Wimbledon ball boy collapses, fans roast

A ball boy collapsed and fans took cover as Wimbledon sweltered on day three on the hottest day ever recorded at the championships.

The suncream was slapped on and fans formed long queues at the water fountains as they tried to beat the heat in sweaty south-west London.

Britain’s Met Office national weather service said a temperature of 35.7 degrees Celsius was recorded at the Royal Botanic Gardens in Kew – its nearest station to the All England Club.

That topped the previous record of 34.6C set nearly four decades ago in 1976.

The heat got the better of one Wimbledon ball boy, who was stretchered off Court 17 after passing out.

He was sent to hospital for a precautionary check-up and after treatment was “feeling much better”, the All England Club said.

Spectators sheltered under umbrellas while others folded up newspapers into hats to keep the sun off.

Some draped towels on their heads or used hand fans, while others formed lengthy queues to buy ice creams and refill their water bottles.

Former world No.1 Caroline Wozniacki handed out iced coffee to sun-baked spectators queueing to get in the grounds.

The Centre Court sliding roof was closed before play to protect the grass surface from the heat, but was reopened before defending champion Novak Djokovic got play under way.

Wimbledon officials only close the folding roof during play for rain or bad light.

However, the roof was edged out just enough to keep the royal box in the shade, where All England Club president Prince Edward, the Duke of Kent, was joined by guests and dignitaries.

Out on Court 18, France’s Pierre-Hugues Herbert sat with an ice-filled towel around his shoulders during a break in his match with Australia’s Bernard Tomic, who needed a medical time-out to get through the match and complained of dizziness following his win.

However, some players said they were used to such weather on the world tour and at their training bases.

“It’s much warmer in my hometown,” said Florida-based former champion Maria Sharapova.

Wimbledon chiefs cut the capacity at the club by 1,000 to 38,000 on Wednesday, to make more space within the grounds.

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