A peculiarly scorching sun had its way with the Wimbledon grass over this fortnight. But the sun also sets. Thus begins our annual roundup of passing shots from SW19, a curated much-ado-about-everything – if a bit less manicured than the Wimble-lawns themselves.
Wimbledon linesman after receiving some terrific news pic.twitter.com/oRXviDSWUZ— Quinn Sutherland (@ReelQuinn) July 4, 2017
Top-16 seeded players relish plus environs at the All England Club, while all pro and junior competitors enjoy the lush grounds. Then there are the chair umpires, line judges, ballkids and everyday fans at the 2017 Championships. For them sometimes, the struggle is real – and, alternately, times are good, even great.
Why, there was 2016 men's singles finalist, Novak Djokovic, went off on a chair umpire at one point. Counter that with another ump being sent up by (American!) tabloid media for his deep, sultry voice. (Score one for equal-opportunity objectifying at least?)
Then we saw two occasions on which a single linesman was struck by serves off the axes of Juan Martin del Potro and Thanasi Kokkinankis:
But fret not, for Princess Kate, the Duchess of Cambridge, would save us. (God save the future queen?) Kate graced the grounds more than once, appearing even mid-event to verbally volley with ballkids and watch homegrown ace Andy Murray compete gamely. She's a "real sweetheart" in Andre Agassi's estimation, and Great Britain's sweetheart every day.
Working the courts, and sometimes crouching and scampering around them, is serious work, as revealed in an espnW piece this fortnight–and Wimbledon's not-so-well-known staffing intrigues. Ballkids relished good times with stars of the sport as well, as when Victoria Azarenka welcomed a spontaneous practice partner:
Highlight of Azarenka's match was when she asked the ball girl to hand feed balls during Vesnina's injury timeout. PERFECT FORM. pic.twitter.com/k5AtnKIhpx— Blair Henley (@BlairHenley) July 5, 2017
File a few items from this Wimbledon under "Fan Problems": The inhabited of the so-called Tent Village always deserve their due. Even so, it seemed one fan inside Centre Court struggled mightily to avoid suffocating himself inside a poncho:
Famous faces emerged, including the likes of Sir Ian McKellen and Dame Maggie Smith, each captivating audiences, if not casting spells on them:
Even the Duchess of Kent, indelibly remembered for once lending her shoulder for Jana Novotna to quite literally soak with tears, was on hand. And that was just a smattering of the non-tennis elite in the stands and the royal box. (Just don't be tardy to this very particular party, Pippa and mum Carole allegedly found out.)
In closing, for those glamorous and/or famous and/or working hard, flying ants made it tough for all in attendance.
As for bugs ???? around @Wimbledon courts, it's gross but it's Flying Ant Day. Real thing in ???????? when young queens leave nest. You're welcome.— Chris McKendry (@ChrisMcKendry) July 5, 2017
That said, the dogged groundspeople and caretakers at the AELTC likely learned a lesson or two from the sun, the heat and the insects. They'll carry that into a similarly splendid 2018 Wimbledon.
Follow Jon on Twitter @jonscott9.