Wimbledon: Andy Murray's opponent falls foul of flying ant day as he's spotted eating bugs on Centre Court

Wimbledon players have complained about the bugs flying into their noses, ears and mouths

Luke Brown@lukedbrown
Thursday 06 July 2017 09:26
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Wimbledon 2017: Flying ants cover the courts

The All England Club braced itself on Thursday morning, hoping to avoid a repeat of the flying ant invasion from the day before, after staff, officials and ticket holders were all bothered by the pests.

But it was the players who were most bothered by the bugs, with Johanna Konta and Jo-Wilfried Tsonga both admitting they had unwittingly eaten a few of the ants.

Dustin Brown – who lost to Andy Murray on Wednesday – was even recorded inadvertently eating one of the bugs as he walked out onto Centre Court for his second round match.

Rising temperatures and humidity caused swarms of ants to make themselves at home in every nook and cranny of the All England Club.

French umpire Kader Nouni was seen slapping his face as he tried to squash the irritants, while Croatian Donna Vekic was spotted applying insect repellent during the changeovers of her match against Briton Johanna Konta on Centre Court.

However, other players who were not as well prepared tried to swat the insects away with their rackets - with little success.

"I definitely have taken home a few both in my belly and in my bags," sixth seed Konta said after squeezing past Vekic in a three-hour thriller.

So had she swallowed a few?

"I'm pretty sure I have."

Flying ants have terrorized The Championships (Getty )

With the temperature soaring, the sticky conditions seem to have given the flying ants the perfect opportunity to spread their wings.

"That was strange. There was flies, flies," said French 12th seed Jo-Wilfried Tsonga after his second-round win over Italy's Simone Bolelli.

"It was in my nose and in my ear."

Tsonga was spotted battling the bugs

American Sam Querrey encountered a similar problem out on Court 18 as he beat Nikoloz Basilashvili in four sets.

"I almost wanted to stop because they were hitting you in the face when you were trying to hit balls. (They were) all over the place," Querrey said.

"I lost a set when the ants came. If I had won that set, probably wouldn't have bugged me as much."

When the ants were too tired to continue flying, they crawled around the courts, causing unsightly black patches on Wimbledon's famous green grass.

The phenomenon behind the unlikely scenes witnessed at Wimbledon is known as "flying ant day" and is triggered when a queen leaves her nest in search of a mate to start a new colony.

The colony sends out a large number of swarmers because only a very small percentage make it through mating to start a new generation.

Additional reporting by Reuters.

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