The incredible logistics of Wimbledon

Posted 10th August, 2022

This year’s edition of Wimbledon recently came to a close with a thrilling set of finals which saw some of the biggest names such as Serena Williams and Andy Murray crash out early on, while other legends held on to their records to make history – with Novak Djokovic winning the men’s final to secure a fourth consecutive victory on the world’s most important court. But have you ever thought about the logistics behind Wimbledon? Let’s take a closer look.

The incredible journey of a tennis ball

Did you know that around 55,000 tennis balls are used every year in the Wimbledon Championships? Perhaps even more surprising is the fact that each of these balls travels an astounding 50,000 miles before it even touches a racquet!

Although the official ball supplier for the tournament (since 1902) is British sports equipment manufacturer Slazenger, the balls themselves undertake an incredible journey before being ready for Wimbledon.

The materials that make the official balls travel across the USA, New Zealand, the UK, China, South Korea, Japan, Greece, Thailand, Malaysia before finally reaching the Philippines where they are manufactured. The balls are then sent to Indonesia for packaging before being flown to their destination, London. A total journey of 11 countries, 4 continents and 50,570 miles before they get to Wimbledon! 

Random fact – With a standard tennis ball measuring 6.35cm in diameter, they would stretch out for 2.14 miles if they were laid end to end in a straight line.

A food frenzy

It may not be obvious if you are watching the championships on tv, but Wimbledon is also quite the food frenzy. Among its many claims to fame, the event represents the largest European single annual sporting catering operation, serving a huge quantity of beverage and food. This includes:

  • 150,000 scones
  • 150,000 bottles of water
  • 100,000 pints of beer
  • 490,000 sandwiches
  • 375,000 cups of tea
  • 207,000 meals 
  • 142,000 portions of strawberries

There is a Wimbledon tradition for the spectators as well as the players that during the tournament’s fortnight, it is estimated that 28,000 kilos of English strawberries and 7,000 Litres of cream are consumed on average each year.

The official Wimbledon strawberry is the “Elsanta”, a variety supplied from specially registered farms in Kent. To ensure the product’s freshness, the strawberries are picked fresh the day before being served and are transported to Wimbledon around 5:30 am every morning after travelling some 50 miles from Kent, where they are individually inspected for quality before being sold.

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