At Wimbledon, It's the Grass Stupid

Kevin Lamarque / Reuters

Nets are prepared for play on Centre Court at the Wimbledon tennis championships in London June 22, 2008.

In the weeks leading up to the championships — the official name for the tournament popularly known as Wimbledon, to be held this year from June 23 to July 6 — guards patrol the grounds of the All-England Lawn Tennis and Croquet Club with German shepherds; their radios buzz periodically with static and their fingers twitch on flashlights. Electrified fences surround the courts in London's leafy southwest. Interlopers of all kinds are unwelcome. Foxes, especially.

The urine of the female fox, it turns out, is highly toxic to grass; it can wipe out whole patches of a lawn...

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