Newspaper article Evening Chronicle (Newcastle, England)

Wimbledon's Set for Big Hen Party

Newspaper article Evening Chronicle (Newcastle, England)

Wimbledon's Set for Big Hen Party

Article excerpt

Wimbledon 2004 was getting underway today under the shadow of possible disruption by the weather.

All eyes were focused on domestic hopes with Tim Henman, the British number one, leading the cast of homegrown hopefuls at SW19.

It was wildcard Alex Bogdanovic, however, who was first under the spotlight today.

Ranked 307th in the world, the 20-year-old Briton faced top seed and defending champion Roger Federer in the first match on Centre Court.

But, with rain forecast, there was some doubt as to whether the match would start on time.

Bad weather is also forecast for tomorrow when Henman's campaign swings into action.

The Briton, ranked five in this tournament, will take on little-known Spaniard Ruben Ramirez Hidalgo.

Henman's bid for the Wimbledon title was made a little smoother by the news fourth seed Argentinian David Nalbandian had pulled out of the tournament due to an abdominal muscle tear.

He has been replaced by Peruvian Luis Horna, the 33rd seed, who has moved places, and lucky loser Stafano Pesco Solido has been given a chance.

With the 29-year-old Briton pegged at 6-1 to win this year, it won't take long for Henmania to return and grip the UK, despite competition from the Euro 2004 football tournament in Portugal.

Long queues were seen overnight in south-west London as ardent tennis fans ensured they were first in line for tickets.

Over the weekend, canny neighbours to the courts erected small marquees in their front gardens to sell drinks and snacks to the queuing public.

Security will be very evident this year with supporters having to pass through metal detectors and airport-style scanners, while police have reserved the right to body-search anyone they deem suspicious.

The number of officers on duty has been significantly increased, while staff working on site have undergone rigorous security checks. …

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