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Wimbledon umpire warns fans about opening Champagne bottles during matches

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It’s all corking off! Wimbledon umpire warns fans about popping open their Champagne bottle after cork stopped play by flying onto the court during a third round clash

Popping champagne corks have been causing havoc at Wimbledon by interrupting play on court.

Exploding fizz meant a point had to be replayed during the third round clash between Frenchman Benoit Paire and Czech Jiri Vesely on Court 18 on Friday.

Two sets into the match, with Vesely serving, corks flew out of the watching crowd and landed on the grass.

A Wimbledon umpire had to temporarily halt a third-round match after a spectator's Champagne cork popped onto the grass court (stock photo)

A Wimbledon umpire had to temporarily halt a third-round match after a spectator’s Champagne cork popped onto the grass court (stock photo)

Umpire Gianluca Moscarella called out ‘let, let, let’, bringing play to a temporary halt as ball boys scurried across the court to collect the rogue corks.

‘Ladies and gentlemen, for both players, enjoy your champagne, but please don’t open it on the court please,’ the umpire announced.

The unusual moment was quickly shared and enjoyed by tennis fans on Twitter.

On user tweeted: ‘A let was just called on court 18 for a cork from a champagne bottle flying onto the court. You love to see it.’

Frenchman Benoit Paire and Czech Jiri Vesely were battling it out in their second set on Court 18 when the cork interrupted play. Paire won the match with three sets to one

Frenchman Benoit Paire and Czech Jiri Vesely were battling it out in their second set on Court 18 when the cork interrupted play. Paire won the match with three sets to one

While another wrote: ‘It’s all corking off on court 18. Umpire had to play lets due to two corks from champagne bottles landing on court during a rally. The crowd loved it.’

A more hair-raising moment was captured by BBC cameras, which filmed a spectator narrowly avoiding injury from an exploding cork.

The footage showed the cork blast out of the bottle held in the man’s hand and ricochet off his sunglasses.

A spokeswoman for the All England Club said: ‘It’s in the terms and conditions of entry to remove the cork before entering the court.

‘All of the courts are stewarded. Spectators will be encouraged to uncork their bottles before they move in to seats in the court.’

Benoît Paire won the match with three sets to one.

Japanese dish among most popular Wimbledon eats 

Katsu curry has been a smash hit with tennis fans at this year’s Wimbledon tournament, its head of food and drink has revealed.

Anthony Davies, who leads the culinary operations at the All England Club, said the Japanese dish was among the most popular on its expanding international menu.

‘Katsu curry has been a flyaway success,’ he said.

Other world dishes available to visitors to the grounds include Jamaican ital stew, Thai noodle stir-fry and Mexican burritos.

Mr Davies said: ‘We have a lot of international guests, as well as celebrating great British produce we also like to make sure we have authentic-tasting international dishes.’

This year’s tournament sees the debut of Wimbledon’s first ever vegan version of its famous strawberries and cream as the All England Club moves to keep pace with changing consumer tastes.

It is accompanied by a growing range of vegan dishes, such as a jackfruit curry pie or beetroot and red pepper burger.

‘Clearly across the UK in the last 12 months, the UK public and their approach to eating has changed quite significantly, there’s been a huge increase in the amount of flexitarianism,’ Mr Davies said.

‘Therefore we needed to make sure that this year we improved our offer.’

Mr Davies said the vegan options have ‘matched our expectations’ but was unable to provide figures for sales.

He added: ‘The important thing for us is choice ultimately, it was never necessarily going to be our runaway biggest seller but it is about making sure that all of our guests have a really good choice of great quality products.’

His team also provide meals to players taking part in the championships, who largely tuck into ‘pasta and sushi’.

Asked if competitors ever make unusual requests, Mr Davies said: ‘We very rarely get very unusual options, I’ve not heard of anything strange this year. For sure we’ve had things in the past.’

‘I remember somebody having peanut butter and Marmite. I couldn’t tell you who that was. In previous years there have been some strange requests.’

The majority of the ingredients used at Wimbledon are sourced from the UK, with international ingredients brought in to make dishes ‘authentic’.

Mr Davies said the All England Club was not concerned about any potential impact of Brexit on its food operations.

Last year, a record 38 tonnes of strawberries were consumed at the Wimbledon Championships, with any leftovers made into jam.

Its catering operations made 259,225 cups of tea and coffee, cooked 25,165 pizzas, sold 18,843 bottles of champagne and had 2,556kg of bananas available for players.

A total of 273,603 glasses of Pimm’s were poured and 9,998 litres of cream used.

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