Wednesday 19 September 2018

Are tennis balls yellow or green? Roger Federer weighs in on the debate

It’s a surprisingly difficult question to answer.

Tennis balls and Federer
Tennis balls and Federer

By Edd Dracott, Press Association

What colour is a tennis ball?

This might seem like a silly question with an obvious answer, but it’s been causing something of a debate online.

Now the very personification of tennis, Roger Federer, has offered his view, but does it match up with yours?

There you have it, asked while signing autographs in Chicago, Federer said they’re yellow.

Up against the word of a legend of tennis it would seem difficult to argue, but this debate has raged on, often with green coming out on top.

The Twitter poll above from London YouTube creator CGP Grey last month saw green the victor from almost 30,000 voters.

The debate even inspired The Atlantic to contact a Bevil Conway, an expert on colour perception from the National Eye Institute in the United States.

Conway suggested that the perception of a tennis ball’s colour could in fact be a personal experience.

“How we label (a tennis ball) is determined both by perceptual and cognitive factors: the actual physical light entering your eye and … knowledge about what people have typically labelled the objects,” he said.

“The reason colour is so compelling is that it is a computation of the brain, but one that is so good that we think it is an objective property of the world.”

Tennis Ball GIF - Find & Share on GIPHY

So, perhaps there is no right or wrong answer to this conundrum, and we can all happily get on with our lives agreeing to disagree.

But if Roger says so…

… exactly.

Press Association

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