Vol. 4 Num 36 Wed. July 02, 2003  

Strawberries and Cream

Spectators arriving early at court three on Tuesday were kept entertained before play began with an unusual spectacle: tennis without balls.

Makers of the movies "Wimbledon", which is being filmed during the championships, were shooting an on-court scene starring actor Paul Bettany, who stars as a British player who triumphs and finds love along the way.

Bettany unleashed ferocious serves, sweeping forehands and even drop-volleys - but all without a ball, which is being added later by computer trickery.

MAC MAKES UP WITH LINE-JUDGE Former superbrat John McEnroe has continued his march to middle-aged respectability by making up with a former Wimbledon hate-figure.

The ex-champion, now a television pundit, was seen chatting with retired line judge Raghbir Mhajan, whom McEnroe accused of bias in 1981 during a doubles match against Indian siblings Vijay and Anand Amritraj.

Mhajan - who countered the accusation by gently pointing out that while he was ethnic Indian, he came from Kenya - told McEnroe he had given up his on-court duties.

"Why now? I wanted you to give up when I was playing," was the American's half-joking response.

SCUD'S UNIQUE RECORD Aussie men's quarter-finalist Mark Philippoussis, landed a joint record at Wimbledon when he fired 46 aces past Andre Agassi, levelling former champion Goran Ivanisevic's 1997 mark set against Swede Magnus Norman.

Unlike Ivanisevic, however, Philippoussis, won his match and his ace total is the biggest ever in Grand Slam history for a player winning a match. Richard Krajicek, the Dutchman who won Wimbledon in 1996, holds the overall ace record of 49. But he lost his 1999 US Open quarterfinal to Yevgeny Kafelnikov.

CAPRIATI HAS FRIENDS IN HIGH PLACES Among the more famous fans cheering along Jennifer Capriati at the championships this year has been actor Matthew Perry, one of the stars of long-running US sitcom "Friends".

Perry, a former top junior player in his native Canada before injury nudged him towards a showbiz career, has even been seen shouting "C'mon Jen" at key points.

Perry, who is starring in the play "Sexual Perversity in Chicago" on London's West End, has also been seen cheering on Australian power-hitter Mark Philippoussis.

RODDICK IS THE FAVOURITE Andy Roddick is the bookies' favourite to land the men's title at 13/8 among London agents with Swiss fourth seed Roger Federer second favourite at 10/3.

Ladbrokes have local hope Tim Henman at 9/1, behind Australian Mark Philippoussis, conqueror of Andre Agassi, at 5/1, down from 25/1.