Tennis World No. 1 Iga Swiatek has slammed the balls used at the US open as ‘horrible’ and questioned why men and women use different ones at the major.
The US Open is the only Grand Slam where two different types of balls are used for the men’s and women’s tournaments, with the latter using lighter balls.
Swiatek believes it presents a disadvantage to harder-hitting players as she claimed the balls were tough to control.
‘I don’t know why they are different than men’s ones,’ Swiatek said at the Western & Southern Open on Wednesday.
‘I don’t know, like, 15 years ago probably women had some elbow injuries because the balls were heavier and they changed them to women’s balls, but right now we are so physically well prepared that I don’t think it would happen.
‘Plus we can’t get those balls in Europe, or actually, when we buy them at store, they are totally different than the tournament balls, so when I’m practicing with US Open balls at home [in Poland], I’m practicing with men’s ones…
‘I feel, it’s really hard to control [the women’s balls], but everybody has same conditions, so we are trying to deal with that. I don’t get why they are different, honestly.’
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The lighter balls are also used in the lead up to the major, including the Western & Southern Open and the Canadian Open where Swiatek crashed out in the round of last 16.
Swiatek is not the only player to have complained about the balls as she and Paula Badosa, currently ranked No. 4, reportedly spoke to WTA CEO and chairman Steve Simon last year and asked whether they could switch to use the same ball as the men.
‘I don’t think it would be a problem because it’s still the same company, it’s Wilson, but, yeah, maybe we should push a bit more,’ Swiatek said.
‘I stopped actually pushing and trying to convince WTA, because the war in Ukraine happened and I refocused on something else. Yeah, but honestly, any tournament I play with these balls, I didn’t feel well.’