FORMER Wimbledon champion Maria Sharapova was involved in a security scare this afternoon after a streaker invaded Centre Court.
The 19-year-old Russian looked shocked and then turned her back as Dutch DJ Sander Lantinga, 29, leapt out of the crowd behind the umpire.
His naked invasion came 39 minutes into Sharapova’s quarter final with Elena Dementiava when she was 3-0 up in the second set.
The millionaire tennis star immediately turned to face the back court netting as Lantinga did a dance and cartwheel just a few feet away, part of a stunt for a TV show called Try Before You Die.
It was a full 10 seconds before two court attendants eventually appeared with a red sheet to escort him away. Spectators in the 13,700 crowd cheered and applauded. But the Wimbledon authorities have launched a full investigation.
FEELING a little down after Murray misery and penalty nightmares?
Spare a thought for our American friends. After their soccer team finished bottom of Group E in the World Cup, USA sports fans had hopes of better things at Wimbledon.
But as Independence Day dawned this morning, there was not a single American left in the main draw, their worst performance since 1911.
That, and the hangover from yesterday’s Caledonian calamity, was reflected today in the queue for daily tickets along Church Road – the shortest so far during the 2006 Championships.
ANDY Murray threw his bottle of water towards the bin on Centre Court and missed. It was that sort of day.
From the very start, it was clear this was likely to end in yet more tears for British sports fans. Even during the warm up, he looked out of sorts.
At the best of times, the 19-year-old Scot can appear passive and subdued. But this was serious. No spark. No hope.
“Andy, you can do better,” shouted a female admirer in the crowd just minutes before he lost the second set. He was as bad as he had been good on Saturday. The fans simply couldn’t believe it.
WEEK two and a genuine British sporting sensation to lift the nation. There was huge excitement among the crowd as Murray swept aside Roddick in the battle of the Andys.
The Scot voted it the best win of his career. We could all do with more of the same Murray magic this afternoon after an emotional sporting weekend.
Andy has revealed on his website how he was woken up at 3am on Saturday by fellow Scot Sean Connery, who was calling from the Bahamas to wish him luck against Roddick.
Failing to recognise the number, a stirred but not shaken Murray didn’t answer. He picked up the voicemail message in the morning.
“There’s nothing cooler than being woken up by James Bond,” said the young 007 fan, who hopes to fire a few more thunderballs down on Centre Court today.
A much needed day off for the players and officials, including a Manchester tennis fan who might one day make it to the Wimbledon final.
It’s game set and match for aptly-named line umpire Justin Latham. He is working here after an invitation which came out of the blue.
Former tennis player Justin, 34, a business analyst who had no previous experience of officiating, could have been forgiven for exclaiming: “You cannot be serious?”
ANDRE Agassi was tearful after his emotional farewell to Wimbledon today.
Minutes after waving a last goodbye to the Centre Court crowd, the former champion, who retires after the US Open, was in reflective mood.
Sitting in the press interview room, he talked about what he would miss most about SW19. “The people. All my friends, all the relationships I’ve developed here, the familiar faces, the love they have for the sport. It’s that one ball kid that looked at you a certain way – people working here,” he said in a soft voice.
“It’s been a privilege to be out there again for one last time. I’ll look back at this as one of my most memorable experiences. This means as much as winning…saying goodbye.”
Scorching Super Saturday at Wimbledon. The blinds are down and it’s hot, hot, hot. Temperatures are set to hit 31C (88F).
By 3.30am there were 1,858 people in the queue. At 5am that had risen to 2,322. And by 8am a total of 5,931 tennis fans were waiting in the sun.
Those who enjoyed a lie-in and arrived after 9am had almost certainly had a wasted journey. A total of 7,500 tickets were on daily sale this morning. That’s made up of 1500 seats – 500 each on Centre, No 1 and No 2 courts – plus a further 6,000 ground tickets.
At 9.30am stewards reported the queue had hit a figure of 8,073 people, meaning 573 latecomers already faced disappointment when the gates opened an hour later – with thousands more flooding towards SW19 behind them.
SIR Trevor McDonald is to host a new look series of This Is Your Life. He was obviously on a scouting mission today.
The former News At Ten man is said to be after David Beckham for the first ITV1 red book special. But sat to my right on Centre Court during Andy Murray’s emphatic final set, he might have been lining up a first reserve
With the Scot 4-1 up and cruising to victory, Sir Trevor had seen enough. He dashed off down the exit steps to give his bosses the News At 4.37pm: Murray Wins.
EXPLETIVE alert. The boy is back on Centre Court this afternoon and under strict instructions to mind his language.
Scot Andy Murray resumes two sets to one up against Julien Benneteau having let his frustration get the better of him as the light faded last night.
Mum Judy will, no doubt, have given him a stern telling off for the swear word he let fly on live TV, forcing the BBC into a quick apology.
Victory could set up a Scotland v England clash tomorrow. Murray is due to play American Andy Roddick, a match which might be on court at the same time as England play Portugal – 4pm kick off – in a certain other tournament.
Sports fans here tomorrow won’t be able to see the England quarter final. It’s not being shown on any of the Wimbledon screens, especially not the big one on Murray Mount.
But there are also hundreds of TVs in the press centre – one on each desk – with minds of their own. Each has 29 channels of live tennis, stats and info, plus access to the main TV networks. No doubt a fair few will be turned over to events in Gelsenkirchen.
We’ve already been told that window blinds will be pulled down for “health and safety reasons” to prevent a build up of crowds outside peering through to watch.
PRIDE of Scotland Andy Murray scared the pigeons off court this evening and almost did much the same to Frenchman Julien Benneteau.
But fading light halted the match at 8.52pm after a late rally by his opponent. Murray mania rolls on into tomorrow afternoon when Andy will resume two sets to one up. If he prevails, American No 3 seed Andy Roddick awaits on Saturday.
Fiery Scottish teenagers aside, events in SW19 so far this year have been overshadowed by the World Cup. It’s a tale of two sports, and the boys with the big ball are winning. Even Boris Becker has shunned his second home to follow the football for German TV.
BBC TV Wimbledon commentator Andrew Castle says British tennis could do with serving up a working class hero like Wayne Rooney.