Engineering Innovation Podcast and Radio Series

Wimbledon Pressure

PostedJune 24, 2005

Download File (mp3)

[natural sound]  Pressurized tennis ball containers were traditionally opened well before Wimbledon play.  But, in today's increasingly fast-paced game, some players complained about the possibility of balls losing bounce.  It's obvious to even novice players—tennis balls start going flat after a few sets, as air slowly leaks through the seams.  Jani Pallis, a sports engineer, says ball manufacturers are now testing larger gas molecules to see if they'll stay inside longer.  She says bounce is affected by lots of variables, from court surface to temperature.  At Wimbledon, new balls wait their turn in air conditioning to make sure the game won't get too hot.  With the National Academy of Engineering, Randy Atkins, WTOP Radio.