Why are tennis balls yellow? — NBC Los Angeles

British naturalist and broadcaster David Attenborough’s visit to Wimbledon was a vivid reminder of his impact on the game: the yellow balls.

With the advent of color TV in the late 1960s and increased interest in tennis, producers looked for ways to improve the viewing experience. Tennis balls have historically been black or white.

The All England Club said on Tuesday that Attenborough, who worked for the BBC in the 60s, was one of those who inspired the switch to yellow balls when the broadcaster switched to colour.

Attenborough, 98, was a guest in the Royal Box on Center Court when play began at the grass-court Grand Slam on Monday. He was accompanied by English football legend David Beckham.

The International Tennis Federation introduced yellow balls into the rules of the game in 1972 because „research has shown that these balls are more recognizable to television viewers.”

Ironically, Wimbledon didn’t change until 1986. The official Wimbledon package for that year noted: „Yellow balls were used for the first time, mostly because the white balls had turned green on the grass, making them almost impossible at times. Watch on TV when tennis was popular.

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