Wimbledon braced for ball boys' wild party

On court, they are famous for their immaculate turn-out and rigorous training. But tonight the tournament's ball boys and ball girls are likely to be seen by local residents in a very different light.

Householders living near Wimbledon Common have hired security guards thanks to the wild all-night parties staged by the ball boys - plus 700 student workers - to celebrate the end of the world's premier tennis contest.

One member of the Wimbledon Common Residents' Association, said she has to cope with drunken teenagers trampling through gardens.

There is also the problem of hundreds of youngsters in need of the lavatory, so now neighbours pay for security guards at a cost of hundreds of pounds per household to keep them out.

"We think a majority have come up from the tennis," she said. "I'm not a party pooper, but why can't they have it on Henman Hill and leave the rubbish there? And the noise and defecation and urinating? It is a stain on what is an impeccable fortnight. It requires appropriate action.

"It's not that they're nasty, they're nice kids. But once they get alcohol in them they get really silly. It just gets bigger and bigger every year. The noise goes on all night, they light fires and they leave a huge amount of waste behind."

A spokeswoman for Wimbledon said no ball boys or girls would be involved as they are only 14 or 15. "We have 600 or 700 student workers and the party is something that happens every year," she said. "But it is not organised by the championships. We are sympathetic but it's something that's out of our control."

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