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Updated: 03:01 PM EDT
PREVIEW-Tennis-Wimbledon-Sharapova covets Williams family silver
By Pritha Sarkar, Reuters

LONDON, July 2 (Reuters) - Serena Williams will be aiming to protect the family silver when she faces Russian upstart Maria Sharapova in the Wimbledon final on Saturday.
Aiming to become the first woman since Steffi Graf in 1993 to win a hat-trick of Wimbledon titles, Serena will also want to ensure the Williams family name is engraved on the Rosewater Dish for the fifth consecutive year.

Venus Williams triumphed in 2000 and 2001 before finishing runner-up to younger sibling Serena the following two years.

After enduring a difficult 12 months -- during which she was sidelined for eight months with a knee injury and her sister Yetunde Price was shot dead in a Los Angeles suburb -- the American is determined to win the title this year and emulate Graf.

"I really want to be able to lift that trophy more than anything," the six-times grand slam champion said on Friday.

"That record would really be amazing for me.

"But if we have to put it into perspective, I'm pretty proud to have come through a tough year and be in the same position again.

"Everyone expects me to be in the finals and win all these grand slams but it's not that easy."

While Serena prepares to step out for her eighth grand slam final, 17-year-old Sharapova will be playing her first.

The Siberian-born teenager is the first Russian to contest the Wimbledon final since Olga Morozova three decades ago.

For 22-year-old Serena, it will also be the first time at a major final that her opponent is younger than her.

Six of her title showdowns have been against Venus, while she beat Switzerland's Martina Hingis for her first grand slam crown at the 1999 U.S. Open.

Despite being the more experienced of the two, Serena will not be taking anything for granted against the 13th seed.

"She's playing really well here and she's really focused," said Serena, who won the pair's only previous meeting in Miami earlier this year.

"When you're young, you have nothing to lose and can go for broke.

"She's a better player than she was in Miami but I'm a much better player than I was in Miami too. So it's going to be a good show."

LONG JOURNEY

For Sharapova, it has been a long journey since she arrived in the United States in 1994 with just $700 in her pocket and the dream of one day playing on the Centre Court at Wimbledon.

Ten years later, the Russian has already surpassed her expectations.

"Every time I think about getting to the final of Wimbledon, it's just amazing," said Sharapova, who left her mother behind in Russia to move to Nick Bollettieri's tennis academy in Florida as a seven-year-old.

"I knew that I could achieve many things if I worked hard and if I believed in myself but I never expected to do so well at such an early age."

At 17 years and two months, Sharapova will be the youngest finalist at the grasscourt championships since Hingis won the title as a 16-year-old in 1997.

As for her contest with Serena, Sharapova has no illusions: "She's a fighter so I'm looking forward to a very tough match."

Should Sharapova triumph, Russia will have a second woman's grand slam champion in a month following Anastasia Myskina'a success in Paris, but it will also leave the Williams household without one of the four major crowns for the first time since 1998.



07/02/04 15:00 ET

Copyright 2004 Reuters Limited
 

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Look at that: " She´s a better player than she was at Miami......but I´m a better player too!!!" Loved that line.
 

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I think the title to this article is misleading.
 

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Discussion Starter #4
Pureracket said:
I think the title to this article is misleading.
Doesn't covet mean to desire or really want something? If that's the case, then the title is correct.
 

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You're correct. I am sure she wants to win it, but I just thought the article would mention something that she says directly about winning it.
 

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eddyday said:
Its true though.

Then the question is: who improved more?! If it is Maria, then we might a match on our hands...if it is Serena, then it´s gonna be scary tomorrow.
 

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Discussion Starter #8
Pureracket said:
You're correct. I am sure she wants to win it, but I just thought the article would mention something that she says directly about winning it.
There have been other articles mentioning that she said she came to Wimbledon to win, just not this one.
 

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bandabou said:
Then the question is: who improved more?! If it is Maria, then we might a match on our hands...if it is Serena, then it´s gonna be scary tomorrow.
I don't think it is a matter of Serena improving as such...last year she was at a very high level, the pinnacle of her game, but that level dropped on her return, due to rust etc. But since then she has managed to recollect her best game, and she has now once again reached the level she was at last year.

It is undeniable that Maria's top level has certainly increased a whole lot since then.
 

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eddyday said:
I don't think it is a matter of Serena improving as such...last year she was at a very high level, the pinnacle of her game, but that level dropped on her return, due to rust etc. But since then she has managed to recollect her best game, and she has now once again reached the level she was at last year.

It is undeniable that Maria's top level has certainly increased a whole lot since then.
Well if Serena indeed has reached last year´s level then that is it for Maria really.
 
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