So, what exactly does happen to those balls used at Wimbledon? Ever wondered? Just in case you’re confused as to what “balls” I’m taking about, you’ll might be surprised to know that during a typical match at Wimbledon the tennis balls are changed after the conclusion of every ninth game.
On an average, around 54,000 balls are used during the whole two-week Wimbledon period with approximately 2000 balls used every day. That number of course depends on the number of matches and the sets played. Therefore, more the number of sets played, more used balls get discarded.
No, these balls aren’t given away to the fans. No, they’re not used for any other tournament at the All England Lawn Tennis Club. And no, they’re not recycled into those Cosco balls that children play cricket with. These balls, you ready for it, are sold at the used balls counter at Wimbledon with the proceeds all going to charity.
But just in case you’re wondering that the next time you’re at Wimbledon you’ll pick up a can of tennis balls that a certain player you love has played with, it’s not that easy. The used balls that are sold don’t have a label on them as to which player played which match on what day with them. Did I just burst your bubble? Oops!
The reason for that is plain and simple. If the balls are sold “player-wise,” then there’s a more than a good chance that all the balls hit by Roger Federer get sold within the first minute of the shop opening. That would leave the other players’ balls in quite a jiffy, won’t it? Hmm, that came out wrong! Let’s just say that this scenario would mean that the balls hit by someone like a Dusan Lajovic won’t even leave the shelf. Now that’s bad news for those charities.
The balls at the used ball shop are therefore sold round-wise. The first-round match balls are sold at probably £3 a can. That’s effectively £1 per ball. Quite a decent and reasonable price I think for someone wanting to take home a memorable souvenir from Wimbledon. The price for the match balls of a final, though, could go up to £80 a can. Hmm, that’s probably a good idea for all those fanatics who probably spent half their life savings just to make that one trip to the holy grail of tennis.
At the end of the day, it’s all up to the fans to decide which round they want the balls from. Hence, if you get a chance to go to Wimbledon, don’t forget to visit the used balls shop and pick up a can of match balls that were used in “a” final.
After all, who knows when you open that can, you could be playing with Federer’s balls! *wink wink*