Adam Lindsay's tennis career may have been limited to primary school, but he has still managed to make an impact at the most prestigious tennis tournament.

The Maniototo farmer produced Perendale wool which was later dispatched to WSP Textiles, the UK felt maker that supplies felt to Slazenger for the Wimbledon tennis balls.

It was only when the Otago Daily Times made inquiries as to where the wool for the balls for this year's tournament came from that Lindsay learned of his claim to fame. Bloch & Behrens Wool (NZ) - a subsidiary of PGG Wrightson - is the main supplier to WSP Textiles.

It has been supplying the company for longer than general manager Palle Petersen has been involved, which is more than 30 years.


Following the inquiry, Petersen identified a shipment to WSP which was made from wool sourced from the Lindsay farm, and also Glen Islay, a farming operation in South Otago and Southland.

Specific farm lots of crossbred wool were selected, with a strong focus on colour and cleanliness, as it was ''super critical'' that wool was free of vegetable matter, he said.

The Daily Mail reported Slazenger was handed up to 140 rolls of material which was wrapped around 54,000 balls for the championships each year.

Wool arrived in huge bundles from New Zealand and was blended with nylon and cotton before the threads were spun and woven into a sheet of fabric.

The material was then washed and wires dragged across the surface to create the fluffy, felt-like texture. It was vacuumed to remove any moisture, then dyed the distinctive fluorescent yellow, sheared to cut back the fluff and rolled ready to go out to the tennis ball companies.

Lindsay and his wife, Jules, farm Creekside Farms, a 2000ha property between Kyeburn and Ranfurly, running about 10,500 ewes, plus cattle.

He was delighted to hear of his association with Wimbledon and the possibility that the likes of Roger Federer might have had his hands on his wool.

''I thought, 'that's pretty cool'. I wonder how many tennis balls they get out of a bale?''


He quipped that he hoped tennis was becoming more popular.

''Pity a tennis ball isn't bigger,'' he said.

Despite the positive story, Lindsay was frustrated about the state of the crossbred wool industry, saying it costs the same to shear his sheep when prices were poor.

The problem in the sheep industry, in general, was there was no consistency, he believed.

''The difference between a dairy farmer and a sheep farmer is a dairy farmer has two bad years in 10 and a sheep farmer has two good years in 10,'' he said.