French Open 2020 is headed for a complete renovation as it continues to uncloak changes too frequently. One striking change comes along with the change of ball manufacturers for the tournament. Rafael Nadal, World No.2, makes his opinion heard as he declares that he is not happy with it.
Babolat balls have been at the helm of the tournaments’ smooth functioning. The decision to part ways with this long-held tradition is causing a stir in the tennis community. The decision to use Wilson balls instead is turning out to be quite controversial. It leads to a change in the required playing style which will be quite challenging for players.
This obstacle seems further unsurmountable due to the lack of other events being held this year, resulting in less time spent on clay courts.
The Wilson Balls Challenge
Wilson balls are widely used on hard-court surfaces, but they have been reported to not respond well to clay courts. The difference between Wilson balls and formerly used Babolat balls is quite the manifold. It has been concluded that the Wilson balls absorb less moisture and take a longer time to wear down.
To an outsider, this may appear to be a positive change, but it ultimately isn’t. The Wilson balls, which are designed to endure longer rallies are actually slower on the surface when compared to Babolat balls. The latter travels on clay much faster and posed an advantage to hard-hitters like Rafael Nadal.
Rafael Nadal’s comments on the decision to use Wilson Balls
The King Of Clay made it clear that he is not happy with the change as he declared, “I think not a good ball to play on clay honestly.”
“The organisers need to take a look on that for the next couple of years, for the health of the players too, because the ball super heavy becomes dangerous for the elbow and the shoulders. It’s a very strange situation. Here the conditions are very, very tough. The weather is so, so cold, so that makes it difficult for everyone. But the conditions are a little bit extreme to play our tournament,” he added.
With the change in weather, balls and amount of support in the stands, the tennis world is left wondering if Nadal will be able to defend his title. Rafa’s need for control has been made abundantly clear with the rituals he follows on the court.
The decision to use Wilson balls might cause a rift in the Spaniard’s gameplay, making roads for other tournament favourites like Novak Djokovic and Dominic Thiem to win French Open 2020.