December 12, 2014
Few tennis events attract as much attention as Wimbledon. From hosting some of the world’s best players to drawing in attention from global spectators and Royal tennis fans alike, The Championships are a uniquely exciting event.
They’re also, surprisingly, a hotspot for souvenir collectors. In 2012, fans left the tournament with more than 700 wayward tennis balls, the majority of which are pocketed as unique souvenirs after flying into the crowd accidentally.
After finding out that an astonishing 700 balls go missing every year, we started to wonder how many tennis balls are used during Wimbledon altogether. Read on to discover exactly how many balls are required for each year’s tournament.
More than 54,000 balls are used every year
Every year, over 54,000 Slazenger tennis balls are prepared for Wimbledon. As of last year, the official count was 54,250 balls – enough to provide 48 tins of balls for the Centre and No. 1 Courts and 24 for each outside court on a daily basis.
It’s an astonishing number, even for an event of Wimbledon’s scale. Break down the number of balls required for each match, however, and the 54,000+ balls used every tournament makes perfect sense.
Preparing the balls for each tennis match
Did you know that the temperature of a tennis ball affects its performance? Inside each tennis ball is a hollow core – a round, rubber-coated space that contains gas.
Change the temperature of the ball and you change the pressure of the gas that’s inside it, subsequently changing the ball’s physical dynamics. A hot ball behaves very differently on the court from a cool one.
The lower the tennis ball’s temperature, the more its gas molecules contract and, during a game, the less it bounces. The warmer the ball’s temperature, the greater the amount of energy its as molecules contain and the higher it bounces.
Because of the effect of temperature on ball performance, all 54,250 of the tennis balls used during Wimbledon are kept at exactly 68°F. They’re also switched for a replacement set after the first seven games to make sure they aren’t worn down.
During a match, balls are then switched every nine games to prevent players from having to use scuffed or damaged balls. With these strict requirements in place, the 54,250 balls required for last year’s The Championships makes a lot more sense.
Taking home a piece of Wimbledon history
Feel like taking home Novak Djokovic’s game-winning ball from 2014? While many of the balls from the semi-finals and final aren’t available, balls from other matches are sold daily by the All England Tennis Club to raise money for charity.
At £3 for a can of three or £10 for four cans, taking home a piece of Wimbledon isn’t as expensive as you might think. The balls for sale are unsorted, meaning you could – if your luck is good – walk away with a can of balls from the Centre Court.
Better yet, given many players’ habit of picking up two balls for a serve and tossing one away, buying a can of balls at Wimbledon often means you’re getting both new balls and used balls from some of the world’s top players.
— Hannah Curwen (@HannahRCurwen) July 1, 2013
Watch Wimbledon 2015 live and in style
Wimbledon officials are starting to crack down on wayward balls – Brian Marldling, official ball distribution manager at Wimbledon, claims that officials ask people that catch runaway balls to give them back whenever possible.
Despite this, it’s still possible to enjoy the Wimbledon experience in the flesh and, on the day after your favourite players have competed, possibly take home balls used in their match from the All England Tennis Club charity store.
From the finals to early-stage games on the Centre and No. 1 Courts, experience the best of Wimbledon in person with our debenture tickets. Browse our wide range of debenture tickets online and enjoy an amazing Wimbledon experience in 2015.