The many tennis fans who have descended upon the famous town of Wimbledon in London to witness the Grand Slam Tournament in all its glory were greeted with a strange sight, or rather sound, during a match recently.
While sounds of tennis balls hitting the rackets during service or the players’ grunts are expected, the people gathered to watch the match between Anastasia Potapova and Mirra Andreeva recently were treated to a strange popping sound from somewhere on the court.
As it turned out, someone in the crowd thought it would be a great idea to celebrate the beauty of the tournament, or just the sunny day, with a glass of champagne and decided that courtside at one of the most-watched matches in the world is the right place to do it.
The sound caught umpire John Blom’s attention who issued a polite warning, because what other kind would there be, to those sitting in court No.3, the place where the sound originated from, leading to the crowd breaking out in laughter and applause.
This is not the first time a champagne bottle cork has caused the stiff upper lips of the British elite to quiver in mild annoyance.
In 2019, a cork flew out of the stands and landed on the court during a singles match between Benoit Paire and Jiri Vesley. Unfortunately, champagne is not off-limits on the Wimbledon courtside, but it’s expected of the champagne server, or drinker, to pop the cork before entering the stands.
Other than errant champagne corks, Wimbledon umpires have to be cautious about a lot of strange things while presiding over the court. Did you know, the umpires who are umpiring at the prestigious tennis tournament have to learn curse words in every foreign language?
It might seem like a task your middle school self would take to heart and push mountains to excel at, but since tennis players are not allowed to swear at Wimbledon, the task falls upon the umpires to know, or at least keep a list of swear words in different languages handy, to catch when a player is violating the rule and report them to the tournament’s officials.
Before you rush to figure out what you can do to become an umpire (the lowest level salary is INR 25 Lakh approx), know that it’s not all fun and conveniently compiled lists of foreign swear words.
Just like the players, the umpires have to adhere to a strict dress code on the court. The badge on their jackets needs to be visible at all times. The rule says that the umpires have to walk in a line with their jackets on and with the middle button done up.
But since Wimbledon takes place in July and it can get hot, they are allowed to take their jackets off. However, they need to carry it on their left arm in a way that keeps the Wimbledon badge visible at all times.
Did someone say dream job?