Important Changes to the Green Stage 1 Ball

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Photo: Green Balls (Play and Stay)

The following is taken from a letter sent by Dave Miley, ITF Executive Director for Development, to all National Associations on 10th February 2014.


Dear Tennis Colleague,

I am writing regarding some important changes that have taken place regarding the ITF specifications and the ITF Rules of Tennis related to the Green Stage 1 ball, and also to ITF guidelines related to the use of the Green ball in competitive play at national level.

Important Changes to the Green Stage 1 Ball

You will be aware that the Green ball has been used in 10-and-under development and competition for many years. Following a change in 2012 to the Rules of Tennis, the Green ball can now be used in competition at national level for other ages as well (see enclosed extract from the ITF Rules of Tennis 2014). The experimental rule for the Green ball has proven very successful and as a result it has been extended for 2 further years until the end of 2015. This means that the Green ball can be used in all levels of competition at national level. The ITF believe that the Green ball, which is approximately 25% slower than the Yellow ball, has considerable benefits, especially for recreational players rated ITN 10-7. It has also been used successfully at some junior level competitions, in high school competition and also in university intra-mural level events. We are encouraging national associations to promote the use of the Green ball over the next 2-years especially at the recreational level and report back to the ITF their feedback on its use. 

Updated Ball Supplier Specifications

Regarding the specifications, from January 2014, the ITF has agreed with the Tennis Ball Suppliers that all Green balls manufactured must be made in Yellow colour with a Green dot on one-side to signify that it is a Green ball. It is no longer permitted within the ITF approved ball specifications for the Green Stage 1 balls to be two-coloured. The ITF and the ball suppliers believe that this will ensure that the Green ball looks more like a Yellow ball and so adults will be more likely to use it in training and competitive play. In addition the ITF is recommending that the Green balls should be produced and sold in the same way as the Yellow ball, in sealed pressurised cans when the balls are pressurised and in standard packaging if non-pressurised. The result of these changes is that by 2015, all Green Stage 1 balls will be similar in look to the regular Yellow ball.

Finally, the ITF has introduced recommended guidelines that when the Green ball is used in any form of competition e.g. 10-and-under or adult based club competition, the balls should be new at the start of the competition. This recommendation also applies to all competitions using the slower Red Stage 3 and Orange Stage 2 balls. These guidelines are in place to ensure that the quality of the balls used in competition is of a good standard.

Further information regarding the changes to the Green ball are enclosed with this letter.

Optional Scoring Formats to be promoted

You will be aware that in 2001 the ITF introduced optional scoring formats within the Rules of Tennis. These optional scoring formats allow competition to be better adapted to the needs and lifestyles of tennis players worldwide and are different to the traditional forms of scoring recognised. The ITF wish for all national associations to promote the use of these scoring formats within adult and junior based competitions.

The optional scoring formats include:

  • Short Sets to 4-games
  • 2 short sets (4-games), with a Match Tie-break instead of 3rd set
  • 2full sets (6-games), with a Match Tie-break instead of 3rd set
  • No ad scoring at deuce in combination with any of the above

In addition, timed matches have now been included as optional scoring in the Rules of Tennis and are being used within 10-and-under competition very effectively, along with one or best of three Match Tie-breaks (7 or 10 points) and one set matches. These optional scoring formats facilitate the use of multi-match competitions that can be played in a designated period of time and can make competition more user friendly, especially for the juniors and recreational players.

The ITF believe that the changes detailed above are important for the development of tennis and can make our sport more attractive to players worldwide. The ITF hope that your national association will look to promote these changes across your nation.

If you have any questions about the above changes, please feel free to contact us at any time.

Yours sincerely, Dave Miley

ITF Executive Director, Development

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