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Roger Federer’s task of trying to win five Wimbledon titles in succession begins on the Centre Court on Monday, when he takes on the Russian Teimuraz Gabashvili.

It may look a less than demanding start for Federer because the 22-year-old Gabashvili is making his debut in Wimbledon. Gabashvili played in France, but he had to retire in the first round.

Federer will be the first leading player to experience the Centre Court at Wimbledon minus its roof and test his sliks before the latter stages of the tournament come.

Marat Safin, the former US and Australian Open champion whose best Wimbledon was in 2001 when he was a quarter-finalist, should be Federer’s third round opponent. Tommy Haas of Germany, seeded tenth, is likely to be in line for the fourth round followed by fifth seed Fernando Gonzalez of Chile in the quarter-finals.

Third seed Andy Roddick, who has lost in two Wimbledon finals to Federer, begins against fellow American Justin Gimelstob and has the British No.1 Andy Murray, seeded eighth, in his half of the draw.

Murray – who has still to decide whether he will be able to compete because of wrist injury – beat Roddick at Wimbledon last year. Should they meet this year, it would be at the quarter-final stage.

Second seed Rafael Nadal, who won his third successive French Open title earlier this month, begins his challenge against the world no. 36 Mardy Fish of the USA, who has twice been in the third round at Wimbledon.

Fellow Spaniard, Tommy Robredo should be Nadal’s fourth round opponent but it is the seventh seeded Czech Tomas Berdych, in his fourth Wimbledon, who could present problems to Nadal in the quarter-finals. Berdych, 21, had his best Wimbledon last year with a place in the fourth round where he was beaten by Federer.

Serbia’s Novak Djokovic, in his highest seeded place, fourth, is in line to play Nadal at the semi-final stage having been beaten by the Spaniard at the same stage of the French Open. Djokovic has the prospect of the heavy serving Croat Ivo Karlovic in the third round.

Lleyton Hewitt, winner in 2002 and the only other champion in the draw apart from Federer, is seeded sixteenth and is in the same half of the draw as Nadal. Hewitt opens against the British wildcard entry Richard Bloomfield.

(source: Wimbledon)

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As the seeds for the Wimbledon tournament have been announced for both gentemen and ladies, it is time to look at the top ones.

1. Roger Federer

The World No. 1 is a strong favorite to successfully defend his Wimbledon title. He has not lost a grass-court match since suffering a 3-6, 6-7(2), 3-6, loss to Croatia’s Mario Ancic in the opening round of the 2002 Wimbledon. He has not participated in any tournaments on grass before Wimbledon this year, deciding to rest for the big event.

2. Rafael Nadal

Rafael Nadal was the only man to take a set from Federer at the All England Club last year, where they played in the final. This year, Nadal played in Queens where he lost to Niclolas Mahut in the quaterfinal.

3. Andy Roddick

Andy Roddick has played two times in the final of Wimbledon and both times he lost to Roger Federer. Roddick, who reached successive Wimbledon finals in 2004 and 2005, lost to Andy Murray in the third round last year. Roddick ripped 24 aces and saved a match point in edging Nicolas Mahut, to capture his fourth career Queen’s Club crown this year.

4. Novak Djokovic

Novak Djokovic played in Queen’s Club, and lost to Arnaud Clement in the third round. Last year he was beaten by Mario Ancic in Wimbledon. Novak has been working hard for the grass court season, as he appointed Mark Woodford to help him prepare.

5. Fernando Gonzalez

Fernando Gonzalez played in Queen’s Club this year where he lost to the Russian Dmitry Tursunov. Last year he was stopped by David Ferrer in the last 32, which was then a big surprise as Ferrer is a clay court specialist. Gonzalez can be a threat on grass, especially because of his big forehand.

6. Nikolay Davydenko

He did not have much success on grass throuhout his career, and that is the reason he is seeded at number 6 despite being third on the ATP list. This year he played in Halle where he lost to Florian Mayer, and last year in Wimbledon he lost to Alejandro Falla (ranked 127 back then) in the first round.

7. Tomas Berdych

We will have to pay close attention on Tomas Berdych on Wimbledon as he is one of the best players on grass in the world. He won the trophy in Halle this year beating the likes of Nieminen and Baghdatis. Last year in Wibledon he defeated the likes of Fabrice Santoro and Tommy Haas, before eventually losing to Roger Federer in R16.

8. Andy Murray

The Brittish hope is still undecided whether he will participate in Wimbledon or not, because of his wrist injury. It will be hard for him to reach top gear right away, but anyway he is still one of the favourites because of his talent.

9. James Blake

Not the best of seasons for James Blake, looking the whole season. On grass he played in Halle and lost to Philipp Kohlschreiber in the quaterfinal. Last year in Wimbledon he lost to Max Mirnyi in R16.

10. Marcos Baghdatis

Atother player our eyes should be focused on, as he has great results on grass. He played the final in Halle where he lost to Tomas Berdych, and last year in Wimbledon he reached the semifinal where he lost to Rafael Nadal. Look for Baghdatis to reach one of the top spots on this years Wimbledon.

(source: tennisweek)

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Here are some interesting things that the top tennis players and coaches in the
world said:

“I would so like to be Lenny Kravitz.”
– Roger Federer.-

“Sometimes, actually, I see myself a little bit in him sometimes, you know,
talking to his coach, you know, yelling a couple of negative words towards the box,
which it’s good to see I’m not the only one.”
– Tommy Haas on Andy Murray.-

“I would honestly rather lose to the same guy twice than lose to two different guys.
I think if I lost to two different players I would think I wasn’t playing well, but with one
guy I can think ‘OK, this guy is on a roll’. It’s just easier to digest.”
-Roger Federer on his losses to Guillermo Canas this year at
Indian Wells and Miami.-

“For me it’s something that doesn’t quite fit into the schedule. It’s going to be
real tough to go from Houston all the way over to Monte Carlo, then come
back just for a week or two to train for Rome. For the Americans, that tournament
has never been exactly the easiest one in the schedule. I’m not going to be able
to make it to that one.”
– James Blake on skipping the Masters Series Monte Carlo.-

I wore that to a sixth-grade dance.”
-Robby Ginepri on Vince Spadea’s outfit in Miami.-

“I hope guys don’t go into it already beaten. That happened when Pete was around.
Guys definitely in the locker room felt like, a match against Pete Sampras,
it was time to book your flight for the next day.”
– James Blake on the intimidation factor against players facing Roger Federer.-

“The good thing about him is that he doesn’t do anything special but he wins
most of his matches easily. That means that he’s good.
– Carlos Moya on Andy Murray.-

“It’s like a book. It’s the first chapter. You don’t know what’s in the middle and
you don’t know what’s in the end. That’s what the coolest thing is. Andy has an
opportunity to make an incredible book.”
– Brad Gilbert on coaching Andy Murray after coaching Andre Agassi and
Andy Roddick.-

“The Argentineans practice on the court for two hours a day, then they must
practice in front of a mirror for two more hour saying ‘I’m not guilty.'”
– Vince Spadea on the Argentines on the men’s tour and drug testing.-

“A great coach can lead you to a place where you don’t need him any more.”
– Andre Agassi on Brad Gilbert.-

(via thetennischannel)

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The seeding for next week’s Wimbledon championships were announced on Wednesday with the All England Club again using players’ grass-court credentials to come up with their top 32. Unlike the other Grand Slams where the top 32 seeds in the men’s and women’s singles are decided purely on world rankings, Wimbledon takes into account results on grass in the past two years, particularly in the men’s draw.

For example, Tomas Berdych who is seeded seventh in the men’s event compared to a world ranking of 11.

Russian world men’s No. 4 Nikolay Davydenko drops to sixth in the seeding, meaning Serbia’s Novak Djokovic and Chilean Fernando Gonzalez go up to fourth and fifth respectively.

World No. 7 Tommy Robredo finds himself down at 11th because of his poor record on grass.

Marcos Baghdatis, a semifinalist last year, is seeded 10th, six places higher than his world ranking.

Lleyton Hewitt, the 2002 champion, was No. 16, three spots above his ranking.

Here are the seeded players:

1. Roger Federer
2. Rafael Nadal
3. Andy Roddick
4. Novak Djokovic
5. Fernando Gonzalez
6. Nikolay Davydenko
7. Tomas Berdych
8. Andy Murray
9. James Blake
10. Marcos Baghdatis
11. Tommy Robredo
12. Richard Gasquet
13. Tommy Haas
14. Mikhail Youzhny
15. Ivan Ljubicic
16. Lleyton Hewitt
17. David Ferrer
18. Mario Ancic
19. Jarkko Nieminen
20. Jonas Bjorkman
21. Juan Carlos Ferrero
22. Dmitry Tursunov
23. Guillermo Canas
24. David Nalbandian
25. Juan Ignacio Chela
26. Carlos Moya
27. Marat Safin
28. Philipp Kohlschreiber
29. Robin Soderling
30. Agustin Calleri
31. Filippo Volandri
32. Juan Monaco

(source: ESPN)

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Andy Roddick plans to see some of his favourite bands in London to make sure he hits
the right notes at Wimbledon after claiming a record-equalling fourth Artois
Championships title at Queen’s Club in London yesterday.

The second-seeded American came from a set down to overcome Frenchman Nicolas
Mahut 4-6, 7-6, 7-6 to match the achievements of Boris Becker, John McEnroe and
Lleyton Hewitt, who have also won four times here.

Roddick is expected to be one of the main challengers to reigning champion Roger
Federer at Wimbledon, but his thoughts are already turning to live music as he contemplates a week in London before the third Grand Slam event of the year.
Two of his favourite bands, Pearl Jam and The Smashing Pumkins, are playing in
London this week.

Roddick also praised his opponent Mahut, whose world ranking of 106 means he
will have to try to qualify for Wimbledon by playing at Roehampton, beginning
today against Noam Okun of Israel. The American has seen enough quality in the
25-year-old, who beat French Open champion and last year’s beaten Wimbledon
finalist Rafael Nadal as well as Ivan Ljubicic, Arnaud Clement and Jonas Bjorkman,
to believe he can be a surprise contender at Wimbledon.

(source: scotsman)

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Richard Gasquet began the defence of his Nottingham Open title on Monday by beating Vincent Spadea of the United States 6-3, 6-4.

The top-seeded Frenchman,is seeking a third consecutive title at Nottingham, a grass-court warmup for Wimbledon.

Gasquet fought back after dropping his serve early in the first set and was rarely troubled afterwards to advance to the second round.

Gasquet lost in the first round of the grass-court tournament in Halle, Germany, last Tuesday.

Also in the first round, Sebastien Grosjean of France beat fifth-seeded Dominik Hrbaty 6-3, 6-4, and Gilles Simon of France defeated Andrei Pavel of Romania 6-2, 4-6, 6-4.

Rain suspended play later in the day with Guillermo Garcia-Lopez of Spain leading Alex Bogdanovic of Britain.

The match between Wawrinka and Karlovic was postponed.

(source: IOL)

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Former Wimbledon semi-finalist Marcos Baghdatis will face fourth seed Tomas Berdych of the Czech Republic in the final of the Gerry Weber Open in Halle.

The Cypriot, who celebrates his 22nd birthday on Sunday, defeated Germany’s Philipp Kohlschreiber 7-6 6-4.

Baghdatis, who is chasing his third ATP title, beat Berdych on clay in the pair’s only previous meeting last year.

Berdych got the better of Finland’s Jarkko Nieminen 7-6 6-4 to reach the final for the second year in a row.

The Czech player, who lost to Roger Federer in last year’s final, came from 4-3 down in the second set to win.

Baghdatis was under pressure from Kohlschreiber right from the start but the German failed to take his chances, including two chances to break in the ninth game.

But the Cypriot dominated the tie-break to break three times and win it 7-1 and he then came from 0-40 down to hold serve in the sixth game and broke Kohlschreiber in the next to set up victory.

It would be a nice birthday present for Marcos Baghdatis if he could win the title in Halle.

(source: BBC)

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