Wimbledon scheme charges tennis fans £5 for water after fine warning | Tennis | Sport

An estimated 500,000 fans are set to descend upon Wimbledon for two weeks this summer, but those cheering on their favourite tennis players will be given a harsh dose of reality when asked to spend £5 on water at SW19.

A new Evian scheme, endorsed by Emma Raducanu, will see supporters charged £5 for a QR code they can put onto their reusable bottlers, to be filled up at various water fountains stationed around the grounds.

Evian’s own refill stations could be implemented at other large events, if successful, as the H2O giants assess if there is demand for their water as opposed to the All England Club’s water taps.

Those in attendance at Wimbledon can also purchase tournament-themed stainless steel Evian bottles for £25, which includes refills, or a 750ml plastic bottle for £2.95, after the availability of single-use plastic had been increasingly criticised.

Free tap water will still be available to fans attending the British Grand Slam, but Evian is trialling the new scheme to see if there is a market for their premium product.

Former junior Wimbledon champion Laura Robson previously slated the players’ use of plastic water bottles during matches and practice, leading them to adopt a new refill system on courts, in changing rooms and at on-site restaurants.

“There are all the players on the practice courts, just taking a couple of sips from a water bottle and then leaving it there,” Robson protested. “Should there be a fine, maybe? We’re joking about it, but maybe that’s something that needs to happen.

“I don’t know how you would go about implementing that, whether you would have court covers snitching on people on the court. I don’t know how you would go about organising it but it would be a start.”

Around 114,000 plastic water bottles in 2022 were cut down to 10,000 reusable bottles last year for players, in an attempt to reduce the environmental impact of Wimbledon, but they were supplied free of charge while punters have to fork out £5 to use the Evian stations.

The third Grand Slam of the year are aiming to reduce emissions from their operations to ‘net zero’ by 2030 and stated: “The case for action has never been stronger.”

Wimbledon may well face backlash from punters unhappy to pay £5 for refillable water, but Robson cautioned that tennis needs to deeply consider more than just their single-use plastic usage, with wider problems stemming from the number of aeroplanes used to jet into SW19.

“We’re travelling every week,” Robson explained in 2022. “Usually on a plane – there’s hardly any opportunities to use other forms of transport – and then you get to a big tournament like this. And you know, there’s a fleet of Land Rovers, which are lovely, but not necessarily that environmentally friendly.”

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