Tennis is a sport that has a long and storied history, dating back to the 12th century in France. And while the game itself has undergone many changes and developments over the centuries, so too has the equipment used to play it. One such piece of equipment that has evolved significantly over time is the tennis ball.

The tennis ball as we know it today is typically made of a hollow rubber core covered in a layer of felt. However, this was not always the case. In fact, the earliest tennis balls were made of wood or leather, and it wasn’t until the 16th century that they began to be made out of a more resilient material – cork.

Cork tennis balls were first used in the 1800s and consisted of a solid cork core covered in strips of wool or string. While these balls provided a more consistent bounce than their wooden or leather predecessors, they were still relatively heavy and did not have the same durability as modern rubber balls.

In the late 19th century, a major breakthrough in tennis ball technology occurred when Englishman Major Walter Clopton Wingfield patented a new manufacturing process that involved covering the cork core in a layer of high-quality felt. This felt covering not only improved the ball’s durability but also allowed for better grip and control on the tennis court.

The modern rubber tennis ball that we are familiar with today was first introduced in the early 20th century. This new design featured a hollow rubber core covered in a layer of felt, providing players with a lighter and more consistent ball that could be hit with greater power and precision.

Since then, the tennis ball has continued to evolve, with manufacturers experimenting with different materials and designs to improve performance and durability. Today, tennis balls are produced in a variety of colors and are designed for different playing surfaces, such as grass, clay, and hard courts.

In conclusion, the history of the tennis ball is a fascinating journey that spans centuries and showcases the innovative spirit of the game’s players and manufacturers. From the humble cork-covered balls of the 19th century to the high-tech rubber balls of today, the tennis ball has come a long way and continues to play a crucial role in the sport of tennis.

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