The Wimbledon 'Battle of the Boards' pick 'em contest is now open for entries at http://www.freewebs.com/britishtennis/Competitions.html
Qualifiers have already been placed, since qualifying finished yesterday, and hopefully the fact that Nalbandian, Gasquet (yes, sadly no Numpty or Dammit to mess our picks around), Radek, Big Ivo and Ancic have all announced their withdrawals already means we aren't in for too many nasty surprises over the weekend. (I seem to remember that at this time last year, we still didn't even know whether Rafa was playing or not)
Having almost hit the 500 entrant limit at the AO, there is a chance that we might break it this time, though given that the AO tends to have the most entrants (everyone's always very keen after the end of season break!), I'll be surprised if we do.
If we do, anyone in the top 250 of the overall rankings after RG (see http://www.freewebs.com/britishtennis/pickem/ranking.htm?n=1 or the list sorted by team at http://www.freewebs.com/britishtennis/pickem/rankingt.htm?n=1) will get in as long as they enter before the deadline, but other places will be filled on a first-come first-served basis. So, if you are not in the top 250, I would suggest not leaving it until the very last minute to enter, though if for some reason you can't enter until the last minute and the list of entrants at that time shows less than 500 entrants, you'll probably still be ok.
Entries close at 11 GMT / noon UK time / 13.00 CET / 7 am US EDT on Monday, or when play starts (on any court) if the start is delayed by rain.
I am lucky enough to have tickets for the first Monday, so that and the need to catch up on work the next day means that realistically the first full results are unlikely to appear until after the scheduled end of R1 on Tuesday evening. However, we'll probably be able to get a provisional list of pick %s up on Monday evening.
When I asked whether people would prefer a Sunday entry deadline or the results appearing late, there was virtually unanimous support for the latter option and although I realise that it will be frustrating not being able to see where you are in the table for the first couple of days, there will be frequent intra-day updates from Wednesday onwards.
Please take note of the new, more detailed bit on the page that comes up after you have submitted your entry that talks about checking that your name appears on the list of entrants before the deadline and making sure one way or another (by re-entering and/or emailing your picks to us) that if something appears to have gone wrong, we know exactly what your picks are before entries close. Remember though that the list of entries is only updated about twice a day, so please don't panic if your entry hasn't appeared without checking whether it says the last update time was after you entered or not!
Obviously you can't check your entry has been received before the deadline if you submit it after the last pre-deadline update (which is likely to be before Bethan goes to work on Monday morning, I think), but if you enter that late, you're taking a very small risk anyway.
Don't worry though, this isn't a big problem - less than 0.5% of entries go astray between the entry server and us if you get the thank you for entering page (and it may be a lot less than that if some reports are from people who forgot to hit the submit button, for example), but obviously it can be very frustrating if it happens to you. That is why we publish the list of entrants to help you make sure you get an entry in on time even in the unlikely event that something goes wrong.