Discover the story of : Once there was a ball



The farthest distance travelled for a tennis ball, from Montreal, was 927 kilometres. The tennis balls were delivered to a school in the municipality of Grosse-Île in the  Magdalen Islands archipelago (Gaspésie/Îles-de-la-Madeleine region). An even longer trip was necessary to complete delivery to the Attawapiskat First Nation, a community in the Kenora District of Northern Ontario. After more than four hours on a plane, the tennis balls completed their 1,300-kilometre journey from Toronto, becoming the farthest delivery in Canada.

In 2015, we covered nearly 35,500 kilometres delivering tennis balls to schools in Quebec alone.

Tennis balls

The On The Ball Program’s target is to distribute a total of 282,000 tennis balls in 2017. They will be placed under the desks of some 70,500 students.

A tennis ball can last as little as 3 rallies for professional and semi-professional players. Amateurs may be able to use the same ball for up to 10 games, after which the decrease in the ball’s pressure is noticeable to the touch. When used as chair slippers in schools, each ball has a lifespan of 3 years. These balls would take 2,500 years to biodegrate in a landfill.

Our spokespersons

Vasek Pospisil and Françoise Abanda are returning once again as official spokespersons for the 2017 On The Ball program. However this year we are excited to announce the addition of up and coming Canadian tennis professional Denis Shapovalov.  Denis is currently ranked 172 by the Association of Tennis Professionals (ATP) and since joining has won 2 tournaments both here at home in Canada. In 2016 Denis was Wimbledon Boys Single Champion as well as the US Open Boys Doubles Champion. We’re excited about the future of what Denis will bring to the Canadian tennis program.

Vasek won the 2014 doubles title at Wimbledon. His career-high Association of Tennis Professionals (ATP) rankings were No. 25 in singles and No. 4 in doubles. He is also Canada’s No. 2 in singles and No. 4 in doubles. He has been a spokesperson for the On The Ball program since 2014. Françoise is ranked No. 186 by the Women’s Tennis Association (WTA). This is her third year as spokesperson for the On The Ball program.


Tennis balls used as chair slippers reduce classroom noise by 32%, from 95 to 65 decibels. This puts noise levels below the 85-decibel threshold that can cause hearing loss.

Around the world

In the United StatesProject Green Ball has many innovative ideas to reduce the number of balls going to landfills. It has produced equestrian turf made out of used tennis balls for a number of horse arenas and is currently exploring the possibility of recycling balls into tennis court surfaces.

In France, the Opération Balle Jaune initiative launched by the Fédération française de tennis plans to collect 1,600,000 used tennis balls from 31 participating leagues. The balls collected will be used to create playground surfaces for children in need. Since the initiative began, 26 such surfaces have been created.