Introducing our new column highlighting the off-court news and chat from Wimbledon.
WTA Networks
July 3, 2018

Serena's lucky court?
 
Serena Williams has been known to wear the same pair of unwashed socks throughout an entire tournament, and to make sure she always uses the same shower. But does the American now have another superstition? 

Throughout last week at the Aorangi Park practice facility, and also before her first-round match against Dutchwoman Arantxa Rus on Monday, Williams regularly chose the same court to train with her hitting-partner and her coach Patrick Mouratoglou. That was Practice Court No.8, which is on the lower tier, so some distance from any television cameras, which might be among its attractions. If Williams goes deep into the draw, expect her attachment to that rectangle of grass to grow.  

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Heat strokes

Looking at the forecast for this week, there must be a possibility of the Heat Rule being invoked, which means there is a 10-minute break between the second and third sets of the women's matches. To give you an understanding of how rare is to experience extreme heat at the All England Club, that rule has only been involved twice since 1992: once in 2006 and once in 2009. 

Temperatures are predicted to rise above 30°C (86°F) with some predicting the hottest Wimbledon in history and an uncomfortable time for players and spectators. But that is still a long way short of this year's Australian Open when the heat broke 40°C (104°F) in week one.    

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Murray the mentor 

A well-known supporter of the women's game, Andy Murray is now a mentor and agent for aspiring WTA stars through his management company, 77 Group. So for all the disappointment that Murray felt on Sunday when withdrawing from the men's singles because he didn't feel his hip was up to it, he would have been pleased on Monday when one of his clients, British teenager Katie Swan, made the second round of Wimbledon for the first time by beating Romania's Irina-Camelia Begu. Murray has always taken a strong interest in the women's game and has also spoken out about equality issues. 

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Sharapova the star attraction 

When Maria Sharapova was practising at Aorangi Park the other day, she might not have appreciated that one of the spectators on the benches at the back of the courts was one of David Beckham's sons, Romeo. The teenager, who is said to be a talented player himself, was also watching ATP star, Grigor Dimitrov, who he later enjoyed hitting with. The Beckhams are regular spectators at Wimbledon and other tennis events. 

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Mothers' day
 
Victoria Azarenka and Serena Williams are among the parents who are believed to be making use of the creche facilities at Wimbledon, which is to be found at one end of the grounds in the Aorangi Pavilion. It seems to be a good omen as, like Williams, Azarenka won her opening match on Monday.

Read more: Insider Notebook: Supermoms roll on a historic day at Wimbledon