World Cup fever? Not at the All England Club this year

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As the fortunes of England's footballers grip vast tracts of the population , there was one corner of the country steadfastly refusing to become swept away by the World Cup.

For the next two weeks the grass tennis courts and immaculate grounds of the All England Club will remain a World Cup-free zone immune to the despair and disappointment of 0-0 draws and the prospect of an early plane home from South Africa.

Wimbledon begins on Monday with the sole British representation in the blue riband men's singles limited to two Scots – Andy Murray and Jamie Baker, the 259th best player in the world – and the Club will not be showing any World Cup games on the big screen at the foot of Murray Mount (or Henman Hill as it used to be known).

Tim Phillips, the Club's chairman, said: "This is a tennis tournament. If you want to watch the football you can go to South Africa or watch it on television."

He added: "We fully appreciate that a number of our visitors will be interested in the World Cup. However, the tennis is our first priority."

And for those heading for SW19, do not even think of trying to smuggle in a vuvuzela to bring a touch of the World Cup buzz to Centre Court.

Ian Ritchie, the All England Club's chief executive, said via a statement: "Out of courtesy to the players and their fellow spectators, we make a point of asking spectators not to bring items which could either cause a distraction or interfere with the enjoyment of the occasion. Rattles, klaxons and vuvuzelas all fall into that category and they will not be allowed into the grounds. Our message is do not bring them in the first place."

However, next weekend's Glastonbury festival will be showing games on big screens, as they have done for major tournaments since 1998.

There may be no outward signs of the world's greatest sporting event at Wimbledon, but that will not be the case down in the locker room – it is the main topic of conversation among the players.

Spaniard Rafael Nadal, the world No 1, has said that he will be steering clear of Roger Federer, the Swiss top seed, after Nadal's homeland – one of the favourites to win the World Cup – suffered a shock defeat to Switzerland this week. Nadal said: "I haven't seen Roger yet. I don't want to see him."

Four years ago several players even requested early start times for their matches so that they would be free to watch their countries compete in the 2006 World Cup finals in Germany. Argentina's David Nalbandian, the No 4 seed, asked for an early start for his game against Fernando Verdasco. He lost and then saw his country beaten by Germany in a penalty shoot-out.

Four years ago Murray famously suggested he would be supporting "anyone but England" – but later had to issue a statement stressing it had been a joke after it provoked an angry over-reaction south of the border.

This time Murray, 23, maintains England's progress can help his cause. With the English focusing on South Africa it will relieve some of the pressure on Britain's best hope of a home triumph since Fred Perry in 1936. He has also diplomatically pointed out that "England have got a good chance of winning the World Cup." He did, however, say it before last night's anaemic performance against Algeria.

It is the first time in Wimbledon's 133-year history that there will be no Englishmen in the world's most prestigious tennis tournament. Murray, who is ranked No 4 in the world, will play against Jan Hajek, the world No 80 of the Czech Republic, in his first round match on Tuesday.

England football fans invaded Cape Town yesterday, with thousands of supporters descending on the city. Fans came dressed as knights – using the England flag as capes or sarongs – and in a mix of headgear, including red and white top hats, hard hats and wigs. Some were enjoying the sun, shirtless, with red crosses daubed on their chests, ahead of the game against Algeria. Others wore masks of Nelson Mandela or Mr Bean. But for all their anticipation and excitement they were doomed to a night of deflated expectations as England again drew against supposedly lesser opposition. And as players trudged off the pitch Wayne Rooney risked the ire of the supporters, many of whom had spent thousands of pounds to watch England at the World Cup, when with jeers ringing in his ears he said: "Nice to see your home fans booing you."

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