The game of tennis, known as lawn tennis, was developed in the 1870s from the game of royal or real tennis, which has been played for centuries. Although the two games are similar, they are both based on two or four opposing players from different sides of a net hitting a ball back and forth. Real tennis balls were made from a spherically sewn envelope of leather or fabric stuffed with rags, horsehair or similar material, while tennis balls have always been rubber based. Since the start of lawn tennis in the 1970s, Indian rubber, made from a vulcanization process invented by Charles Goodyear in the 1850s, has been used to make lawn tennis balls.
Originally, tennis balls were made of rubber, but the balls’ wearing and playing properties were improved by covering them with flannel sewn around the rubber core. The ball grew rapidly by hollowing out the core and pressurizing it with gas. Originally, the core manufacturing was based on the “ clover leaf ” principle whereby the uncured rubber sheet was stamped into a shape resembling a three leaf clover and it was assembled in an almost spherical space by machines adapted for this purpose.
Historically, balls were black or white, depending on the background color of the courts. In 1972, the ITF introduced yellow tennis balls into the rules of tennis, as research had shown that these balls were more visible on television to viewers. During this time Wimbledon continued to use traditional white balls but adopted yellow balls in 1986. Until high attitude balls were introduced into the rules in 1989, only one type of tennis ball was allowed. Type 1 and Type 3 bullets were introduced into the rules in 2002.
The history of the rules:
1965-Wording of the rule
The ball must have a uniform exterior surface. If there are any seams, they should be seamless. The ball must be more than two and a half inches and less than two and five eighths inches in diameter, and more than two ounces and less than two and one sixteenth ounces in weight. The ball shall have a limit of more than 53 inches and less than 58 inches when dropped 100 inches on a concrete base, and a deformation of more than .265 inch and less than .290 inch when dropped. subjected to a pressure of 18lb. Applied to each end of any diameter.