Wimbledon invasions of mice and men

  1. By Paul Majendie Tue Jun 26, 12:38 PM ET

    LONDON (Reuters) - Squirrels, pigeons and mice -- Wimbledon's Centre Court has attracted a menagerie of animals over the years who brought many a tense match to a halt with their unwelcome intrusions.
    Nowadays, though, It is streakers who are the bigger menace, prompting the tournament authorities last year to contemplate putting up a fence between spectators and players.
    The problem of animal intruders came to a head in 1999 when German players Boris Becker and Nicolas Kiefer were twice dive-bombed from the grandstand roof by pigeons.
    So the All England Club gratefully accepted the services of a full-time falconer to patrol the courts with a swooping bird of prey, named Finnegan, acting as a highly effective deterrent.
    Wimbledon librarian Alan Little, who boasts an encyclopaedic knowledge of tournament history, has compiled for his annual Wimbledon compendium a history of the most intriguing Centre Court invasions.
    Back in 1949, the Centre Court ball boys had to chase a squirrel off the hallowed turf while the players sat down to await the all-clear.
    Pam Shriver once had to contend with a swarm of bees. One stung her opponent, Kathy Rinaldi, on the arm and Shriver gallantly went over to remove the sting.
    John McEnroe and Stefan Edberg had their razor-sharp concentration disturbed in the 1989 semi-final by two sparrows swooping in low.
    But the humans win the top prizes for the most eccentric interruptions.
    In the 1957 gentleman's final, a Mrs Helen Jarvis invaded the court, shouting and waving a banner calling for a new world banking system.
    A female streaker first took to the court in the 1996 men's final and, since then, the publicity-seeking temptation has proved overwhelming on several occasions.
    Last year, Maria Sharapova was startled by a streaker who leapt on to Centre Court during her quarter-final against Elena Dementieva.
    She averted her gaze as he cart-wheeled naked in front of her before being bundled off court by security guards who wrapped him in a red blanket.
    "I didn't want to look at all the details," Sharapova said.
    But when told that some women spectators had been impressed by his physique, she replied: "Maybe next time I'll take a look."
  2. Lollllllllll I love Wimbledon, its such a unique and special tournament!
  3. Ahhh... Wimbledon.....hot male tennis players :graucho:
  4. I live in Wimbledon and at this time of year the scenery is very . . .pleasing!