Newspaper article The Evening Standard (London, England)

Well, Is It in or Out?

Newspaper article The Evening Standard (London, England)

Well, Is It in or Out?

Article excerpt

The courts might be slowing down but the pace of change continues with naked navels, bare biceps and a Hollywood film. Kate Battersby reports on what to look out for this year

Courting the stars

The 2003 Championships will see the shooting of some scenes for the brilliantly titled romantic comedy, Wimbledon, starring Paul Bettany (who played Russell Crowe's roommate in A Beautiful Mind) and Kirsten Dunst (Spiderman).

Extensive filming at the All England Club will follow during July and August. Tennis fans anxious to discover whether they have been captured on celluloid must bide their time until autumn next year for the film's scheduled release.

Don't carry on camping

Eleven years ago, Wimbledon introduced "Middle Saturday'', inviting "real'' tennis fans to queue overnight for 2,000 Centre Court tickets. But Middle Saturday has become so popular that last year 9,000 people - 6,000 more than any other day - camped out. Safety concerns mean new measures will limit the number permitted to queue and there will be just 500 Saturday Centre Court tickets available.

Bulging biceps

You wouldn't think the sight of a chap's unclothed arm could prompt a dilemma of etiquette in 2003. But Carlos Moya and James Blake needed special dispensation from the Wimbledon authorities this year to play wearing the Nike sleeveless Tshirts they endorse.

Germany's Tommy Haas was actually banned from wearing the same garment at last autumn's US Open after officials deemed it "inappropriate''. That was the same US Open, you remember, where Serena Williams unveiled her terrifying black catsuit and the authorities thought it just fine. Strange world.

Slow motion

There was a time when British players could rely on a readymade advantage at Wimbledon. Having grown up playing on a surface alien to everyone else, Britain's finest were favoured by the super-fast grass. Not any more. The grasscourt specialist serve-and-volleyer is a dying breed, and the Wimbledon authorities are actively encouraging their doom. These days the courts are harder and the balls are fluffier, so instead of a serve skidding past at knee height it now bounces up higher, giving all the claycourt drones an extra hour or two to think through their return. Alas, poor Henman.

Dress it up, dress it down

It's a long time since Chris Evert's tiny gold necklace was seen as groundbreaking stuff. …

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