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Got tennis balls? A shortage of the fuzzy yellow spheres is upon us
Port delays due to COVID-19 seem to be the culprit.
Published Aug 13, 2021
WATCH: Jessica Pegula defeats Danielle Collins in Montreal.
Before heading to the courts earlier this week, I attempted to grab a fresh can of tennis balls from Walmart and Target but had no luck. In all my years of playing I never experienced such a dilemma, but there's a first for everything and it's been confirmed—I'm not the only one experiencing the issue.
Vice writer and editor Aaron Gordon recently encountered the same problem. A Target store employee told Gordon that as soon as the yellow spheres hit shelves they are quickly snatched up.
Naturally, Gordon decided to buy a case of 24 cans online only to find almost all tennis retailers stock is on backorders. The sport most certainly skyrocketed during the pandemic—being one of the few games approved to play due to its social distancing aspect. It seems a mix of more people gravitating towards the sport and COVID-19 port delays are the main reasons for the shortage, according to Gordon's findings.
Gordon spoke to customer service specialists from Tennis Warehouse, Tennis Express and Head and all responses were essentially the same.
"Currently there is tennis ball shortage due to port delays," said one Head representative.
This narrative makes complete sense given that both of the most dominant players in the tennis ball realm are not based in the United States but rather overseas. Head which owns Penn, manufactures its tennis balls in China, while Wilson makes theirs in Thailand.
No representatives seemed to have the answer of when the shortage will begin to ease up, but with summer ending and fall weather upon us this could lead to a drop in demand. Tennis Warehouse told Vice they plan on re-stocking in mid-September.
In the meantime, looks like some of us might have to scramble for any old tennis ball we see.