SW19 Diary: Rufus the Hawk drops bombshell


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The Independent Online

Claims that Rufus the Hawk, Wimbledon’s headline-hogging bird of prey, has been bullied this week by a flock of SW19 crows have been refuted by his handler Imogen Davies.

“He can handle himself,” said Davies in an interview on Wimbledon TV yesterday. Rufus’s response was to answer a call of nature while live on TV, a turn of events that a coarser diarist would turn into a cheap shot about the bird literally…

Flower ponders Boycott recall?

Andy Flower had a break yesterday from mulling over his Ashes plans for a day at the tennis. Alastair Cook’s opening partner has been the main point of debate but imagine if Flower had to choose two from the three openers alongside him in the royal box – Cook, Andrew Strauss and Geoffrey Boycott.

LTA’s £10m payout hangs in the balance

Also watching Laura Robson in the royal box was Nick Bitel, the new top man at Sport England, the Government quango that oversees spending on grass-roots sport. In December, Sport England withheld more than £10m in funding for the Lawn Tennis Association with an accompanying instruction to improve its plan to increase participation or else. Bitel, who took over as chairman earlier this year, said that this summer would be “critical” for the LTA if it was to get the cash. Jennie Price, Sport England’s chief executive, is due here next week too – Price has been tipped to take over at the LTA in succession to the much maligned Roger Draper.

Life not sweet for SW19 bon vivants

The language of Wimbledon: sweet stalls don’t sell sweets, they dispense “bon-bons”. And the rain doesn’t stop, it “abates”, according to the immaculately voiced announcements that reach into every immaculate corner of the grounds.

Saturday weather

Staying dry with intermittent sunshine, throughout the day. Maximum temp 20C.