Tennis: Wimbledon '99 - Take yawns out of non-event lawns

Richard Edmondson suggests 20 things to do at a washed-out Wimbledon
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The Independent Online
1 TEST YOUR muscle and machismo at the Speed of Serve Net behind Court No 13. American Roshan Vasuder is top of the amateurs at 121mph, recorded yesterday morning. He still has some way to go to match the tournament best of 138mph, set by Greg Rusedski.

2 Buy used Championship balls. They go for pounds 1 each or pounds 2.50 for a can of three. Avoid Rusedski's and ask instead for Danny Sapsford's.

3 Identify the players in the programme associated with drink. Include Kristina Brandi (US), Surina de Beer (SA), Anne Kremer (Lux) and Florencia Labat (Arg).

4 Take a luncheon seat in the Wingfield Restaurant (but book by May). Start saving at the same time. The seafood menu of a half bottle of champagne, salmon and prawn starter, half lobster and vegetables, mixed fruit and cream, plus coffee and Wimbledon chocolates retails at pounds 59. Alternatively open your wicker basket on the sodden Aorangi Picnic Terrace (booking not required).

5 Go for the cheaper, battered, maritime meal, traditional haddock and chips for pounds 3.95 at the Food Village.

6 Identify the players in the programme associated with food. Include Sabine Appelmans (Bel), Cristiano Caratti (It) and Tim Henman (GB.

7 Move quickly to secure an umbrella from the smaller Wimbledon Shop behind Court No 13. By mid-afternoon yesterday the 75 large brollies (pounds 19) and 50 small brollies (pounds 15) had sold out.

8 Peruse the SW19 branded bric-a-brac at the main Wimbledon Shop. Short- change yourself with shortbread at pounds 5 and short-sleeved shirts at pounds 42.

9 Identify the players in the programme associated with American presidents. Include Julia Abe (Ger), Geoff Grant (US), Don Johnson (US), Mary Pierce (Fr), David Adams (SA) and Mashona Washington (US).

10 Obtain a Wimbledon cushion to keep your bottom dry. Rent for pounds 1.40 or purchase for pounds 5.50.

11 Send a Princess Di postcard from the Wimbledon Post Office, franked with the stamp of the Championships.

12 Identify the players in the programme associated with transport. Include Takao Suzuki (Japan), John van Lottum (Neth), Juan Carrasco (Sp), Peter Tramacchi (Aus), Nadejda Petrova (Russ) and Brandon Coupe (US).

13. Buy another Independent from the on-site newsagent (while stocks last).

14 "Demonstrate your commitment to tennis" by applying for a Wimbledon credit card, Classic 1, Classic 2, Gold or Platinum. Demonstrate your commitment to debt by paying an APR of up to 18.4 per cent.

15 Identify the players in the programme associated with professions. Include Jim Courier (US), Scott Draper (Aus), Marian Hood (Arg), Helen Crook (GB), Christina Singer (Ger) and Arantxa Sanchez-Vicario (Sp).

16 Plan your visit to the Kenneth Ritchie Wimbledon Library, replete with its collection of British and foreign lawn tennis books, annuals, programmes, photographs and other ephemera. Open 50 weeks of the year. Guess during which fortnight it is closed.

17 Play virtual tennis and use the internet at Wimbledon's cyber centre. Under 14s with reversed baseball caps preferred.

18 Identify the players in the programme associated with forests. Include Byron Black (Zim) and David Sherwood (GB). Double points for any others.

19 Go celebrity autograph hunting. Fergie, Michael Douglas and Catherine Zeta Jones were available yesterday.

20 Go home.