Vuvuzelas banned from Wimbledon

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The Independent Online

They are the soundtrack of sport this summer - but vuvuzelas will not be making a racket at Wimbledon.

The droning football World Cup horns were banned by the All England Club amid fears they could distract players.

The world's favourite tennis tournament will be a World Cup-free zone, with no games in South Africa being broadcast on the big screens at London SW19.

Even fans brandishing large flags will be stopped from getting in under the new rules.

A Wimbledon spokesman said of the vuvuzelas: "From a noise point of view they could be very distracting to the players and spectators. We think the fans will understand.

"We understand that people would like to follow the World Cup but there are plenty of ways to do that without watching it here on the big screens."

The usual fortnight of indifferent weather, tonnes of strawberries and British sporting agony begins on Monday.

Home hopes in this year's men's singles tournament rest again on the shoulders of Andy Murray, the 23-year-old Scot who was confirmed yesterday as fourth seed for the tournament.

For the first time in the tournament's 133-year history, there will be no Englishman playing in the singles.

Defending champion Roger Federer was named as the top seed for the men's singles despite losing his world number one spot to Rafael Nadal. Serena Williams is top seed for the women's contest.

Expectations for Murray were dampened by nine defeats in 20 matches since he stormed to the final of the Australian Open.

But one woman at least remains confident that this could be the Dunblane-born star's year - his mother.

Judy Murray said his disappointing form took the pressure off as Britain waits for its first men's singles winner since Fred Perry in 1936.

"I think it may well help him that there isn't quite so much hype going on this year," she said.

"The favourites are obviously going to be Nadal and Federer as the world number one and two, but he'll be in there doing his best, that's for sure."

In all, between 450,000 and 460,000 people are expected to pass through the gates over the fortnight.