As they sheltered from the west London drizzle yesterday, tennis fans camping outside the All England Club in Wimbledon for day tickets were not moaning about the weather. They were frustrated at the number of seats diverted to corporate customers.
"It really annoys me. They've got fantastic tickets and they won't even watch the match," protested Mark Martin, who travelled 500 miles from his home in the Scottish Highlands with the hope of seeing the world's tennis stars in action at first hand.
Christopher Kirk, 59, third in the queue, said: "They're not here for the tennis, they're here for smoked salmon sandwiches. The fans don't get a look in. "
Corporate hospitality tickets are still available for every day of the Wimbledon tennis championship beginning today – for thousands of pounds. Wimbledon's two official corporate hospitality providers, Keith Prowse and Sportsworld, were advertising packages for every day of the fortnight.
Up to £1,000 secures a day's access to the grass courts of SW19 this week, with the most expensive ticket – for the men's finals, including a three-course meal designed by Albert Roux – costing £3,950.
An unofficial provider offered The Independent an even more expensive ticket for the men's final on 8 July: £3,845 plus VAT, which works out at £4,615.