They came, they queued, they got wet – but did they wash?

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The Independent Online

A giant thunderclap over centre court yesterday lunchtime made hundreds of visitors jump, but the deluge that followed was considerably more embarrassing for the All England Club.

As cameras focused on what looked like water pouring through the new £100m centre court roof, several spectators had to move as water dripped on to their seats.

A Wimbledon spokesperson insisted its roof does not leak. "Water dripped on to six seats," he said. "But this is from leaks in the permanent structure, not the new roof."

The spokesman added that "a couple of licks of paint" was all that would be needed to rectify the problem, and that the water shown on television was moving from one gutter to another, according to the court's design.

There were more than drips coming through the roofs of the tents outside Wimbledon as scores of fans queued for a chance to watch Andy Murray walk out on court today for his quarter-final with Spain's Feliciano López. First in line for the elusive tickets were schoolfriends Brad Marshall, Dan James, Rob Marnock and Ross May, from Basingstoke. They secured their position after arriving with their tents four days ago.

"I'm not skipping school, I'm erm, at a University open day," said Dan, nervously. Brad was more forthcoming: "We've done our exams. It's only three days. And these four weeks are pointless."

When they arrived on Sunday, they intended to stay one night and watch Monday's matches. But they were too far back in the queue to guarantee a spot on the show courts – only 500 seats on the two main courts are given to overnight queuers – so decided to wait an extra day. They were first in line for yesterday's play, but with no Murray match, they chose to carry on camping.

"We just hope Murray's on centre. We really want centre. And it better not rain," Brad said. Mercifully the forecast for today was good.

Life in the grassy area where the keenest fans sleep is like a sedate Glastonbury without the bands, the chance to watch any tennis – or even running water.

On Monday, temperatures reached 30 degrees. The boys sat in the sun preparing their "Don't worry, it's Andy Murray" banner. "We've cleaned our teeth, but that's it," said Brad, directing his nose towards his left armpit. "I don't think I smell too bad."

The boys originally had only two sleeping bags between them. Dan's parents have since performed a three-hour round trip to bring further supplies.

Almost everyone with a ticket for today's match will have had a far easier time procuring it than these boys, but they are not the only ones deserving a little sympathy.

By the time play starts, the four teenagers will not have washed for a combined 300 hours. Someone will have to sit next to them.

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