photo Editor

Seems like an easy question to answer. Yellow.

There was a Twitter poll I saw the other day asking people to vote on the color dispute. And to my surprise, around 72 percent of people believed tennis balls are green.

I was shocked and started to second guess myself. I thought, “How could an object as simple as a tennis ball cause so much chaos over the color?” Something so simple and easy to agree on can flip a room of tennis players and fans.

After the poll, I hit the internet to find out once and for all what the true color of a tennis ball is.

“Yellow and white are the only colors approved by the ITF, and most balls produced are a fluorescent yellow known as optic yellow,” from the International Tennis Federation website.

The optic yellow color was first introduced in 1972 after research demonstrated the color was more visible on television. Makes sense. If the viewer can’t see it how can someone playing the sport see the ball?

The average serve speed of a professional tennis player is 184.1 km/hr. That translates to 115 miles per hour. The yellow color makes it stand out on the green or clay court.

Speaking of types of courts there are three; clay, grass, and hardcourt. Most colleges have hardcourts, while most professional venues have grass and clay.

So I ask you again, green or yellow?