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.
HENMAN humbled. Make way for Murray mania.
Scotland’s Andy Murray, 19, plays Frenchman Julien Benneteau today for a place in the third round. Glum Tim Henman fans in the queue were smiling again this morning and extolling the virtues of porridge.
With the Fed Express rolling on – Roger Federer’s crushing win over Henman was his 43rd consecutive victory on grass – Wimbledon desperately needs the Scottish teenager to progress.
A shock defeat for Venus Williams. The defending champion won her first round match with ease but, for once, lost out in the fashion stakes.
All England Club officials were smiling. For the first time in several decades there was no football on TV. This was the day for Wimbledon to claim its rightful place in the spotlight. Even prodigal son Boris Becker was back for a flying visit in a short break from World Cup commentating duties with German TV.
Sadly, no-one had told Bethanie Mattek from Minnesota. Obviously aware the nation was missing its fix of Motty, she strode on to Centre Court dressed as a seventies footballer, complete with knee-high socks, tight white shorts and chandelier earrings.
BLUE sky over Wimbledon. Even early in the morning it was sunny and hot, casting shadows over the courts.
Time for the sun cream, along with defending champion Venus Williams to make her first appearance on Centre Court.
Match of the day for British fans is scheduled last on the same court. Tim Henman has nothing to lose against Roger Federer. It’s a perfect summer’s day.
THE woman sitting behind me sighed: “Why does he do this to us?” We’d all been here before.
Having had it in his grasp, Tim Henman was on his way to losing a first set tie-break with a double fault. Suddenly the skies darkened and a chill wind blew around Court One.
Our boy eventually claimed victory at the end of five sets, but it took three hours and 14 minutes before we could be certain there would be no first round disaster.
Less than an hour into the action, those predicting the end of Henmania were looking smug. It was all of 14 minutes before the first cry of “come on Tim” finally rang out from the crowd.
Swede Robin Soderling clenches his fist a little too often for the regulars at SW19. But where was Tiger Tim’s roar – and had his public deserted him?
THE sun is out, and so are the stars. Roger Federer and Tim Henman were just two players getting some practice in before their first round matches this afternoon. An added bonus for the crowds.
There’s not much doubt about Federer’s fate today. He’s already one set up after his brief appearance yesterday. Henman’s future is less certain. If he beats Swede Robin Soderling, he faces a certain R. Federer in the second round.
A yellow ball was first used at Wimbledon in 1986. Today we’re promised something similar in the sky over Centre Court.
The sun isn’t here yet – but it’s on its way, along with a bumper day of tennis. Bet the unlucky spectators who were soaked here yesterday are delighted. They will get a full refund, not that it makes up for missing the sort of line-up on court this afternoon that tennis fans dream about. It’s going to be packed.