Tennis ace pleads for his 'wimbledog' to be let in

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The Independent Online

One of the favourites for this year's Wimbledon title, Novak Djokovic is "pleading" with authorities to let his pet poodle enter the country in time to join him at the All England Club.

Djokovic, the world number two who could top tennis's world rankings if he reaches Sunday's men's final, has been left troubled by the news that he will not be able to bring his dog Pierre with him to the championships.

The 24-year-old Serbian was reportedly making representations at the "highest level" to try to ensure his snow-white toy poodle arrives at Wimbledon in time for the final week of the tournament.

Djokovic, who smashed a racket after losing a point during his third-round win over Marcos Baghdatis on Saturday, is reportedly devoted to his dog. Pierre is thought to be a vital member of Djokovic's team and was regularly spotted by his side during the European clay court season, which Djokovic sailed through until losing for the first time this year in the semi-finals of the French Open. Last month, the poodle was even seen sitting on a cushion in a Paris café, next to the star who fed him noodles.

"He is upset he can't bring Pierre to Wimbledon and is pleading with the authorities to let the dog in," said a source in Djokovic's camp. "Whenever he can he takes the dog with him. He is genuinely upset. For him this is a very serious issue."

The dog even has his own profile on Twitter, under the name Pierre Djokovic. Since logging in on 14 June, the poodle has acquired 310 followers and has tweeted 19 times. Tweets purporting to be from the poodle refer to himself as a "wimbledog". His biography on the account reads: "Wiggling my tail on the dog walk, sometimes accompanied by Novak." Tweets include conversations with Andy Murray's border terrier, Maggie May, and messages of supports to his famous owner. On 21 June, he wrote: "Good luck to @DjokerNole who'll be playing today (to distract everyone while I'm preparing to take over the world!)."

Even if Pierre does make it past the authorities, it is unlikely that he will obtain a courtside seat at Wimbledon. A spokeswoman said: "The Club has a no-dog policy. So far no exceptions have been made for Mr Djokovic."

Players with pedigree

* Andy Murray's border terrier, Maggie May, has her own Twitter page and new puppy Rusty is said to help him relax. Venus Williams usually travels with her Havanese named Harold, while sister Serena's Jack Russell, Jackie, caused a stir in a 2005 reality show by eating the star's dinner. The German player Sabine Lisicki's bid to have her Yorkshire terrier, Happy, accredited as a 'Player Guest' at Wimbledon failed, while the German Shepherds of former world number one Ivan Lendl help to protect his home.

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