Wimbledon qualifying match disrupted by pesky pigeon

Pigeons disrupting play is nothing new at the All England Club. (Getty)
Pigeons disrupting play is nothing new at the All England Club. (Getty)

Wimbledon doesn’t officially get underway until next Monday, but the intrigue has already started … in the form of a pigeon.

During a qualifying match on Tuesday between Amandine Hesse of France and Miyu Kato of Japan, a rather bold and pesky bird interrupted play midway through the second set.

The video features a disgruntled Hesse, who would go on to to lose the match in three sets, trying to swat the bird away and a few ball boys attempting to run the rogue creature off the playing surface.

Since this wasn’t an official match, the legendary Rufus the Hawk was not on duty to ensure avians of all kinds don’t fly onto the court. Rufus has been patrolling the skies at the All England Club for the last decade and even took on an apprentice in 2016: another Harris hawk named Pollux.

The duo patrols each day of the tournament from 5 a.m. to 9 a.m. They mainly focus on protecting Centre Court, but work in shifts on other courts as well.

Their owner, Imogen Davies, told the The Telegraph in the summer of 2016 that the unpredictable nature of avian invasion still leads to some inevitable on-court issues.

“You check the skies of Wimbledon in the morning, but you never know what’s going to happen in the afternoon, ” Davies asserted. “It won’t be Rufus’ fault if a pigeon lands on the court in the middle of the final.”

Let’s collectively wish Rufus and Pollux good luck as they fight the good fight once again this year!

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