Those ready to serve play the waiting game

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The Independent Online

They also waited, who only stood ready to serve. The Championships comprise all manner of competitions, and only a wheelchair exhibition match had been resolved before yesterday's first serious rain of the tournament.

The other final due to be played yesterday, which will now join the long queue to be finished today, is the men's doubles, in which the American third seeds Don Johnson and Jarel Palmer are level at 4-4 in the first set over Jiri Novak and David Rikl, the third seeds.

Whatever the weather, one of the great Wimbledon rituals, Todd Woodbridge's appearance in the final, will therefore not take place. Woodbridge and Mark Woodforde had been involved seven times in eight years, winning on six occasions, but Woodforde's retirement after the pair lost the Olympic final in their native Australia last year left his mate looking for a new partner. He teamed up with the Swede Jonas Bjorkman with some success – the pair are currently the two highest ranked doubles players in the ATP Tour entry system – but earlier in the week they suffered an unexpected straight sets defeat by the young Bryan twins, Bob and Mike. The Bryans, suitably monikered successors to the Woodies, then went out in the semi-final to Novak and Rikl.

Each of the twins has enjoyed a good run in the mixed doubles, and a brotherly confrontation in the semi-final seemed likely until Bob and Lisa McShea lost the last set 13-11 to Mahesh Bhupathi and Elena Likhovtseva. Mike Bryan must now avenge his brother, in partnership with South Africa's Liezl Huber, the winners playing either Rikl and Karina Habsudova or Leos Friedl and Daniela Hantuchova.

The Williams sisters lost their chance to defend the women's doubles when Serena withdrew after her singles defeat by Jennifer Capriati, and defeat for Martina Navratilova and Arantxa Sanchez Vicario cost the event its other most glamorous duo. Lisa Raymond and Rennae Stubbs, the top seeds, will be fancied to win the final against Kim Clijsters and Ai Sugiyama if and when the rain relents.

British interest in the junior events disappeared just as Elena Baltacha and Anne Keothavong, the highest seeds left, were favourites to contest the girls' final. At the other end of the age-scale, however, Buster Mottram – still remembered for his politics as much as his tennis – and Colin Dowdeswell are waiting to contest the 45 And Over Gentlemen's Invitation Doubles against Peter McNamara and Paul McNamee, the Woodies of their day.

The British pair knocked out the holders, Peter Fleming and Sandy Mayer, in the semi-final. Jo Durie, a former mixeddoubles winner, is carrying the flag in the 35 And Over women's tournament, with Slovenia's Mima Jausovec.

Other events no longer feature, even in the smallest print. The Plate competition, for first and second-round losers, might have provided some consolation for Martina Hingis had it not been abolished in 1989 (eight years after the men's) and the last of the veterans' singles disappeared in 1991, after the Gulliksons threatened to make it family property for evermore.

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