They might be lightning fast at covering the All England club’s playing surfaces when it rains, but Wimbledon’s streaker-response time is less impressive.
from the BBC
The first-day downpours in SW19 saw Wimbledon’s well-oiled rain drill in full effect.
‘New balls, please…’?
A few spots of the wet stuff, the umpire suspends play, the net comes down and 20 green-clad man sprint across the court dragging a tarpaulin behind them.
Total cover in about five seconds.
This efficiency, sadly (or happily, depending on your view of these things), does not always extend to covering naked intruders.
The latest example came during Tuesday’s all-Russian women’s singles quarter-final between Maria Sharapova and Elena Dementieva.
Wearing only a broad smile, a twinkle-toed interloper cooled off in the traditional manner as the temperature on Centre Court soared.
He’s one of the best DJs we have and always trying to pull a joke
Peter van der Meijden identifies streaker Sander Lantinga
He was later indentified by BBC Sport website users in the Netherlands as Dutch radio DJ Sander Lantinga, who was apparently streaking for a TV show called ‘Try Before You Die’.
Well, that’s another experience crossed off his list…
Here’s what our man Tom Fordyce made of it in his game-by-game report:
"A gift from the gods for a man writing game-by-game updates – a streaker! A dark-haired young man sprints onto the court, waves at the delighted crowd and performs a dramatic cartwheel right in front of Sharapova.
"The Russian is dismissive – she turns her back without even a hint of colour in her cheeks. Her naked suitor has a large red sheet thrown over him by security guards and is hustled off court before he can even ask for an unusual autograph."
Hmm, our man has a tendency to get a little carried away, but you catch his drift.
Surely the streaker should have been pounced on before he got to the cartwheel stage?
Sharapova certainly thought so. "It took 10 seconds for security to come out. But I didn’t really look at the guy – I didn’t want to look at all the details."
The last time a naked man made it onto Centre Court was during the 2002 men’s final between Lleyton Hewitt and David Nalbandian.
The streaker failed to put Sharapova off her stride
On that occasion, the gentleman in his birthday suit had time to hurdle the net not once but twice, so maybe Wimbledon’s security has improved.
That naked intrusion prompted veteran BBC commentator John Barrett to recall that a streaker had also interrupted the 1996 men’s final between Malivai Washington and Richard Krajicek.
But that was different, interjected co-commentator John Lloyd. "That was a better sight, that was a female."
At least this year’s male model gave Dementieva something to smile about as she was pounded mercilessly by her compatriot.
In fact, the interruption actually seemed to lift her game as she recovered from 6-1 and 4-0 down in the second set, closing the gap to 4-3.
It was only delaying the inevitable, however, as fourth seed Sharapova clinched victory three games later.
The 2004 champion is streaking towards a second Wimbledon title…
As for Mr Lantinga, he was later released by police after being cautioned for causing a minor public disorder.