Tennis Balls

Can Tennis Balls Get Wet?

If you play tennis frequently, you’ve probably come across wet tennis balls at some point. Perhaps you got caught in a rainstorm in the middle of your game or the morning dew left the courts soggy. You might have asked if tennis balls can get wet when this occurs. How will it impact their performance?

The short answer is yes, tennis balls can absolutely get wet. The fuzzy neon felt covering acts like a sponge, absorbing any moisture it comes into contact with. When tennis balls get saturated with water, you’ll notice they get heavier and feel different coming off your racket.

Tennis balls can handle some dampness, but frequent soaking might shorten their life. If they are left wet for too long, mold may develop. Let me explain what occurs when tennis balls get wet, whether it has an impact over time, and how to keep your balls dry for the best possible game as your resident tennis expert.

Can Tennis Balls Get Wet?

Yes, tennis balls can get wet. Prolonged exposure to moisture can degrade the felt and rubber, causing them to lose pressure and bounce over time. It’s best to allow wet tennis balls to fully air dry before continuing play.

What Happens When Tennis Balls Get Wet?

The fuzzy felt exterior of a tennis ball easily absorbs moisture when it becomes wet. This outside fuzz is intended to cling to the air and produce a fluffy texture that helps control ball speed. Of fact, it clings to water just as effectively!

The felt covering, which resembles a sponge, functions as a reservoir, holding all of that moisture inside the ball. This results in the following brief changes:


Tennis Balls Become Heavier

Typically, dry tennis balls weigh between 56 and 59 grams. However, that weight may rise by 15 to 20 grams after saturation. This additional water weight is sufficient to significantly alter how it feels as it leaves your strings.

You’ve probably felt how much heavier and wetter a damp tennis ball feels. Simply said, it lacks the energetic pop of a dry ball straight from the can.

Wet Balls Lose Some Bounce

Tennis balls may not bounce as high as they usually do when they are damp, as you may have already observed. The felt’s absorption of moisture momentarily lessens the ball’s bouncy characteristics.

The ball loses some of its life when all that extra water is soaked into the felt. The good news is that after the ball has dried out completely once more, the bounce should return.

Increased Mold Risk if Not Dried Properly

Tennis balls contain moisture that must completely evaporate in order for the ball to dry out. The humidity has nowhere to go if a damp ball is just tossed back into your bag or a sealed can.

Mold can grow very well in this wet, sticky environment. The likelihood of fuzzy green mold developing inside a wet tennis ball increases if it is stored for an extended period of time before drying.

In the event that your tennis balls become wet while being used, make sure they are completely dry before putting them away. It is best to let them dry naturally in a dry area.

Does Getting Wet Affect Tennis Balls Long Term?

If an occasional rogue shower passes through during your match, your tennis balls should be no worse for the wear. Tennis balls are designed to withstand periodic moisture without compromising performance.

But what happens if your tennis balls get soaked repeatedly over time? Will they break down faster?

Tennis Ball Materials Resist Some Moisture

Surprisingly, most tennis balls’ felt covers don’t readily absorb trace amounts of moisture. The rubber core below may survive brief contact to moisture without deteriorating.

Generally speaking, occasionally being wet won’t have any negative long-term effects. The materials rebound wonderfully as long as you let the balls dry completely before playing again.

Related Article: How To Dye Tennis Balls?

Frequent Soaking Reduces Tennis Ball Life

Letting your tennis balls become soaked repeatedly shortens their useful life. The felt begins to lose its fluff more quickly the more often it absorbs too much moisture.

With repeated soaking, you’ll see the felt covering begin to mat and flatten over time. On wet shots, this lessens friction and efficiently controls ball speed.

With prolonged contact to moisture, the rubber core also begins to degrade more quickly. Rubber can develop cracks as a result of frequent saturation.

Therefore, while the odd wet match won’t harm your balls, frequent wetness shortens their lifespan.

Brands Advise Against Excessive Wetness

In fact, the majority of tennis ball manufacturers recommend against letting their balls become overly moist while being used.

If a ball does get wet, manufacturers like Wilson and Penn advise waiting for it to naturally air dry before bringing it back into play. Maintaining bounce and fluffiness is made easier by letting the ball materials completely dry.

They caution against purposely soaking tennis balls in an effort to reduce ball speed because this might negatively affect the performance and durability of the ball.

Tennis balls can therefore handle brief dampness, but for optimal performance, companies advise avoiding prolonged water exposure.

Advice on How to Keep Your Tennis Balls Dry

Here are some helpful hints to keep those fuzzy neon spheres bouncing as well as they can for as long as possible:


Let Wet Balls Dry Before Storing

Don’t just put your wet balls back in the bag if you were delayed by rain or morning condensation. Make sure to first let them to completely air dry.

Mold can grow if wet balls are left together for an extended period of time because the moisture remains trapped. Give them 6 to 8 hours to dry before packaging them.

Store in Breathable Containers

Select storage containers or tennis ball cans that encourage airflow rather than enclosing moisture inside.

Many bags come with mesh panels that are especially made to let moist balls breathe while being stored. Balls stored under proper ventilation remain fresh.

Bring Extra Balls as Backup

Be careful to include some additional balls in your luggage if rain is in the forecast. This enables you to switch in a new, dry ball when the playing field becomes soggy.

Having extra balls makes it simpler to replace damp ones before moisture builds up significantly. For wet weather play, frequent rotation is essential.

Use Waterproof Tennis Bags

Invest in a waterproof tennis bag or tote to keep your equipment from ever becoming wet. Dry items are kept in neoprene bags with water-resistant zippers.

If it looks like it could rain while you’re playing or transporting your tennis balls, store them in a waterproof side pocket or compartment.


While tennis balls are designed to be pretty water resistant, excessive moisture can impact their performance over time. Allowing balls to fully dry after getting wet minimizes any effect on bounce or texture. With some care to keep them dry, you’ll keep those balls bouncing true for many matches to come.

Now that you know what happens when tennis balls get soaked, you can take steps to keep them drier longer. Armed with the right knowledge, you can confidently walk onto wet courts knowing how to handle damp conditions. Just remember to bring backup balls and a waterproof bag!

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