Tennis: Slower balls for Wimbledon

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The balls may not fly quite so fast at Wimbledon next month, but plans to make a significant reduction in the power game remain long term, writes John Roberts. Chris Gorringe, the All England Club's chief executive, says there will be slightly less pressure in the balls this year, but described the difference as "marginal."

A combination of modern racket technology and the height and strength of the current male competitors has created problems for the grass-court game, with huge serves dominating the points and rallies at a premium.

The Lawn Tennis Association, in co-operation with the men's ATP Tour, is involved in research designed to produce a slower ball, and a machine is in the process of manufacture which will assist with their experiments. The International Tennis Federation is also considering methods to curb the pace of the game, but it could be at least two years before there is a radical change.

A new type of ball may be required, bigger or lighter than present. Terry Moore, the manufacturing director of Dunlop Slazenger, says that new specifications will be needed before a significant change can be made.