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2008 Wimbledon Championships

Look at players ahead of Wimbledon

21/06/2008 1:34:00 AM
WIMBLEDON is still two days away from starting, but already there has been lots of talk about the tennis classic.
I visited the All England Club this week to get reacquainted with grounds, not that I really need to.
The visit was an emotional one as it is 40 years since I played in the Wimbledon women's single final _ unfortunately losing to Billie Jean King.
How the club has changed structurally, with a roof being constructed on centre court and new number one court being developed.
They have certainly gone into the 21st century in this respect, but the tradition still remains.
As for the grass courts they look wonderful _ how I would have loved to have played on them this year.
I did actually walk on them, without my shoes of course, and felt the grass under my toes.
I spoke with the head groundsman, who told me he thought they were the best for years.
THE seedings for the men's and women's singles have been done and there are, in my opinion, a few surprises.
In the men's, Marcos Baghdatis is seeded at 10, which I feel is a bit high.
Lleyton Hewitt is only 20, which to me seems to be much too low considering his grass court record.
The good news for Lleyton is that he has been practising really well at the All England Club so should be in fine form for the start of the Championships.
The Australian women are showing good form.
Samantha Stosur seems to be regaining her form after a long layoff with illness and Casey Dellacqua has also impressed.
Alicia Molik had a tough first round loss in the qualifying, which must have been disappointing for her.
THERE might be some withdrawals of note next week.
One which seems highly likely is former Wimbledon champion Amelie Mauresmo with a thigh strain.
She has struggled through matches that she would have won easily early last year.
I feel that her retirement might be announced in this tournament.
Lindsay Davenport is another past Wimbledon champion under a cloud owing to a knee swelling after practise a couple of days ago.
She is hopeful she will be able to compete as she is so keen to play here again after the birth of a son.
If she plays and is fit, she could challenge a few of the top girls as she is so good on grass.
There are several men under an injury cloud _ Radek Stepanek and of course Andy Murray with his thumb.
ALL-TIME great Bjorn Borg has stated he believes Nadal is the one to beat ahead of Djokovic, with Federer as third favourite.
However, I am still confident that Roger Federer will win his sixth title.
There is a doubt about the courts as the weather will play a big part.
The slower the courts, the more chance for Nadal and there is a forecast for rain.
Federer needs fast courts, but I still think he can do it.
AS for the women, it is a choice between Sharapova, who is only seeded three, and Serena and Venus Williams.
The Williams sisters, despite lack of matches, always bring the cream to the top for this tournament and cannot be written off.
Sharapova enjoys and plays well on grass.
The top two seeds Ana Ivanovic and Jelena Jankovic will find it hard going against those three.
So my pick is Serena Williams to win this year's title.

* JUDY DALTON was a Wimbledon finalist in 1968, finishing runner-up to Billie Jean King (USA) 9-7 7-5
She won nine grand slam doubles titles: Australian Open: women's championship in 1964 (with Lesley Turner Bowrey), 1967 (Bowrey), 1969 (with Margaret Court), 1970 (with Court); Australian mixed championship in 1966 (with Tony Roche); French Open women's championship in 1966 (with Court); Wimbledon women's championship in 1969 (with Court); and US Open women's championship in 1970 (with Court) and 1971 (with Rosemary Casals).


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Re: 2008 Wimbledon Championships

Serena Williams

Thursday, 19 Jun 2008 00:05
Serena Williams: Two-time champion can never be ruled out
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Date of birth: 26/09/1981 (Age: 26).

Nationality: American

Height: 5ft 9in

Weight: 150lbs

Plays: Right-handed, two-handed backhand

Turned professional: 1995

Current ATP singles ranking: 7

Best Wimbledon performance: Winner - 2002, 2003

Grass court pedigree

A two-time Wimbledon winner, Serena may not have picked up as many grass court titles as her sister but is still a deserving champion on this terrain.

Her power game has brought yet more speed to what was already one of the game's fastest surfaces. Furthermore, Williams' strength and agility allows her to cover all corners of the court. She is a formidable opponent for any player on the other side of the net.

Wimbledon seeding: 6

Chances of SW19 success?

Williams has played eight Wimbledon championships, won two of them in the singles and picked up another two doubles titles.

Although she has not won this tournament now for five years the Amazon-like American is still one of this generation's Wimbledon greats and one to watch.

Prediction: Quarter-finalist

Both of the Williams sisters are going through a relatively-dry patch, considering their dominance of yesteryear. Although Serena was the 2007 Australian Open champion, she crashed out of this year's tournament in the quarter-finals and was beaten in the French Open by the 27th seed.

Prone to injuries – it was a back spasm that nearly knocked Serena out in the fourth round of last year's Wimbledon – and having diversified into other commercial ventures, Serena has not won a major title in a while.

However, she is still one of this generation's tennis greats with a good few years left in her career. Provided Serena finds her hunger for winning she could go far this year.


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Re: 2008 Wimbledon Championships

Venus, Serena in opposite sides of Wimbledon draw

Wimbledon, England (Sports Network) - Venus and Serena Williams, who have combined for six of the past eight Wimbledon titles, have been placed in opposite sides of the draw for this year's championship.
Venus Williams, the defending champion and four-time winner of tennis' most prestigious event, is this year's seventh seed and will open play against British wild card Naomi Cavaday.
Serena Williams, who beat her sister for back-to-back Wimbledon crowns in 2002 and '03, is the sixth seed. She will face Estonia's Kaia Kanepi in the first round.
Top-seeded Ana Ivanovic of Serbia is in Serena's half of the draw, but the two cannot meet until the semifinals. Ivanovic, coming off a French Open title, will take on Paraguay's Rossana De Los Rios in the first round.
Serena's path to the semifinals, though, has some potential danger. She could face 2006 Wimbledon champ Amelie Mauresmo of France in the third round, while last year's runner-up, 11th-seeded Marion Bartoli of France, could be a fourth-round opponent. Fourth-seeded Svetlana Kuznetsova of Russia is a possible quarterfinal matchup for Serena. Kuznetsova lost to Venus in last year's quarterfinals.
Ivanovic, who lost to Venus in the Wimbledon semifinals last year, doesn't appear to have much difficulty early. France's Nathalie Dechy could be a second-round opponent, while a possible fourth-round foe could be Hungary's Agnes Szavay.
Eighth-seeded Russian Anna Chakvetadze, 12th-seeded Swiss Patty Schnyder and 18th-seeded Czech Nicole Vaidisova loom as quarterfinal matchups. Ivanovic beat Vaidisova in last year's quarterfinals, saving three match points to advance.
Venus doesn't appear to have much early trouble, although she could meet Serbia's Jelena Jankovic in the quarterfinals. The second-seeded Jankovic will tangle with Olga Savchuk of the Ukraine in the first round.
Third-seeded Maria Sharapova, the reigning Australian Open champ and 2004 Wimbledon winner, will open against French qualifier Stephanie Foretz. Her possible quarterfinal opponents include fellow Russian stars Elena Dementieva and Dinara Safina, or American veteran Lindsay Davenport.
Davenport, the 25th seed and 1999 Wimbledon champ, will play Renata Voracova of the Czech Republic in the first round and could meet the fifth-seeded Dementieva in the third. The ninth-seeded Safina, coming off a runner-up finish at the French Open, will meet Yung-Jan Chan of Taiwan in the first round. Play begins at the All England Club on Monday.


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Re: 2008 Wimbledon Championships

Wimbledon women's seed report

Story Highlights
  • Jelena Jankovic is the "Best Player Never to Have Won a Slam"
  • Barring injury, Maria Sharapova ought to sail through to the semis
  • Can new star Ana Ivanovic make it two Slams in four weeks?

Ana Ivanovic took the French Open title, but can she sustain her success at Wimbledon?

SI.com's Jon Wertheim breaks down the men's and women's seeds at Wimbledon. Read on for the top first-round matchups, dark horses to keep an eye on and his predicted winners.
1. Ana Ivanovic: Can the WTA's new star make it two Slams in four weeks? With her booming serve and forehand, she's a tantalizing pick. But between the exhaustion factor and AI's modest track record on grass, we prefer Sharapova.
2. Jelena Jankovic: Now that Ivanovic has left the club, "Hammering Jank" becomes the "Best Player Never to Have Won a Slam." We're unapologetic fans of her character and disposition; but at some point she needs to take that proverbial next step.
3. Maria Sharapova: First, does it really make sense to seed her below Jankovic, who holds only the slimmest points lead and has nothing close to Sharapova's track record at WB? Anyway, MS is eager to exorcise the disappointment of France and quell Ana-mania. It says here the well-rested Russian regains her throne on the lawns. Barring injury, she ought to sail through to the semis. Then, it's about guts.
4. Svetlana Kuznetsova: One of the few contenders who bothered with a tune-up event -- yet that was unsuccessful. Koozie has the game and athleticism to win any event she enters, but seems to lack self-belief right now.
5. Elena Dementieva: Steady Russian blew her best chance for a slam this year in Paris. Her serve -- vulnerable to begin with -- is particularly dubious on grass. There are also the lingering questions about confidence. Tough draw has her playing hot prospect Bacsinszky and then Davenport just to get to the fourth round.
6. Serena Williams: If the body and mind are willing, she could easily win on the lawn. But that can be a big condition, especially given how "off" she looked in Paris. Third rounder against Mauresmo is intriguing.
7. Venus Williams: She's won four of the last eight Wimbledon titles and she's seeded seventh? What? Not much in the way of encouraging results coming in, but since when has that meant anything? As always, pick against her at your own peril.
8. Anna Chakvetadze: Here's a stock on the decline. The great untold story: How has Chakvetadze's off-season trauma affected her tennis?
9. Dinara Safina: An intriguing player, even before her run to the final in Paris. She probably lacks the movement to win big on grass, but she's playing top five ball lately.
10. Daniela Hantuchova: A no-show at the French, Hantuchova is a fine grass player but there are lingering questions about whether her brittle body can hold up.
11. Marion Bartoli: A finalist last year, Bartoli was enduring a miserable year, but seems to have found a second life on grass. Won't replicate last year's run -- even if Connery, Brosnan, Moore and Dalton all sit behind the baseline -- but she could certainly live up to her seeding.
12. Patty Schnyder: Loopy lefty consistently underperforms on grass.
13. Vera Zvonareva: As always, props on resurrecting her career. But the Lachrymose One may well lose off the bat to a solid Casey Dellacqua.
14. Agnieszka Radwanksa: The "Brassy Pole" lacks the weapons to threaten the Big Guns but remains a feisty fun-to-watch player. Tough first rounder against Benesova but keep an eye on her.
15. Agnes Szavay: A Jankovic in the making, Hungarian tends to overplay -- 14 events already this year! -- and undercut her chances with fatigue. Still, the breakthrough will come soon.
16. Viktoria Azarenka: Here's a player to star in your program. The pride of Scottsdale is probably not ready to win majors; but she's a powerful striker who knows what to do when she can convince herself to head netward.
Seeds 17-32

17. Alize Cornet: It's unclear if she has aptitude on grass, but the vectors are certainly headed in the right direction. As opposed to ...
18. Nicole Vaidisova: One has to believe this brutal slump will eventually end.
23. Katarina Srbotnik: Fresh off a big win over Serena Williams in Paris, Srbotnik is perhaps the best volleyer in the women's game and ought to do well on grass.
25. Lindsay Davenport: One wishes she entered in better health. But any former winner -- even if it's nearly a decade later -- deserves consideration.
29. Amelie Mauresmo: See above. Her game and focus have drifted, but she did win the darn tournament two years ago!
Alona (28) and Katreryna Bondarenko: They both can move, they both can volley and the latter won a tune-up.
Dark-horse nation

Sabine Lisicki: Big serving German could be dangerous.
Sam Stosur: Attacking Aussie is back after battling illness.
Timea Bacsinzky: Swiss prospect generating significant buzz.
Tamira Paszek: Second weeker in 2007, Austrian teen appears destined for top 10.
First round matches to watch

Alize Cornet v. Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova: Two of the better teens out there.
Lisicki vs. Bartoli: Tough first rounder for Bartoli, the defending finalist.
Mauresmo vs. Ashley Harkleroad: Miss August draws former champ.
Serena Williams vs. Kaia Kanepi: Can rolling Estonian continue inspired play from Paris?
Blue plate upset special

Casey Dellacqua to beat Patty Schnyder
Doubles winners

Ai Sugiyama and Katarina Srebotnik

Ivanovic vs. Serena Williams
Sharapova vs. Venus

Sharapova vs. Serena


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Re: 2008 Wimbledon Championships


Is subtlety (yawn) making a fashion comeback?

Updated: 06/20/08 6:39 AM

Tennis season is upon us, and in the next paragraph we will begin musing about Serena Williams, her classy style transformation and whether something goes missing with all that newfound good taste. But before addressing those subjects, it’s necessary to pause and pay homage to Rafael Nadal, his recent victory in the French Open ... and his guns of steel, highlighted by his sleeveless, green Nike shirt.
Williams did not fare as well as Nadal in the French Open, and neither did her older sister, Venus. Perhaps their mojo will return in time for Wimbledon later this month. But despite Serena Williams’ third-round flameout, one couldn’t help fixating on how her appearance has changed.
She has gotten rid of the long, Goldilocks mane of flagrantly fake hair that did her complexion no favors and replaced it with a dark, more natural-colored and youthful bob. When she was photographed on the court at Roland Garros, she wasn’t playing in a pair of chandelier diamond earrings more appropriate for a cocktail party. She
was wearing heart-shaped buttons –albeit glittering ones.
There were no slick black hot pants or trompe l’oeil go-go boots. She still showed style panache on the court, but mostly in traditional tennis whites.
Williams, 26, has not lost any of her sex appeal, as evidenced by her swimsuit pinup pose on the cover of the July issue of Ebony. She is wearing a lilac one-piece bathing suit and standing at an angle that shows off her tush in all its glory. If anyone needs clarification of what a 5-10, hourglass, brick house, buns-of-steel figure looks like, see Ms. Williams.
The tennis star still aims to be glamorous, but she has added subtlety to the mix. She is not pure, undiluted va-vavoom. A little dilution has been beneficial.
While there was a lot to criticize about Williams’ former look, including that it made her look cheap, one can’t help but mourn the loss of its indulgent impudence. Coco Chanel once said that “elegance is refusal,” which sounds like a diplomatic way of saying you have to give up champagne to fit into the cocktail dress. Which makes the party sound like it won’t be worth the effort.
Now that Williams has turned away from Barbie hair and skintight rompers, the ranks of those who have transformed trash couture into a signature have thinned. (By trash couture, we don’t mean someone prone to occasional fashion fumbles, the Glamour Don’ts or the philosophy that comfort should be the only guide to getting dressed. That’s laziness, not intent.) There is a place in our hearts for the true fashion debacles epitomized by hall-offamers such as Cher, Lil’ Kim and the soon-to-be-inducted Tila Tequila, who regularly treats her breasts like party favors.
None of these women has a style that one should emulate, but there is something intriguingly shameless about their attitude. They have not heeded the wisdom of a fancy stylist who might lecture them on class and dignity. They are seemingly unembarrassed by the taunting captions accompanying their photographs in tabloids. They can cheapen even the most expensive designer frocks with their own special magic.
They’re like the loud, unruly guests at a sedate party that has all the right ingredients but still isn’t any fun. They’re wonderful, unabashed ridiculousness. You love them, although you don’t really want to have anything to do with them.
Simon Doonan, the creative director of Barneys New York, celebrates and encourages these types of characters in his book “Eccentric Glamour.”
“Even if you walk down the street wearing a gold leotard with your lesbian aunt Sylvia’s mauve nylon fanny pack cinching your midriff, nobody is judging you. Some people may not even notice you. Most people will be enjoying you.”
Of course, Doonan lives in New York. But still, he makes a good point.
As the fashion industry has become increasingly more democratic, with good taste and smart design available everywhere from Kohl’s to Neiman Marcus, it has also gotten less exciting. A Seventh Avenue-approved, somewhat boring sensibility permeates all levels of the market. People actually have to work pretty hard before their appearance elicits: “Whoa! That’s messed up!” Even if the result isn’t admirable, they should be thanked for giving folks a chuckle.
Fashion needs its loose cannons to serve as reminders that style is meant to be a reflection of personality and mood. So relax. Perhaps that personality is dysfunctional or desperate for attention, but either is more interesting than a wallflower in wrinkled khakis and white polo shirt or a plain black dress with white stockings and sensible pumps.
These fashion kooks are exhibitionists; they’re rebels; they are true believers in their own fabulousness. And maybe they simply have a wonderful sense of humor about themselves and life. They’re willing to be misfits — and even better if they can profit from it.
This is not a call for Williams to go back to gnarled hemlines and hair the color of straw. It is simply the hope that in cleaning up her fashion act, she’s still having fun, still has her sense of humor and, most important, still has her game.

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Re: 2008 Wimbledon Championships

A look at the ladies' drawFriday, 20 June, 2008 Written by Barry Newcombe

Venus Williams celebrates
©Empics / M EgertonIf Venus Williams is to defend her Wimbledon title, the huge challenge of second seed Jelena Jankovic stands in her way at the quarter-final stage.
Williams will remember all too well that Jankovic, the number two seed this year, beat her in the third round in 2006. The 23-year-old Serb has been a semi-finallist at both Grand Slams already this year.

Williams, who won her fourth title last year and has been playing in the tournament since 1997, begins her defence as the seventh seed against the British wild card, Naomi Cavaday, on the Centre Court.

One bonus for Williams is that her sister Serena, twice a champion and the sixth seed this time, is in the opposite half of the draw. The only way they will meet is in the final.

Jankovic opens against the Ukranian Olga Savchuk and her first serious test against a seeded player could come if she plays the 13th seed Vera Zvonareva, of Russia, in the fourth round.

Ana Ivanovic, of Serbia, playing at Wimbledon for the fourth time but the first as world No.1, begins against the 102nd ranked Rossana de Los Rios of Paraguay. The eighth seed, Anna Chakvetadze, is a potential opponent in the last eight.

Maria Sharapova, a former champion and third seed this year, has a prospective quarter-final against fifth seed and fellow Russian Elena Dementieva, who was a quarter-finalist two years ago.

Sharapova begins against qualifier Stephanie Foretz of France and is in the same section of the draw as French Open runner up Dinara Safina, who starts Wimbledon as the ninth seed.

Last year’s runner-up Marion Bartoli, of France, begins against Sabine Lisicki of Germany. Fourth seed Svetlana Kuznetsova of Russia, three times a quarter-finalist, begins against a French qualifier Mathilde Johansson and can look forward to taking on Serena Williams in the last eight.

Serena Williams begins against the Estonian Kaia Kanepi but a more formidable opponent could come in the third round where former champion Amelie Mauresmo is looming.


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Re: 2008 Wimbledon Championships

Serena Williams: Diamonds Are My Best Friend

Fri, 20 June 2008 at 1:27 am

Tennis superstar Serena Williams (in Matthew Williamson) dons $2 million worth of diamonds at the Sony Ericsson WTA tour pre-Wimbledon party held at London’s Roof Gardens on Thursday.
Her look was masterminded by celebrity hairdresser Stuart Phillips and luxury jeweler Neil Duttson, known as the Rock Doctor.
Serena and sister Venus are among the favorites when the tournament begins Monday but some critics question their devotion to the sport.
“They have a lot of things going on with their life,” said their mother and coach, Oracene Price. “Sometimes you never know what’s going on in their head, especially girls.”
20+ pictures inside of Serena Williams dazzling in her diamonds…


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Re: 2008 Wimbledon Championships

Venus Williams hungry for fifth Wimbledon title

By Mark Hodgkinson

Last Updated: 8:44am BST 20/06/2008

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There are occasions when Venus sounds as if she's from Pluto. This was Venus earlier this year talking about improving her tennis: "I'm always trying to take it to another level, regardless. If I'm playing on Cloud Nine, I'm trying to get to Cloud 10 and, actually, Cloud 11." But put Venus Ebony Starr Williams on the Wimbledon grass, and the Californian with the kooky air suddenly assumes all the hard focus and killer instinct of a CIA operative.
In pics: Women's seeds | Top 10 Women's Finals
Wimbledon: Eaton adds to British contingent
Wimbledon's main arena back under cover Focused: Venus Williams back to defend her Wimbledon titleWilliams is totally at home on the All England Club's greensward. "The traditions at Wimbledon are great, they're really awesome, but I'm so focused, especially when it's the final, that I don't worry about all the traditions. I just want to get my hands on that plate. There's a real mental intensity that I walk out there with," said Williams, 28, the greatest grass-court player of her generation and defending champion, who will be attempting to win the Venus Rosewater Dish for the fifth time. "It would be a dream to win Wimbledon for the fifth time. I want to win as many Wimbledon titles as possible, and I've been racking up a few, which has been amazing. You don't really believe that it's happening."
A sleek, long-limbed athlete who rakes the ball through Centre Court, Williams won her first Wimbledon in 2000, a second in 2001, a third in 2005 and then made it four last summer, when she was clumping the ball with enough pace to make Frenchwoman Marion Bartoli's wrist sting.
"I was trying to get the one at first, and that was exciting enough. But, of course, I'm trying to take it all. I look at the four titles differently, as I remember the different challenges. I feel as though I really understand how to play on grass, probably better than any player on tour right now, so that's a big advantage. I love being the defending champion. It's good to know when you are going to play, that it's going to be on that first Tuesday, but best of all is the feeling that you won the year before. But you just have to start with a clean state and go for it again." And "go for it" she will; that she has had an average year on the Sony Ericsson Tour so far can probably be consigned to the dustbin marked 'irrelevant'.
But Venus didn't find it so easy winning a 'Venus' last year. "Oh my gosh," she suddenly cried out, recalling with some horror the soggy fortnight when galoshes and Macs would have been more useful than trainers and whites.

"It rained the whole time, and I was sick for the last four rounds. When that tournament was over I was finally allowed to feel bad, and even to say it. I just felt tired - you know, when you get sick, your energy goes down and you can't play at 100 per cent. It was a mind and a matter thing, but it was an amazing turnaround."
The Williams troupe, led by little sister Serena, got her through. "I had some tough matches, which my family got me through from the box, just telling me that I could do it. Some of the time you need that. I had been playing well going into the tournament, and then in the first round I couldn't really keep a ball in. I was so disappointed. My family just keep saying, 'You can do it'. And that really helped."
In the last 12 months, Williams - a devout Jehovah's Witness - has tried to become more spiritual. "I'm always changing, always growing up and always learning. I'm always trying to understand more things about my spirituality, that's probably the main change.
Calendar: ATP and WTA Tour fixtures "I study, and when I'm at home, I go to meetings. I guess the worst thing about me is that I'm an over-achiever type, but I'm getting that under control, realising that there are only so many things that I can accomplish. And I'm late a lot. Not too late, but late enough to make it irritating. You know, 10 or 15 minutes, and I'm thinking to myself, 'I should really be there'. The best bit about me is that I keep positive, I love life and I have a lot of fun."
It has long been fashionable in tennis to write off the Williams sisters; to say that Serena has become distracted by her acting, or that Venus has spent too much time working on her fashion line, Eleven.
Venus exposed"I've been working on the fashion line since I graduated last year from school. I actually have education in fashion design, so I bring knowledge and ideas to it. At the same time, I have my personal style, which people have seen on court for the last few years. So it's classic, but it's fun at the same time." And she likes to prove wrong those detractors who suggest that her tennis takes a distant second to frocks, and that she isn't the force she once was.
"If people do want to say that, it's all good and well, but it doesn't cancel any self-belief that I have. And, essentially, I know that if I've been working hard and I'm healthy, then I feel as though I can go out there and win another Wimbledon title if I do the right things on court." Now that doesn't sound so obtuse. And few will be surprised if she does win again. Men are from Mars, and the women's champion at Wimbledon tends to be called Venus.
Greats of the modern era
Martina Navratilova (9 titles)
1990, 1987, 1986, 1985, 1984, 1983, 1982, 1979, 1978
Steffi Graf (7)
1996, 1995, 1993, 1992, 1991, 1989, 1988
Billie Jean King (6)
1975, 1973, 1972, 1968, 1967, 1966
Venus Williams (4)
2007, 2005, 2001, 2000
Chris Evert (3)
1981, 1976, 1974
Maria Bueno (3)
1964, 1960, 1959
Maureen Connolly (3)
1954, 1953, 1952
Louise Brough (3)
1950, 1949, 1948


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Re: 2008 Wimbledon Championships

Serena will miss old rival Henin at Wimbledon

Thu Jun 19, 2008 9:53pm BST
By Martyn Herman
LONDON (Reuters) - Former world number one Serena Williams said she was sad that her old adversary Justine Henin will be missing from Wimbledon this year.
The American was knocked out by Henin at the quarter-final stage last year having beaten the Belgian on her way to winning the title in 2003.
Their 13 career meetings were often prickly affairs, especially a bad-tempered French Open semi-final won by Henin in 2003. Williams also turned out to be a sore loser when she was beaten by Henin in the U.S. Open quarter-finals last year.
But following Henin's sudden retirement from the sport last month, Williams said she would miss their rivalry.
"It's sad that she's not going to be at Wimbledon this year," Williams, who features in a new $15 million (7.6 million pound) marketing campaign unveiled by the Sony Ericsson WTA Tour in London this week, told Reuters.
"She was great competition and the tournament will miss her. But then again it opens up the draw a bit for someone else to do a little better."
Williams won consecutive titles in Bangalore, Miami and Charleston earlier this year but struggled during the European claycourt season, losing in the third round at Roland Garros to Slovenia's Katarina Srebotnik.
Her early exit in Paris at least allowed her some time off and to prepare thoroughly for Wimbledon.
"It was nice to have a bit of time off and I've had a lot of time on the grass," Williams, who had back trouble in Rome this year, said. "I'm feeling great and very positive.
"It's been a while since I won here but I still think, along with my sister (Venus), I'm the one to beat on grass. Hopefully I can hang in with her."
Williams is seeded sixth at Wimbledon, one place higher than Venus who will be defending her title.
The Williams sisters were among 30 players featured in the WTA Tour's "Looking for a Hero" campaign which will be rolled out across 75 countries over the next 18 months.


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post #10 of 147 (permalink) Old Jun 20th, 2008, 10:58 PM Thread Starter
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Re: 2008 Wimbledon Championships

June 19, 2008

Wimbledon is always in fashion for Venus Williams

Venus Williams

div#related-article-links p a, div#related-article-links p a:visited {color:#06c;}Wow ... it has been a quick 12 months since I was here last! So much has happened. Let's see, I graduated from Fashion Design School, launched my own clothing line, bought a new dog (Harold ... he's very cool), went to India for the first time and so much more. Sometimes the weeks seem like a blur until all of a sudden you have these moments in time where everything pauses.
Coming to Wimbledon is one of those times for me. I think it happens once my bags are packed and I am on my way to the airport. Everything slows down and I realise that I am going to a place that I've dreamt about as long as I can remember. This sensation really hasn't changed much over the years.
I'm sure part of the intrigue has to do with the uniqueness of the All England Club and how the history of our game has been preserved here. The positive feelings have also increased over the years as Wimbledon has become the home of so many fantastic memories for me and my family.
My preparation in the weeks preceding Wimbledon has not varied much in recent years. I have taken the weeks off after the French Open to spend time at home in Florida. The objective has remained the same - rest my mind and body and fine-tune my game. The ultimate goal is, of course, to ensure that I am well prepared for Wimbledon as well as for a competitive summer season that follows. I have learnt that being prepared often-times means balance.
Training is important ... but I also use this time to rest and rehab any problem areas, spend quality time with friends and family, catch up on reading, work on design sketches, check in on some of my business projects, get up to speed on the new gossip and then, before you know it, dive head-first into one of the busiest times of the year that includes Wimbledon, the Olympics, the US Open and soon thereafter the season-ending championships.
Balance for me means not too many social or business commitments and resisting the temptation to play too many tournaments. Essentially, getting myself to a point where I am well prepared to compete at the highest level during the most critical time. Balance sometimes means I have to turn down things that I would otherwise love to do, like fun trips, great social events and other opportunities. But finding balance also means that I make time to do things that interest me and keep my mind active.
So - what exactly have I been doing the last few weeks? Practice and workouts five or six days per week with my dad, hitting partner and often-times Serena. A few nice dinners with friends where we talk about life, always some good scoop and always laughs. I walked by my bookshelf the other day and saw a book that I had been promising myself I would read for years, Sphere by Michael Crichton. I finally opened it and it is an amazing suspense thriller that takes place mainly in the ocean. I mean I really haven't been able to put it down ... don't worry, I won't spoil the plot! I also caught up on my magazine reading and the fashion trades. I like reading about the current fashion trends.
Recently, I have been following designers like Blumarine (they have great prints); Pinko is a great European brand that has recently come out with some really fun collections; Ralph Lauren is a master of classics with a modern twist.
Watching the overall trends in the fashion industry provides insights for me as I continue to develop my own clothing line, EleVen by Venus Williams. At some point during my off weeks I make sure to spend time trading ideas with the EleVen design team and reviewing the latest updates. Just last week the design team came to visit me in Florida and showed me concepts for spring 2009.
The design process makes my mind spin and I really enjoy trading new ideas and creating a direction that will excite our customers. In a nutshell, EleVen targets active women who want to look great in all parts of their active lifestyles - whether they are at the gym, market or dinner. Evolving this strategy is a thrill and an extremely enjoyable part of my life.
Before heading off to London, Serena and I shot a commercial for one of our new sponsors that will begin running at the end of this summer. We did the commercial with two American football stars and it is VERY funny.
Now that I have arrived in London, I am announcing a new photography book project today. The book merges two of my favourite topics - tennis and fashion. The concept was developed with acclaimed fashion photographer Koto Bolofo, who travelled with me throughout 2005. It is a collection of photos that capture on-court images at tournaments (including an insider's look at my 2005 Wimbledon victory) and off-court photos that capture artistic/fashion-oriented themes and relevant cultural experiences.
There is a Suzanne Lenglen-inspired fashion shoot in Forest Hills, in Paris we did a surrealistic shoot inspired by Josephine Baker, in London we did a shoot in a home that quickly reminds you of The Great Gatsby, we did a Seventies-themed shoot in Harlem, Koto joined me on the Bosphorus Bridge in Istanbul, where the tournament organisers arranged for me to play across a net that divided the European and Asian parts of Istanbul. Since Koto had many of these great ideas, I feel like I'm allowed to say how much I really love this project.
Of course my life is not all fun and fashion. While these activities are a nice “escape”, the responsibilities of my “day job” are not ever too far away. Beyond preparing to defend my Wimbledon title, my Wimbledon commitments include supporting the All England Club and WTA by participating in important press events and other obligations.
This evening I will attend an event to promote the launch of a new WTA marketing campaign which will be hosted by Sir Richard Branson. Tomorrow, it's more practice and then a media round-table with the international press for the Wimbledon defending champion. On Saturday more practice and Sony Ericsson WTA Tour player meetings. On Sunday a press conference attended by the defending champion and, of course, more practice. Sunday afternoon and Monday will be more practice and rest and Tuesday at 1pm it is show time!
Venus Williams will be writing for Times Sport during Wimbledon. See her blog at elevenbyvenus.com

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Re: 2008 Wimbledon Championships

http://sports.inquirer.net/breakingn...babes'Glam Slam' Wimbledon showcases million dollar babes

Agence France-Presse
Posted date: June 18, 2008

LONDON -- With their supermodel looks and superpowered tennis, Ana Ivanovic and Maria Sharapova are braced for a multi-million dollar battle of the babes at Wimbledon. Ivanovic, who deposed Sharapova as world number one after her breakthrough French Open triumph, has earned just over five million dollars in her career so far, a figure dwarfed by the Russian's 12 million.
But a victory here on July 5 will surely boost the army of corporate callers desperate for an endorsement from the 20-year-old Serbian with the girl-next-door charm.
When Sharapova won Wimbledon as a 17-year-old in 2004, her bank account swelled virtually overnight and, with an estimated 23 million dollars in off-court earnings alone, she is comfortably the world's richest sportswoman.
A Sharapova-Ivanovic final would be a heaven-sent opportunity for the women's tour to step out of the shadow of a men's circuit driven at breakneck speed by the rivalry of Roger Federer and Rafael Nadal.
Such a final would also provide a fascinating contrast in personalities between Ivanovic, with her permanently sunny optimism, and Sharapova's steely determination.
Both have an ingrained competitive streak forged from the harshness of their childhoods.
Sharapova famously left her mother behind in Russia to make the grade in Florida while Ivanovic practiced tennis in an abandoned swimming pool during lulls in the NATO bombing of Belgrade before leaving for Germany.
"It makes you stronger," said the Serbian who was a semi-finalist here last year.
Sharapova, who beat Ivanovic in the Australian Open final in January for her third Grand Slam title, has not returned to a Wimbledon final since her 2004 triumph over Serena Williams.
She was a semi-finalist in 2005 and 2006 and a fourth round loser to eventual champion Venus Williams last year.
The Russian comes into Wimbledon on the back of another French Open disappointment where she squandered a match point before losing to compatriot Dinara Safina in the fourth round.
"The great thing about being a tennis player is that there are some opportunities that you're going to get during the year, and it's really up to you to take those opportunities," said Sharapova who had been hoping to fill the void left by the shock retirement of Justine Henin.
"But don't get me wrong, I'm going to work hard and it will eventually pay off."
Ivanovic's fellow Serbian, Jelena Jankovic, is now the world number two but has never got beyond the fourth round at Wimbledon while Russia's Svetlana Kuznetsova, a former US Open champion, can only boast a quarter-final place.
That leaves the intimidating presence of the Williams sisters one of whom at least has featured in seven of the last eight finals.
In 2007, Venus surprised many observers, and probably herself, by winning a fourth singles title and making history as the lowest seeded player (23) to take the trophy.
Little sister Serena has won the title twice although the most recent was 2003.
Three of Venus Williams's four Wimbledon wins have been achieved in the immediate aftermath of a demoralizing first week setback at the French Open.
After losing in third round in Paris to Italy's Flavia Pennetta this season, the 27-year-old believes she can again turn the disappointment to her advantage at the All England Club.
"I get extremely upset about the result, and then I work even harder," said Williams.
"Whenever I lose a match, I definitely think about what I need to do better. I think if my opponent can make a shot I can make a shot too."

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Re: 2008 Wimbledon Championships

Updated: June 19, 6:55 AM ET
Game's top stars looking for retribution at Wimbledon

By Sandra Harwitt
Special to ESPN.com

It's a new fortnight. It's a different Grand Slam.

And that signals there'll be a number of smiling faces among players on the WTA Tour who think gliding on grass at Wimbledon is far more appealing than coasting on clay at Roland Garros.

Certainly, it can be taken for granted that three of the top 10 players will be giddy when they arrive at the All England Lawn and Tennis Club only two weeks after the close of the French Open.

Maria Sharapova, the No. 2 player in the world who picked up the first of her three Grand Slam titles at Wimbledon in 2004, has a game that translates well to a faster court. So does defending champion and No. 7 Venus Williams, who has already won on the great lawn four times during her career. And No. 6 Serena Williams, the back-to-back Wimbledon champion in 2002 and '03 who owns a more natural grass-court game, could use a confidence boost after her shocking third-round demise at the French Open.

Though Sharapova and the Williams sisters might have experience and the right type of game for the surface, another strong candidate -- recently crowned French Open champion Ana Ivanovic --- must now be considered a potential Wimbledon victor this year. Along with collecting her first title at a major, Ivanovic delivered Serbia its first-ever world No. 1 player after her dazzling performance in Paris. Ivanovic appears more dauntless than before, certainly more so than she did during her first two Grand Slam final appearances at the 2007 French Open and 2008 Australian Open.

"The favorites have to be Sharapova, the Williams sisters, but I think you have to throw in Ivanovic now," said Mary Joe Fernandez, a former Wimbledon semifinalist and current ESPN commentator. "I think that Ivanovic is in the mix. She has to be feeling very confident, reaching the semis there [Wimbledon] last year and just winning the French.

"But it's hard to go against Venus. She's proven how her game rises when she's on the grass."

But neither of the Williams sisters nor Sharapova reached the French Open quarterfinals. Of the three, it would be remiss not to put the biggest question mark next to Serena Williams' name after she showed little fight during her loss to Katarina Srebotnik. Plus, the younger Williams has not gone beyond the quarterfinals in her past five majors since winning the 2007 Australian Open title. Will she have gotten past her demoralizing French Open loss and be fired up to restore her reputation, or will she be ready to head home practically when she arrives in London?

"I don't know," Fernandez said. "I think the grass really rewards the big serve, big hitter, so she should be better without the longer rallies and having to be patient. I think the big thing is she has to control her nerves a little bit and not show them on the court."

Other top-10 entrants who bear watching at Wimbledon are No. 3 Jelena Jankovic, a fellow countrywoman of Ivanovic, and recent French Open finalist Dinara Safina, who has a potent game  and, at times, a hot temper to match.

The other name that seems to come to the surface is 1999 Wimbledon champion Lindsay Davenport. A three-time Grand Slam champion, Davenport is a surprise consideration under the circumstances -- the SoCal native had been assumed to have retired from the game when she announced in December 2006 she was pregnant. She gave birth to her son, Jagger, only 15 days before the start of the 2007 championships.

"I say watch out for Lindsay, she's going to be a dangerous floater," Fernandez said. "I don't really see her winning, but she's definitely the dark horse from the lower-ranked players. It depends on the draw, whether she comes up against a Maria, Venus or Serena early on."

U.S. Davis Cup captain Patrick McEnroe said he thinks the American women will perform well at Wimbledon. "We have Venus and Serena, who should be champing at the bits to play well there. It will be nice to see Lindsay back there, and I think she'll have a good tournament as well. And we'll get to see how the younger players perform, as it's a good opportunity for them."

Recently retired Justin Gimelstob added, "I think Lindsay Davenport has a good chance or Sharapova. I think those two. Many people think Venus and Serena. But I think Davenport is a great dark horse this year."

Four teens ranked within the top 20 -- No. 14 Agnieszka Radwanska of Poland, No. 15 Agnes Szavay of Hungary, No. 16 Victoria Azarenka of Belarus and No. 17 Alize Cornet of France -- are also bound to be scrutinized depending on their travels through the draw.

Nevertheless, it seems that the prevailing opinion is that when the 2008 Wimbledon women's champion is feted on Centre Court on Saturday, July 5, it will be a woman who already has her name etched onto the famed Venus Rosewater Dish trophy.

Sandra Harwitt is a freelance tennis writer for ESPN.com.

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Re: 2008 Wimbledon Championships

Sisters in search of magic

Serbs sizzling as Venus and Serena arrive undercooked as ever The Williams sisters arrive at Wimbledon with little match practice under their belts. Photograph: I Walton/Getty

Once again the women's tournament looks to be the Williams sisters against the rest of the world. Between them, they have won six of the eight Wimbledon championships played this millennium. This suggests that the pair should be heavy odds-on. Instead, you can get 3-1 the second favourite, Serena, and 8-1 the fourth favourite, Venus.
Certainly, they have little recognised form. Venus has done no better than a semi-final in Bangalore this year, but that has not prevented her succeeding in the past. Asked if it was as easy as it looked just to show up and win, the four-time champion laughed and said she had a magic button which she pressed every year.
The rest of the world's side is heavily dependent on Serbia. Remarkably the world's number one and two, also Wimbledon's number one and two seeds, are from there. 'What we have achieved for such a small country is amazing, especially with our financial status,' said Jelena Jankovic, the number two. 'Now we have made it, hopefully we will motivate the younger kids and inspire them. Hopefully we'll have better facilities in the future to help the younger generations develop their games, so they don't have to go to other countries to train.'
The number one, Ana Ivanovic, won the French Open after growing up in Switzerland; Novak Djokovic, the men's number three, won the Australian Open having been fine-tuned in Germany; and those who look to symmetry believe Jankovic, who went to the US, can be the third Serb to win a grand slam in successive tournaments.
Jankovic was at the Bollettieri academy at the same time as Maria Sharapova. 'I remember that we were so skinny,' Jankovic said. 'We were young, very, very small girls. We were all fighting against each other - we all wanted to win. It was a big battle, a lot of competition.'
So was the French Open and she was ill after it - 'I was sick for 10 days' - although she is in rude health now and has her game up and ready. 'It's very important, the first two shots - the serve and return - and who gets the first strike.' To win, she may have to defeat Venus in the quarter-finals, Sharapova in the semi-finals and Ivanovic in the final. A tough hat-trick.
Ivanovic has been on a high since winning her grand slam, becoming number one and meeting the Serbian president. 'I think I have very, very powerful shot, so my game suits grass well. But there are some things I have to improve. I'm trying to come also more forward, play some volleys, which is very helpful here.'
Asked about the favourites, she mentioned the Williams sisters and Sharapova. Her path is potentially easier, although a semi-final against Serena may have to be negotiated.
The bookies' favourite is Sharapova, who has lost twice in the semi-finals and once in the fourth round since her victory in 2004. After this year's French Open defeat to Dinara Safina, she took an unscheduled holiday. 'I went back home and gave my body and mind a little rest,' Sharapova said. 'I have to be smart about scheduling. Within 24 hours of my loss, I was in a local café with a cook book.' She favours Italian recipes.
'I think I saw an interview of myself after I won Wimbledon. I was so excited. This little innocent girl. It was really funny.' Now more mature, she is 2-1 against to beat her main threats: 'Obviously, the Williamses and the two Serb girls.'

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Re: 2008 Wimbledon Championships

Venus Williams ready to weep over fifth Wimbledon triumph

1 day ago
LONDON (AFP) — Venus Williams admits she will shed tears of joy if she wins Wimbledon for the fifth time this year.
Williams rarely loses control of her emotions on or off the court but succeeding at Wimbledon again would leave the usually ice-cool American a blubbering wreck.
No tournament means more to Williams than Wimbledon and the prospect of holding aloft the silver Rosewater Dish awarded to the winner of the women's singles is already on her mind.
"Of course I think about what a fifth title would be like," she said. "But I know that I'm gonna have to work for it. I'm willing to pay that price.
"I'm definitely not a crier. I'm the happiest winner ever, but I think maybe I would even cry if I do it."
The world number seven has been present at the traditional Wimbledon champions dinner twice in the last three years, with 2007's final victory over Marion Bartoli firmly establishing her as one of the best grass-court players in the open era.
Williams's love-affair with the lush lawns of south-west London began back in 2000 when she won Wimbledon for the first time. She has reached the final six times in all and the romance shows no signs of dwindling.
"I just think it's the ultimate place to play your best tennis. The most wonderful tournament to win would definitely be here. I've been blessed to do well a few times here, so that feels obviously very good. I just love it here. It's good for my game too," she said.
"It's always extremely exciting coming back as the defending champion. It's nice to have the memories from last year all kind of flowing into this year.
"Really just all the wonderful times I've had here on the court, too. But I've also had really great times with my family and my friends here. So I think just the combination of memories on and off the court."
With such a formidable grass-court pedigree it's no surprise that Williams can't wait to kick-off her title defence at the All-England Club on Centre Court on Tuesday.
Her confidence is high enough that scouting out her first opponent - British wildcard Naomi Cavaday, who came close to beating Martina Hingis at Wimbledon last year, is well down her list of priorities.
"I don't know a ton about her (Cavaday). The fact that I'm playing a woman from here, I don't necessarily put that into the equation," she said.
"Obviously I'm excited about playing on Tuesday at 1pm. That's always the ultimate honor in tennis. I'm going to try to enjoy that moment and bring my best tennis.
"I think the advantage is that you won last year and it will never be taken away from you. It will always be yours, and you can hug the plate at night if it gets cold!"
Despite the fine form of French Open champion Ana Ivanovic, Williams, who will play doubles with sister Serena, believes her biggest rival for the title will probably come from her own family.
"I have the most respect for Serena as a player on tour. Definitely I see her as a player who can produce any shot at any time from anywhere," she said.


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Re: 2008 Wimbledon Championships

Wimbledon: Serena Williams claims sister Venus is on fire

By Rory Smith 22/06/2008

Reigning champion Venus Williams is in such devastating form even her sister is desperate to avoid facing her at Wimbledon.

Serena Williams has twice beaten Venus (right) in Wimbledon finals but even she reckons there is no one who can stop the older Williams lifting a fifth title in SW19 when the Championships start this week.

Serena said: "Venus has really been killing me in practice. I just hope I don't have to play her this year. This tournament brings out the best in her. She gets on grass and she starts playing just like Pete Sampras and I just can't handle her.

"But whoever wins the tournament will have the surname Williams, of course." That prospect has been made slightly more likely thanks to last month's shock retirement of world No.1 Justine Henin.

But Williams - seeded sixth for the tournament - thinks Wimbledon and the WTA tour in general will be no weaker because the Belgian is missing.

She said: "Justine was not at the level of someone like Tiger Woods in golf where she was so far ahead of a lot of players.

There are a lot of stars who can step in, like Ana Ivanovic at the French Open. It's disappointing to lose a champion but from Justine's point of view, the best place to go out is on top."

And Williams insisted she has no plans to follow Henin's example any time soon, adding: "I have no plans to retire - I love what I do.

"I maybe don't love practising but I still wake up in the morning and think about tennis. For Venus and me, tennis is still number one."


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