With a rich history of over 140 years, the Tennis Championship at Wimbledon is the most iconic event of the British summer, which of course at its core is supported by a solid supply chain.
Everything at this extravaganza from food, and drinks, to the transport of players, is looked at with a keen eye, even the Wimbledon ball before hitting the racket sees its share of a complex supply chain.
According to Warwick Business School, the official Wimbledon balls fly 50,570 miles around the world before they reach the court. The ball flies between 11 countries and across four continents before being manufactured in Bataan in the Philippines and then traveling the final 6,660 miles to sw19.
This year the 58,752 balls at the Championship will undergo a distribution system that enhances fairness and quality of play throughout the tournament.
The ball distribution system aims to reduce inconsistencies by ensuring that each match is played with balls of similar age and condition.
Slazenger, a quintessentially British sports equipment manufacturer who has been the official ball supplier for Wimbledon since 1902, will make sure that each ball used in each match is carefully tracked and documented to ensure transparency and accountability.
The New balls are brought into play after nine games, with the first set of new balls coming in after seven games. 18 cans is the most that can be used for a five-set match, 10 cans for three sets.
Contrary to the impression given by Wimbledon’s super-efficient ball boys and girls, only six balls are ever in play on a court.
In the past, players had limited control over the ball selection, but the new system allows them to have more input and influence on the choice of balls.