Carlos Alcaraz and Daniil Medvedev - Indian Wells 2023

Carlos Alcaraz and Daniil Medvedev agree on ‘grapefruit’ like tennis balls

Carlos Alcaraz has described balls being changed on the ATP tour as ‘tough’, backing up the likes of Daniil Medvedev, Stan Wawrinka and Taylor Fritz.

Alcaraz is currently playing in his first event in China, and spoke about the balls at the ATP 500 tournament in Beijing.

“I felt it since the first practice that I did here in Beijing. It is something tough but the tennis player has to used to that,” said Carlos Alcaraz. “They change balls in every tournament or almost in every tournament is a different ball. You have to get used to that.”

He continued, “It’s kind of different feeling when you are coming into a tournament, is like: ‘What is going to be the ball?’ It’s a question that I think every player is asking themself about the balls. Here (at the China Open) in just one game, two games, the ball becomes different from the new ones. It’s kind of different play, and you have to get used to that.”

The Spaniard will be hoping to book his semi-final spot when he plays Casper Ruud this afternoon, and join Medvedev who won his quarter-final match earlier today.

Despite having success in the Chinese capital, Medvedev has also made comments about the balls and compared them to ‘a grapefruit’, “As soon as you play some shots with them, they go very big, much (fluffier)… it becomes like a grapefruit.

“We’re basically playing 30-shot rallies because it’s almost impossible to hit a winner. With these balls, you have to be 100 percent on every point, until the last point of the match.”

It is not just the balls in Beijing that are being discussed, with three-time major winner Stan Wawrinka responding to an Instagram post from Belgian ATP player Zizou Bergs, who has recently been struggling with a wrist injury.

Wawrinka said, “I think it’s time to look carefully at the fact that many players are getting wrist injuries which could, possibly, be prevented by not changing every week of balls … @atptour @ptpaplayers.”

World No.8 Taylor Fritz followed suit by revealing that he had also been struggling with his wrists in the US Open hardcourt swing, “Have been dealing w [with] wrist issues since beginning of USO [US Open] series cause of ball changes. We went three different balls in three weeks.”

Inside the baseline…

It is rare that so many different players agree on one issue, suggesting that there is something to be considered by the ATP tour in future. Perhaps it could be an idea to have four types of balls in a year, one for each major tournament, rather than switching weekly as Taylor Fritz claimed was happening during the US Open hard court swing.

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Matthew Johns, Tennishead Writer, is a professional tennis journalist with a specialist degree in Sports Journalism. He's a keen tennis player having represented his local club and University plus he's also a qualified tennis coach. Matthew has a deep knowledge of tennis especially the ATP Tour and thrives on breaking big tennis news stories for Tennishead.