Luke Blackall: Queen's could be the last refuge of the quiet fan
Man About Town: At cricket matches, singing continues for much of the day and fancy dress is practically compulsory
The gentle, uniform patter of applause for Jo-Wilfried Tsonga's opponent was broken by a cry from the crowd. "Come on, Willy!" came the shout. "You've got to get it up – over the net, I mean."
The head-turning was not just because fans of the tennis star normally call for "Jo". Rather it was because in the refined surrounds of The Queen's Club, such strenuous (and not to mention suggestive) vocal support is rarely heard.
The offenders were sitting near me. Four gentlemen old enough to know better, but still young enough to be able to enjoy an afternoon of drinking without falling asleep.
For a moment I thought that their noise would be drowned out by the chorus of "harrumphs" "sshhs" and "tuts" that came from the crowd.
They continued with their support but attempts to engage fellow spectators in their "banter" were met with cold stares. Their serious (at times overly so) neighbours failed to realise that disapproving looks only fuel a drinker's self-righteousness.
At almost any other sporting fixture they would have cut an unremarkable bunch. The banks of the Thames at Henley are heaving with Hooray Henrys drunkenly cheering on the Regatta. Once, cricket induced little more than the odd round of applause and head-nodding for fine play. Now, wickets are met with roars of delight, singing continues for much of the day and in parts of some grounds, fancy dress is practically compulsory.
While it might have upset the purists, this change has helped keep a new generation interested. A quick chat to the noisy fans at a Test Match will tell you that such support spans class divides.
It is part of the growing commercialisation of sport, which demands ever greater numbers of spectators. But if you want the big screens, big money and the over-the-top celebrations, all of which tennis has, you have to let in different people. It comes at a cost, of course. Formerly smart racecourses have become magnets for the boorish and the scantily clad who see them as an excuse to drink all day.
Apart from the Willy fans, there was none of that at the Queen's Club. Access has become a status symbol, a desire to be seen at the tennis as much as a desire to see the tennis. And while their members still want that status quo maintained, this corner of west London might still remain a no-go area to the noisy fan.
Latest in Sport
Floyd Mayweather vs Manny Pacquiao: The biggest fight of all time, or maybe just the most lucrative?
Andy Murray tells how coach Amélie Mauresmo revealed her pregnancy
What time does Floyd Mayweather vs Manny Pacquiao start?
Everton 3 Manchester United 0 player ratings: Who scored lower - Marouane Fellaini or Radamel Falcao?
Floyd Mayweather vs Manny Pacquiao: What time does it start and where can I watch it?
- 1 Migrant crisis: Greek soldier saved 20 people singlehandedly off Rhodes beach
- 2 Sofyen Belamouadden murder: The inside story of a crime that horrified Britain
- 3 UK weather: Britain braced for snow as arctic air mass moves in
- 5 'Isis' schoolgirls: Missing British teenager tweets picture of her Syrian takeaway
General Election 2015: Chuka Umunna on the benefits of immigration, humility – and his leader Ed Miliband
The sickening truth about food banks that the Tories don't want you to know
Migrant boat disaster: Ukip candidate mocks victims in sickening Twitter post
Nigel Farage wants the BBC to stop making programmes like Doctor Who, Strictly Come Dancing, and Top Gear
Global warming: Scientists say temperatures could rise by 6C by 2100 and call for action ahead of UN meeting in Paris
General Election 2015: Britain would become a 'communist dictatorship' under Ed Miliband and Nicola Sturgeon, claims wife of Michael Gove
£15000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This market leader in Medical Devices is...
£24000 - £25000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: Situated in the heart of Bradfo...
£26000 - £29000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This is an exciting opportunity...
£20000 - £35000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This busy local Joinery company...