Chance to spot the new balls

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The Independent Online
Thanks to a luminous dye on the yellow balls, players, spectators and television viewers may have a better chance of spotting the big serves at Wimbledon next month.

The hope is that competitors, given fractionally more time to see the missiles, will be able to return them with greater accuracy and regularity and restore the lost art of rallying on grass.

That is asking a lot. The balls, although clothed in day-glo like the Andre Agassi of old, will be identical to the ones used at the All England Club last year.

Those were slightly depressurised and marginally slower than the ones used in previous years, but players only noticed a difference in cold conditions.

Tests initiated by the Lawn Tennis Association, with the co-operation of the ATP Tour and the International Tennis Federation, may eventually result in a ball to counter the power of modern racket technology on grass.

The Slazenger high visibility ball which is to be used at Wimbledon and the tournaments leading up to the championships, was introduced at the Australian Open in January.

"Players commented that it looked bigger and was easier to pick up," Terry Moore, Slazenger's international tennis ball manager, said. He added: "Line calls were easier because the ball contrasted better with court surfaces.''

Pete Sampras, the Wimbledon champion, reckons that big servers such as Goran Ivanisevic would still serve aces with a basketball. He had not considered a fluorescent basketball.

Sampras beaten, page 29

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