What Happens to the Balls After the Wimbledon Tournament?
By Ed C
Updated 19th January 2022
We answer all of your Wimbledon Ball related questions. Who makes them? Why are they yellow? Why are they kept at 20 degrees? Can you keep them if they land in the crowd?
Who makes the balls used at Wimbledon?
The tennis balls used at The Wimbledon Championships are supplied by the Dunlop Slazenger Group. Slazenger has been the Official Supplier of tennis balls to The Championships since 1902, as part of the longest partnership in sporting goods history. The posts and nets are also supplied by the Dunlop Slazenger Group.
Why are the balls yellow?
The International Tennis Federation introduced yellow tennis balls into the rules of tennis in 1972, as research showed that yellow balls were more visible to television viewers. The Championships continued to use the traditional white ball, but eventually adopted yellow balls in 1986.
What temperature are the balls kept at?
All of the tennis balls are refrigerated to keep them at a constant 20° C until they’re used. New tennis balls have pressurised air inside the can which gives the ball its bounce. Temperature can affect the pressure in the can so by keeping the balls at a constant temperature pressure is maintained.
How many balls are used each year at the Wimbledon Tournament?
The tennis balls used each year are stamped with the year of the tournament. Approximately 54,000 tennis balls are used at The Championships each year. At start of each day of The Championships, 48 cans of balls are taken onto Centre Court and No.1 Court, and 24 cans are distributed on the outside courts.
What happens to the balls after the Tournament ends?
Used Wimbledon tennis balls are sold, subject to availability, every day of The Championships from the Wimbledon Foundation kiosk. The Wimbledon Foundation kiosk is located near Court 14. The used balls are sold for £2.50 per can of three balls. All proceeds from the sale are donated to the Wimbledon Foundation.
What happened to the balls in 2020?
The Championships were cancelled in 2020 as the result of the pandemic. The All England Lawn Tennis Club (AELTC) donated the unused tennis balls as part of its COVID-19 charitable efforts. A donation of 30,000 Slazenger balls was also made to the Lawn Tennis Association (LTA), the governing body of British tennis, as part of the AELTC's new 'Play Your Way' campaign.
The Wimbledon Foundation, established in 2013, is the charity of the AELTC and The Championships.
What happens to balls that land in the crowd?
At Wimbledon fans generally do not get to keep any balls that go into the spectator area. If a ball lands near you, expect the umpire and crowd to pressure you into returning the ball.
The initial set of balls is used for the warm up and the first seven games. New balls are then subsequently rotated in every nine games of the match,
With more play, the felt of the balls becomes loose and the ball becomes bigger and therefore slower. If a ball was not returned, it would have to be replaced by a new ball which would be different to the other balls in play. This could disrupt the players train of play. Players often scrutinise certain balls before deciding which one to serve to their opponent.
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