Originally Posted by philosophicalarf
I dunno about 2004, but Rebound Ace the year before the switch was measured as a 35 under the old surface pace rating system. That translates to a medium under the current system.
The balls: they got larger across the board in the second half of last decade (a while back I collected a series of occasional measurements by academic sources from the mid 90s onwards). The rules allow a range of 6.54-6.86cm diameter, only approx a +3.5% change - so small that you couldn't actually see it visually. However at the pro level it means quite a few less mph when the ball reaches the other end, as drag is dependent on cross-sectional area and radius/diameter are squared in that equation (thus +3.5% diameter means +7.1% drag).
As someone else said, slower surfaces do mean balls fluff up a lot more now though - Wilson UO is a particular culprit. As far as I know that's not been measured in any published research (there's less of that on the academic side now, a lot of it was initiated/funded due to a perceived need to quantify tennis in the late 90s).
Where do you find the journals? Any particular sites like scholar, springerlink, sciencedirect etc. that is good for tennis? Most of the stuff I've found for work I've recently been doing is mainly prior to 2000, I've been struggling to find literature post 2000. The area I've been looking into is stuff about tactical play; mainly shot selection and the correlations to rally length and coaching implications etc.
Why is it that the Slazenger Wimbledon balls from around 2003 (less so now, they look about the same size but they're still heavier than say US Open's) were indeed visibly bigger? It wasn't my mind playing tricks on me, those balls were absolutely bigger.
I think Li Ching Yuen is referring to what Robert Lindstedt posted on his blog that time. That is definitely a factor, more so for the recreational player or lower level tournaments as most pro tournaments would adopt the most suitable ball. There've been times I've played and the balls are wrecked within an hour and playing totally different within 10 minutes. That tends to happen on grittier surfaces, like on crappy concrete hardcourts
I think the nicest balls I've used are the Wilson double core balls, they seem to have prolonged "feel". Some balls are crap within no time, the US Open's are absolutely useless.