An annual nuisance in England became a big problem for players at Wimbledon — flying ants

Some unwelcome guests made their presence known at Wimbledon on Wednesday.

As play began on day three of the tournament, flying ants swarmed the grounds, pestering players, umpires, and fans alike. The flurry of flying ants signified “Flying Ant Day” for locals — the annual summer tradition in England when all the ants sprout wings at once and search for a new colony while humans do their best to hide inside all day.

Unfortunately for those competing at Wimbledon, hiding inside from the winged beasts was not an option, and many players saw their game significantly affected by the ambitious insects.

While the pros did their best to keep a level head and not let the bugs bother them, some athletes were having a tougher time with the ants’ interference than others. Said 10th-ranked 
Jo-Wilfried Tsonga, “That was strange. Sometimes you have them in the US at night and in Australia. This was different, it was in my nose, in my hair.”

“If it got much worse I was wanting to stop because they’re hitting you in the face when you’re trying to hit the ball,” said American Sam Querrey after advancing to the third round. “I brought it up with the umpire and he kind of laughed; ‘Oh it’s the flowers, the bugs are happy.’ He kind of shrugged it off like no big deal.”

Many on Twitter took notice of the bugs as well.

Hopefully most of the ants will have found their new colony by the start of play tomorrow.

Flying ant day at Wimbledon.
— Lee (@yelnats_eel) July 5, 2017

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