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Monday, 3 July, 2000, 19:19 GMT 20:19 UK
Streaker storms Kournikova match
Streaker Mark Roberts
Bare-faced cheek: Mr Roberts says he "streaks for a living"
Tennis star Anna Kournikova and her doubles partner covered their eyes as a streaker ran onto the court during their Wimbledon match.

Mark Roberts, 35, from Liverpool, had the words "Only the balls should bounce" - a cheeky corruption of the slogan from the Russian player's sports bra adverts - written on his chest.

He jumped over the net, did a forward roll onto the grass and ran around the court for 90 seconds while the embarrassed players covered their eyes.

Mr Roberts, a serial streaker who claims to have stripped off in public 156 times, was grabbed by police officers and security guards and led off the court.

'New balls please'

As he was taken away to the police office underneath Centre Court he said: "It [streaking] is what I do for a living. But I've never done tennis before."

Roberts, who is unemployed, said he timed his streak for the moment the umpire shouted "new balls please".

Wimbledon streaker
Mad dash: The streak lasts 90 seconds

He was escorted from the All-England Club by a Metropolitan police officer.

"Every time I have done it, it is the same buzz, everyone has a laugh and it was the same this time," Mr Roberts said as he left.

A Wimbledon spokesman described the streak as " harmless prank" but said the All-England Club did not condone the practice.

Mr Roberts, whose exploits featured on a TV documentary last month, said he had deliberately stayed away from Kournikova so she would not feel threatened.

Kournikova and her playing partner Natasha Zvereva were seen to bury their faces in their towels, taking the occasional nervous peek.

Their American opponents pulled their baseball caps down and shook with laughter.

After the match, Kournikova and Zvereva - who won the match 6-2, 6-1, said they had tried to stay focused on the game.

"That is why we are probably professional athletes, we are probably used to everything around us and I was just trying to think about the match," said Kournikova.

Kournikova and Zvereva
Modest misses: The doubles pair giggle at the outburst

The streaker was bad news for bookmakers William Hill, however, who had given odds of 2-1 that there would be one during a Kournikova match.

A spokesman said: "It looks like we will lose our shirt along with him."

Serial streaker

The serial streaker first bared all during a Merseyside derby match at Liverpool 's Anfield ground in 1994.

Since then he has shed his clothes at numerous high profile sporting events and paid the price with fines totalling more than 1,200.

More recently he stripped off on comedy show Baddiel and Skinner Unplanned.

He says his ambition is to streak at the US Superbowl.

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See also:

02 Jul 00 | The BBC Team
Lloyd: Henman's in with the big boys
01 Jul 00 | The Brits
Henman races into last 16
29 Jun 00 | The Brits
Henman back on track
27 Jun 00 | The Brits
Henman overcomes first round jitters
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