Perfectly mown grass, Pimms and afternoon tea. Throw in a star-studded list of top tennis players and you’ve got yourself an exciting new year at Wimbledon. Whether it’s Federer’s furiously fast serve or Serena Williams’ bruising backhand, there’s set to be a lot of power on show over the two weeks. If that energy was used for our everyday appliances, what could it achieve? And how much of it is used throughout the rest of the tournament?
Wimbledon est. 1877
The iconic tennis tournament held its first event 140 years ago and is the originator of lawn tennis. Unlike now, the first ever Wimbledon Championships received very little fanfare. The final was seen by just 200 people who paid one shilling each to witness Spencer Gore win the inaugural competition.
The tournament - considered to be the most prestigious of the four Grand Slams - is watched by considerably more people today. With 17.29 million people around the world witnessing Andy Murray beat Novak Djokovic back in 2013.
The power of Wimbledon
The grunts, the screams, the sweat. Even if you’ve never swung a tennis racket before, it’s clear to see there’s a lot of energy used at Wimbledon. That is without factoring in the slim chance the British summer may make things hotter and harder.
Walking your daily recommended distance of 10,000 steps burns between 400-500 calories. In comparison, both men’s finalists combined will burn a staggering 2174 calories on average, an energy output 2.53kWh. What could that power achieve if it was used to power your familiar home appliances?
A year of Netflix is a whole lot of binge watching and a fair amount of electricity. 54 kWh to be exact, based on watching four hours a day. Harness the power from 21 men’s finals and you’d be covered for 335 days of entertainment.
How about five men’s finals? Half a decade of the brightest stars in tennis going head to head on centre court could keep a light bulb shining just as brightly for a substantial chunk of time.
The ladies pack a powerful punch as well. The power from a ladies final racks up to an impressive 1.56kWh, enough to keep your iPhone charged and ready to go.
Time to crank up the power and see what more matches over more years can really do. 30 years is a long time, but if you took the energy from every Wimbledon men’s final over the past three decades you could skip paying the electricity bill for your whole house for seven days.
Fancy a cuppa? The national average for tea (or coffee) drinking adds up to 481.8 kWh a year. To cover that kind of energy usage we have to draw energy from a lot more games, 127 should do the trick. Every game in the entire singles tournament at Wimbledon could quench a year’s worth of thirst.
It isn’t just the players that generate energy. A ton of effort and power goes into keeping the grass at Wimbledon looking pristine. A groundskeeper mowing the ground’s 48 courts equates to 11kWh, enough to dry your hair for 30 minutes a day over 48 weeks.
The handy microwave. From reheating Sunday’s leftover roast dinner to making popcorn, most homes rely on them on a daily basis. On average we use them for 90 minutes a week over a 48 week period at a total energy usage of 90kWh. That’s the same amount of power as nine groundskeepers mowing all 40 courts.
It’s time to talk about the most energetic part of the game. The serve. Even though they only last for a split second, the likes of Milos Raonic and Serena Williams generate a whole heap of power from their opening shots. But how do they do it?
When it comes to lightning fast serves, one movement is key. Bruce Elliott, a world leader in sports biomechanics notes that: ‘Research has shown that internal rotation is the movement that is the major contributor to racquet velocity in the tennis serve - approximately 40%.’ Other movements play a part in a potential ace or two, but not as much as internal rotation.
Rotate for the win
Looking to get a bit more power behind your swing? The breakdown for becoming the lord or lady of internal rotation goes as follows:
Rotate arm backwards (external rotation at the shoulder joint)
Muscles on the front of the chest and shoulder are ‘put on stretch’ and store energy
Use these muscles with help from the stored energy to internally rotate upper arm
Drive the racquet in an up-and-out trajectory to impact
Not only does this allow professional tennis players to hit huge serves, but the use of elastic energy in the muscles means they can serve at top speeds over extended periods.
The world’s fastest
The world record for the fastest serve in tennis history is held by Samuel Groth of Australia. His blistering service speed 163.7 mph was achieved at the Busan Open Challenger Event back in 2012.
The blink or you’ll miss it swing took 24 milliseconds and the quick burst of power converts to approximately 156.643 joules.
Knowledge is power
Interested in finding out more about the energy you use every day? We’re dedicated to educating our customers on their daily usage and that’s why we developed ‘My Energy’. A place where you can receive a personalised breakdown of what you use, when you use it and how much it costs. Our hope is that between our cheap gas and electricity tariffs and your increased energy control, you’ll save more money.
Log in to ‘My Account’ now and get to know your energy.