AFTER HOURS of watching Wimbledon either courtside or on the television, most tennis fans have at some time or another closed their eyes and imagined beating Navratilova in the final 10-8 in the third or pipping Sampras to the title in five sets. Take away the tennis legends from these fantasies, become a member of the British Women's Tennis Association and in true Jim'll Fix It style your dreams could become reality.
Sue Livingstone, president of the BWTA, which will celebrate its 25th anniversary next year, explained: "We run 60 to 70 events for women of all ages and standards. The biggest thing we organise is for ladies of club standard who don't usually play competitive tennis called the Tate and Lyle Ladies Doubles Masters.
"It's a series of one-day events staged all over the country with the winning pairs in each area coming to compete in the final rounds here at the All England club."
Before potential competitors have images of themselves skipping around Centre Court, however, it has to be said the competition is held in October and the finals take place on the covered courts. But if the thought of winning a Tate and Lyle silver sugar shaker is not enough to lure women on to the courts, then nothing is.
Queuers should take their cue from Popes
FANCY A spot of overnight queuing to get a glimpse of your favourite star on Centre Court?
Mother and daughter Louise and Molly Pope offer the following tips: a tent is the first essential item say the women who are in line for the 10th year in succession.
"A dome tent is the best," explains Molly, "because you don't need any pegs. "And string," adds Louise, "to anchor the tent to the railings when it gets windy."
Earplugs are also a must. "At Gate 5 the traffic is noisy and everyone parties all night," says the 27-year-old from Torquay.
Everybody needs friends but no one needs them more than an overnighter. The idea is to take it in turns to come back out to the queue to guard your place and your possessions.
The hazardous trip to the toilet in the middle of the night is also made easier if you bring a torch. A moments reflection and they amend that to: "A torch and some toilet paper."
Along with the sleeping bag, a miniature TV and folding chairs, a mobile phone is vital. Apparently if the trip into Wimbledon Village for food is too daunting, the local Pizza Hut will deliver.
89 The number of Grand Slam matches won by Sampras in straight sets.
12 Roy Emerson's record number of Grand Slam titles.
7 Tommy Haas's age when Boris Becker first won at Wimbledon.
1922 The year Centre Court was built.
800 Number of bananas consumed daily by the players.
6 Double-faults recorded by Graf in yesterday's defeat at her 13th Wimbledon.
Men's singles (third round): M Larsson 4/7 v H Arazi 5/4; 8/13 J Bjorkman v J Siemerink 6/5; 5/6 T Martin v T Woodbridge 5/6; 2/9 W Ferreira v C Wilkinson 3/1; 2/5 R Krajicek v N Kiefer 7/4.
Champion: Men's: Evens Sampras; 7 Krajicek; 10 Ivanisevic; 12 Rafter; 14 Bjorkman; 16 Korda, Philippoussis; 20 Henman; 25 bar. Women's: 4-5 Hingis; 9-2 Seles; 7 Novotna, Venus Williams; 16 Davenport, Martinez; 25 bar.
(Odds supplied by Ladbrokes)
Unsettled, with showers likely.
Maximum temperature 19C (68F)Reuse content