Wimbledon invasions of mice and men

WimbledonSquirrels, 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.

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."

Source: Yahoo News
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