Richard Gasquet - Roland Garros 2021

Richard Gasquet joins players unhappy with ‘supermarket’ balls

Richard Gasquet is the latest player to have commented on his dislike for new ATP balls, echoing the likes of Daniil Medvedev who has suggested that they have contributed to increased wrist and elbow injuries.

Gasquet has played on the ATP tour since 2002 and has experienced a lot of changes over the years, but he is clearly not a fan of the new Dunlop balls.

“We have a problem since COVID, all the balls are slower there is no longer any doubt about it. I’ve been saying it for two years, it’s nothing new.”

“As soon as they got that big (mimics a balloon), I said to my trainer, ‘What is this s***?’ Now people are starting to talk about this everywhere, but I’m sure they are not like before.”

He added, “So they were light, fast, it was one of my strengths, I was able to control them very well. Now, it doesn’t matter the brand and with only a couple of exceptions, its quality is close to being supermarket.”

The French veteran has echoed the views of former No.1 Daniil Medvedev, who has described the balls as ‘apples’ and suggested they have increased wrist and elbow injuries on the tour.

“Last two games before they change the balls, the balls are like apples,” said Medvedev. “They are so, so big. You’re kind of playing like padel.”

Medvedev continued, “In Rotterdam, when doubles players came to me and started talking about balls and started talking that everyone has problems with their elbow, wrist, from doubles players, they think it’s because of the balls. I’m like, ‘wow, so I’m not the only one’.

“Now I see [Holger] Rune, [Stefanos] Tsitsipas, who else, [Sebastian] Korda, all wrist, elbow, shoulder. So I think that these balls are not good for hard courts. They get very fluffy, and as I say, it’s a big shock to play them with your racket.”

Andy Murray also made comments about the ‘flat’ balls at the Australian Open, after his marathon second round match with Thanasi Kokkinakis, “It felt like there was no pressure in the ball, flat almost.”

“It’s just difficult to hit winners once you’re in the rallies. I think there was a 70-shot rally yesterday or multiple 35, 40-shot rallies, which is not normal.”

Ironically, all three of these players have had success this year, with Medvedev winning three consecutive tournaments, Gasquet lifting his first title since 2018 in Auckland and Murray reaching a final in Doha.

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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.