SW19 Diary: Batsmen always top of the order


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The Independent Online

Bowlers always lament that they do the hard work and batsmen get all the rewards, like bat-sponsors’ contracts – or tickets to the royal box.

Alastair Cook, Andrew Strauss and Geoff Boycott sat in splendour on Centre Court earlier this fortnight but yesterday Steve Finn was with the sunburnt masses on Murray Mound.

Shopping stars are a spent force

Wimbledon fortnight is a boom time for the pubs and restaurants of Wimbledon Village, less so for other businesses, with customers put off by the crowds and lack of parking. High-end shops used to find compensation with players dropping by but, observed one which used to number Serena Williams and Jennifer Capriati among its clientele: “These days players are so focused on the tennis they don’t have time for shopping.”

SW19 always had an eye for an injury

Injuries have been one of this year’s Wimbledon themes, but the revised ‘Wimbledon: The Official History’ (John Barrett, Vision Sports Publishing, £30) reveals they are nothing new. A century ago the ladies’ doubles final was curtailed when Mrs Charlotte Sterry, a five-times singles winner but by then aged 42, tore a tendon on the brink of victory. The mixed doubles final halted when Mrs Ethel Larcombe was hit in the eye by her partner. It meant Mrs Larcombe was unable to defend her ladies’ singles title in the challenge round (final).

Cool flasks given an icy reception

The thermometer may be heading skywards this weekend but Wimbledon are taking no chances. Outside the gates is a Ghostbusters-style sign warning spectators Thermos flasks are prohibited. I suppose it could be used to smuggle in ice-cold Pimm’s.