Balls to the wall

Wednesday September 1st, 2010

A prominent coach, who requested anonymity, believes the tennis balls are one of the important untold stories at this year's U.S. Open. (AP)

This is more than a little “Inside Baseball," but I was talking to a prominent coach yesterday who, while requesting anonymity, suggested that a great untold story is the weight of the balls. They’re a lot lighter than they were in Cincy and Toronto. At the same time, the courts here are considerably slower. He noticed that the flat, hard hitters -- Robin Soderling, for instance -- are having a hard time keeping the balls in the court and making a lot of errors hitting long. They’ll need to reign in their strokes if they intend on playing into Week 2. In the case of Rafael Nadal, it will be tougher get the ball past him -- or put him back on his heels -- in New York than it was during the earlier summer hard court events. Also, he notes that the French Open is moving to a new Babolat ball next year and is eager to see how that impacts play.

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