SW19 Diary: Ferdinand's passion for tennis warrants Royal Box invitation

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The Independent Online

Footballers have been conspicuous by their absence from the Royal Box so far, but should the All England Club be looking for somebody from the national game to savour a taste of a national institution they should get in prompt touch with Rio Ferdinand.

The Manchester United man has been entranced by the tennis over the week. So far he has been impressed by Roger Federer's clothing and Heather Watson's talent. The "connection" between the likes of Federer and Rafa Nadal and the fans has also caught his eye. Ferdinand does not have to report back for pre-season training until 4 July so there's still time for an All England invite.

Henman gets taste of Chinese takeover

The moment a Chinese athlete or team achieves sporting success it heralds a flood of predictions of world domination of said sport. Li Na's triumph in Paris did likewise, although her defeat to Sabine Lisicki on Thursday was not according to script. To see if there might just be anything in a Chinese takeover anyone at Wimbledon early today should head for Court 14 where Tim Henman will be coaching four of the country's brightest prospects as part of a link up between the Chinese Tennis Federation, the All England Club and HSBC's Road to Wimbledon programme.

Defeated Roddick cries into his cider

Wurzels update. It was not a good day for Andy Roddick, who earlier in the week confessed he couldn't get "Combine Harvester" out of his head. First he was sent crashing on Centre Court by the unseeded Feliciano Lopez, then came this exchange in the post-match press conference. Questioner: "Have you finally got that song out of your head yet?" Roddick: "I had until you mentioned it..." A silver lining for the American though: the CD collection the West Country's finest promised to send him has yet to arrive.

Sharapova loves SW19 politeness

Maria Sharapova was questioned after her defeat of Laura Robson on Court One yesterday about the varying atmospheres she has experienced at the different Grand Slams. The best she judged was the US Open – they drink a lot of beer, she reckoned, and as they do so the noise increases. And what of Wimbledon crowds? "Very polite," she said.