LONDON, July 5 (Reuters) - Rising temperatures and humidity caused an unlikely problem at Wimbledon on Wednesday as the All England Club was infested with flying ants.
Players, officials and spectators were all affected, with some - such as Croatian player Donna Vekic - even seen applying insect repellant during the changeovers in her second round match with Johanna Konta on Centre Court.
Other players who were not as well prepared as Vekic had to resort to trying to swat the insects away with their rackets - with little success.
“That was strange. There was flies, flies,” said 12th seed Jo-Wilfried Tsonga after his second round straight-sets win over Italy’s Simone Bolelli.
“It was in my nose and in my ear.”
Was it very distracting?
“It’s special, I would say,” added the Frenchman.
American Sam Querrey encountered a similar problem out on Court 18 as he beat Nikoloz Basilashvili in four sets.
“I almost wanted to stop because they were hitting you in the face when you were trying to hit balls. (They were) all over the place,” he said.
“I lost a set when the ants came. If I had won that set, probably wouldn’t have bugged me as much.”
When the ants were too tired to continue flying, they crawled around the courts, causing unsightly black patches on Wimbledon’s famous green grass.
The phenomenon behind the unlikely interruption at Wimbledon is known as ‘flying ant day’ and is triggered when a queen leaves her nest in search of a mate to start a new colony. (Reporting by Pritha Sarkar; Editing by Julian Shea)