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SBD Global/July 6, 2012/Events and Attractions

Wimbledon Towels A Hot Item For Players And Fans

Petra Kvitova wraps herself in a towel during Tuesday's match against Serena Williams.
After years of “discouraging players from taking tournament towels, officials at the All England Club now mostly shrug as competitors stuff their racket bags with what has become the most coveted keepsake from the championships,” according to Tom Perrotta of the WALL STREET JOURNAL. This year marks the 25th year of the commemorative Wimbledon towel made by U.K.-based Christy. The company for this year’s tourney “produced 99,500 Wimbledon towels, of various sizes, most of which are sold to the public.” The company said that sales “have increased" 46% since '08 and Wimbledon towels next year “will be sold in India for the first time.” Towels similar to those the players use sell for about $44. Christy sets aside 6,000 towels for players, who "are given two during each match.” Welspun U.K. CEO Robert Walker, whose company owns Christy, said that “about 60% of those 6,000 towels vanish by the end of the tournament.” The towels “have become a popular souvenir,” and tennis player Novak Djokovic reportedly “keeps a stockpile.” Roger Federer said, "I only keep about two a tournament and I give the rest away." Some players are “besieged with requests for towels from friends and family.” Christy “redesigns the towel every few years.” Christy's Lucy Ackroyd, who designed this year's towel, said, "In the past, the towels had a novelty look, like a stylized image of a racket or a net. The club thought that was looking a bit tired and wanted something more contemporary, upmarket and elegant" (WALL STREET JOURNAL, 7/5).

LOST BALLS: In London, Donna Bowater reported that Wimbledon organisers lose 50 tennis balls every day, with many taken by fans "who want a memento." Some 54,000 stamped Slazenger balls are ordered for the two-week tournament. Almost 2,000 are used every day. Even though the All England Club gives visitors "the chance to buy used balls at the official shop," the man in charge of keeping track of them "suspects wayward balls are kept by fans" (TELEGRAPH, 7/4).
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