Wimbledon diary: a man dressed as a trophy and grass rumours

Mid-afternoon here and one name was on everybody’s lips. How could he do this? Did he have no shame? On the other hand, even after everything, wasn’t he still a lovable rogue? Many questions were asked, but only the Diary was able to get the answers. Yes this column has the exclusive interview with the bloke who was sitting on Centre Court dressed as a Wimbledon trophy. Sorry, did you think we meant someone else?

“Everyone has just been so great about it and I never really imagined it would get this big”, says Chris Fava, aka ‘Strawberry Man’. He got the name after dressing up as a Strawberry at the Championships a few years ago and has since very much made it his ‘thing’. This year his outfit is all gold, in the style of the men’s trophy, and with the names of all the winners printed on his chest. In 30C, it is not the most comfortable outfit to be wearing and Fava admits to having cramp in his calves. “I need to hydrate,” the American says. “I think I’ve lost five pounds from sweating.”

While the diary felt sorry for the couple sitting behind Fava and his massive golden headpiece during Roger Federer’s victory over Adrian Mannarino, it is clear he is doing important work. “I want people to see something they’ve never seen before,” says Fava, the Marina Abramovic of the majors. “I didn’t even realise you could call it performance art until two years ago. But then a friend pointed it out and I thought, ‘wait a minute, that’s great!’” Perhaps, in time, Fava’s unique work will officially be recognised by Wimbledon, but until then he will keep on doing what he does.

And nobody else better get any ideas about copying him. “I like being the only one,” he says.

Length of grass debate growing tiresome

Public service announcement: will people please stop saying the grass is longer this year? Rafael Nadal started it all last week, claiming that the hallowed turf was longer than the regulation 8mm and speculating that groundsmen were “trying to protect the grass”. The theory was immediately denied by the head groundsman, Neil Stubley, in the strongest terms possible (for someone talking about grass) but on the BBC on Monday Sue Barker and co were at it again, asking whether the longer grass might benefit Nadal after all. Next thing you know they’ll be claiming the balls aren’t round. Stop it guys, it’s fake news!

‘Handmaidens of Brexit’ pay visit to Royal Box

Continuing the ‘handmaidens of Brexit’ theme in the Royal Box this fortnight, Arlene Foster was the guest of the All England Club on Monday. The DUP leader, a keen tennis fan, followed David Cameron as a guest and if there are any other Brexit grandees with time on their hands, there may still be some room left for later in the week, so do get in touch.


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