Six appeal: In the court of the courtiers

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The Independent Online
The Serious Fan plays the game herself - a county player in her youth, and if she'd had the time... But she plugs away at the club, and coaches the kiddies. She loathes imitation of the stars, and wouldn't be seen dead in Nike Airs. She wears Dunlop Green Flash (hard to find, but comfy), a plain Ellesse top and tracksuit bottoms. She bought her eye-shade at Eastbourne in '92, the year that nice Lori McNeil won. It's important to go to the other tournaments: at Eastbourne and Edgbaston one can get so close to the players. She won't be in the scrum for Centre Court tickets: true fans keep an eye on youngsters on the outside courts. The men? No thank you - all bang and no bounce. Heroine: Maggie Maleeva, a super forehand and the nicest smile of the three sisters.

The Debenture Hostess has a jolly hard time. All her friends think she is so lucky to be able to swan along whenever she wants, but the reality is quite different. It's a business thing for her husband, of course, but people don't realise how much planning has to go into it all, who doesn't eat what, and what to wear. Secrets? Flat shoes (hers are from Prada), for all the rushing around, what with showing Mrs Yamamoto the way to the Ladies' and popping next door for more cushions for the chairman's piles. And wraparound sunglasses so one can have a little nod when everyone is settled. Heroine: The Duchess of Kent. How does she do it?

The Marketing Man is there for the beer and makes no bones about it. It's a jolly, pure and simple: as the Divisional Managing Director puts it, Wimbledon is a solid gold opportunity for flesh-pressing - and he's not talking queues! Hats off to the caterers, they do a damn fine job, methode champenoise, melon chunks, cold salmon with all the trimmings. The picture on the Queen-sized Toshiba is pin-sharp. Old hand's tip: don't mix red Rioja and lager. Hero: Pete Sampras, and there's a business parallel: when he promises, he bloody delivers.

The Aorangi Park Babe has just finished her GCSEs and loves to go along with her mates to sunbathe. The most fun at Wimbledon is on that ace big lawn in front of the giant screen. The tanning is fantastic even if you do go through masses of Hawaiian Tropic which makes it difficult to hold on to your bottle of Blackcurrant Hooch. They all go along to Centre Court when Andre is playing. Stand outside the players' entrance, that way you get a really good view when he pops out all sexy and sweaty. Hero: Andre!

For The Queuing Couple, Wimbledon is the highlight of a year that also includes camping outside other national cultural events (The Proms, The Grand National, Farnborough Air Show etc). They've been coming for 27 years, and the kids think it's a hoot when mum and dad are on the telly (thanks to the "silly" hats). There's a real sense of camaraderie, and they often pop to the next-door bivouac to share a pot noodle and a natter. They have made some great friends over the years and in fact go on holiday with a lovely couple from Yorkshire - this year they all went over to camp outside Roland Garros. Every morning they get prime position on Centre Court, where they spend the day catching up on their sleep. Hero: Sir Ranulph Fiennes.

The Visiting American Couple take in Wimbledon after a week at EuroDisney. The All England Club is one hot-dogging photo opportunity after another. They arrive in a fine London taxi cab, chow down on cucumber sandwiches and Pimm's, a sort of Brit Mint Julep, then watch the Yanks kick ass. The rig-out: baseball caps, Pringle T-shirts, check shorts, Stars n' Stripes hankies (for waving when the Brit is getting ready to serve, hee haw). After play they hit the NBC compound to touch base with the stars (last year they got quality time with Pammy Shriver). Hero: Todd Martin, the big server from the big country.

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