No matter if ts a job interview or just a casual wondering about special things, we know it can land on anything. However, for a specified person like a tennis player, among many things, that starts mingling in his mind (if he/she’s curious enough), is the different feel of different balls and the characteristics of its different components, the fuzz or nap being one of them.
Now, this might seem like a weird and simply ignorable guess; it perhaps is one of the most essential components of a tennis ball playing a huge role in adjusting its aerodynamics to the correct proportion. But…ahh…we have to dig a bit deep in it so that next time someone asks “why is there a fuzz on a tennis ball”, you have a solid answer backed up by some scientific reason!
Why Is There Fuzz on Tennis Ball?
OK! So while paying on the tennis court, the ball must be designed in a way that adequately serves its purpose. If you look closely, tennis balls are two rubber spheres of the same size adhered with a solid sealant, with a lot of pressure-filled inside to keep it movable.
Since rubber has a smooth surface and has been designed in a way that the minimum of its surface comes in contact with the ground, there comes a significant decrease in the amount of friction. On top of that, the ball experiences very little air resistance; therefore generating uncontrollably high speed. To settle it down to an adequate level, a layer of nylon, cotton, or wool is integrated on its surface, known as fuzz, or simply as the nap.
As the fuzz surface is relatively rough, it generates much air resistance to keep the ball at an adequate speed. Moreover, it also enlarges the size, which means the ball will have much vacuum surface made before it, allowing much resistance-free space for it to spin; one of the handiest tricks top-tennis players use. Apart from that, more contact area and rough surface also allow more area for friction, playing a huge role in slowing down the ball.
Now there are a lot of reasons for this speed to slow down, apart from just “Control”. Here are some:
- It keeps the ball inside the tennis court.
- It prevents game injuries possible due to immensely high speed.
- It gives enough time for the players to react.
Now the question is, how much the ball slows down? Well, you will be shocked by the answer. Suppose if you hit the ball at 100 mph, it will be slowed down by at least 1/3rd of it. So when the ball reaches the opponent, it will have an approximate speed of 33 mph. Though this might seem like a lot, this is what keeps the game fun.
And that was pretty much it! Now you know the importance of this wooly, rough substance on the tennis ball surface. After all, it isn’t just about aesthetics!