Fans have been popping bottles literally onto the famed grass courts.

By Mike Pomranz
July 08, 2019
Andy Roberts/Getty Images

Wimbledon is a bit of a perfect storm for Brits. The English love their tennis, and they love their fizz. And yet, the country’s typically dreary climate rarely provides the outdoor conditions for either. So when July hits, and the country is finally gifted with a decently sunny month, Wimbledon serves as an amazing opportunity to relieve the built-up pressure by watching tennis and popping bottles of bubbly. This year, however, the latter has been getting in the way of the former.

Champagne corks (or at least just sparkling wine corks) have proved to be a recurring manmade distraction during Wimbledon this year. On Thursday, Australian player Nick Kyrgios physically removed a cork from the court during his match with French Open champion Rafael Nadal, leading to “a slight delay,” as The Guardian reported. The paper says a cork also landed on the court during a ladies’ doubles match that same day, though thankfully it happened during a break in the action.

Players on Friday were not so lucky. In fact, the previous day’s antics only seemed to embolden the crowd. A cork pop distracted reigning Wimbledon champ Novak Djokovic as he was bouncing a ball preparing to serve, causing the world’s top-ranked player to pause while the umpire simply begged, “Please,” according to the Telegraph. And in an even worse display, two corks flew onto the grass in the middle of play during a match between France’s Benoit Paire and the Czech Republic’s  Jiri Vesely. The point had to be replayed, leading the umpire to reportedly tell the crowd, “Enjoy your champagne but please don’t pop your corks on court, thank you.”

In Wimbledon’s defense, a spokesperson for the All England Club where the event is played told The Guardian, “In our conditions of entry, it states that all corked bottles, including bottles of champagne and sparkling wine, must be opened prior to being taken into the stands of any court.” The paper also referred to this year’s the bubbly madness as “unusual.” Plus, at least part of the blame belongs to Wimbledon’s official Champagne partner Lanson: Every year, they release bottles with special tennis-themed bottle jackets that are practically begging fans to get in on the action.

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