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post #1 of 245 (permalink) Old 06-21-2006, 08:39 AM Thread Starter
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*** Vamos Rafa at Wimbledon!!! ***

Since Rafa is back in London, and the seedings are to be announced this afternoon, I thought it was about time to start the Wimbledon thread...may it be long.

From the official site:
Nadal Looks Ahead to Wimbledon

Monday, 12 June, 2006

The most sensational teenager in tennis is no more. Rafael Nadal arrives at Wimbledon all grown up at the age of 20, firmly entrenched as the world number two, a second French Open title under his belt, and surely not satisfied yet. Rich as he is in charisma and sheer star quality, he is richer still in talent. His extraordinary physique is matched by mental musculature few can equal. Fanciful as it seems to think he could pose any serious threat to Roger Federer on the lush lawns of SW19, there is a school of thought which believes that the young Majorcan might be capable of much on grass.

The fact that his grasscourt form will not rival his 60-strong match winning streak on clay should not obscure the sense that Nadal could do plenty on the green stuff. True, twelve months ago his triumph at the French Open could not bounce him beyond the second round at the All England Club, but in his only previous appearance in 2003 he became the youngest man since Boris Becker in 1984 to make the third round. In any case, there is plenty of time yet for the player who has already achieved so much. Other players’ testaments speak volumes.

“The guy is nothing short of phenomenal,” states Tim Henman. “He hits the ball so hard, he’s exciting to watch and he’s immensely charismatic. Every sport needs a leader, a figurehead, and he’s that person.”

John McEnroe agrees.

“He is going to be one of the great players,” says the three-time Wimbledon champion. “He’s so fired up and that’s what the sport needs – a guy who loves to be out there. He plays to the crowd, and I love seeing that.”

It would be entirely understandable if young Nadal were very impressed with himself indeed. But not a bit of it. He still lives at home with his parents and sister, where his mother chides him to tidy his room. He has said will be very happy if at the end of his career he has enough money to buy “a little house.” He might just manage that, although another wish may prove more elusive: “I just want a nice quiet life with no attention.”

Anonymity tends not to go hand in hand with blazing achievement on a world stage. However, Nadal began 2005 outside the top 50, yet by its end only Federer superseded him in the rankings. He won 11 tournaments, including eight on clay, the most for any player in history. No teenager has earned more prize money than the $3.87 million (about £2.2 million) amassed by the Spaniard. Yet injury saw the year end in frustration, and he has spoken of being moved to tears watching Federer win the 2006 Australian Open – a tournament Nadal was forced to miss thanks to a nagging foot problem which ruled him out for four months until February.

But he came back with the proverbial vengeance. In March, only the fifth match of his return saw him line up against Federer in the Dubai final. An utterly thrilling encounter brought Nadal back from a set down to take the title, ending a 56-match winning streak on hardcourts for the world number one. Further sensational victories over Federer followed in Monte Carlo, Rome and of course Roland Garros. Six times in seven encounters the young swashbuckler has overcome the Swiss. Nadal, it seems, is the only player on Earth who has Federer’s number.

“Most of the guys who are set up as Federer’s rivals are not his rivals at all because they can’t beat him,” observes former Wimbledon champion Pat Cash. “Nadal is different. He manages to get under Federer’s skin and produce nagging doubts deep inside his brain.”

Whether Nadal can do this at SW19 remains to be seen. But there are plenty who want to find out, including Nadal himself.

“Who knows what will happen?” he says of Wimbledon 2006. The fun starts here.

Written by Kate Battersby

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post #2 of 245 (permalink) Old 06-21-2006, 08:42 AM
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Re: *** Vamos Rafa at Wimbledon!!! ***

Uh oh, so you think we need a separate thread for Wimby. Yeah, probably.
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post #3 of 245 (permalink) Old 06-21-2006, 08:47 AM Thread Starter
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Re: *** Vamos Rafa at Wimbledon!!! ***

^^^ What's that supposed to mean?

From the BBC:
Nadal fit for Wimbledon campaign

World number two Rafael Nadal says he has overcome the shoulder injury which forced him out of the Stella Artois Championships and is fit for Wimbledon.

Nadal withdrew from his Queen's Club quarter-final against Lleyton Hewitt.

"I pulled out as a precaution after I started to feel some pain, but now I have overcome the problem," Nadal told Spanish newspaper AS.

"All I am thinking about now is playing at Wimbledon again. I have a week left to prepare myself well."

Nadal will play Finland's Jarkko Nieminen and Australian Mark Philippoussis in two exhibition singles matches at this week's Marsh Classic at the Hurlingham Club in London.

But the French Open champion does not believe he is ready yet to go on and add to his Grand Slam total at Wimbledon.

"I need to take it one game at a time. My only objective is to improve my play on a surface I find difficult, and I don't expect to go far," Nadal added.

"In the short term I am focusing on having a good tournament, working hard to prepare myself to be able to win there in the future.

"I don't think I will leave as champion this year but we will see what happens."

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post #4 of 245 (permalink) Old 06-21-2006, 08:50 AM Thread Starter
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Re: *** Vamos Rafa at Wimbledon!!! ***

From The Ledger:
Published Monday, June 19, 2006

Names in the Game

By The Associated Press

French Open champion Rafael Nadal said he is limiting his ambitions at Wimbledon to improving his performance on grass.

Nadal is recovering from a shoulder injury that forced him out of the Queen's Club tournament last week,

"In Wimbledon, I have to think about it game by game and not beyond that," he told the sports daily As in an interview published Monday. "My only objective is to improve my play on a surface I still find difficult, which is grass, and I don't expect to go far, much less win"

A sore shoulder forced Nadal to pull out of the Queen's tournament Friday during the quarterfinal match against eventual winner Lleyton Hewitt.

"I pulled out as a precaution because during the match with Hewitt I started to feel some pain, although I have overcome the strain now," Nadal said.

"All I am thinking about now is playing at Wimbledon again," he said. "I am very excited and really looking forward to it but there's still another week so now what I have to do is prepare well and then we'll see what happens.

"In the short term I am focusing on having a good tournament. But of course I am working hard to prepare myself to be able to win Wimbledon in the future," he said. "But I'm not thinking I will end as champion there this year."

Wimbledon begins next Monday.

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post #5 of 245 (permalink) Old 06-21-2006, 08:52 AM
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Re: *** Vamos Rafa at Wimbledon!!! ***

they should give him the no.2 seedings

hahah, nadal is really too humble, wants to buy a small house , he can buy 100

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Re: *** Vamos Rafa at Wimbledon!!! ***

From The Herald Sun:
Searching test for both Scud and Nadal

Leo Schlink

MARK Philippoussis is the unlikely testing material for Rafael Nadal's suspect left shoulder -- and the Spaniard's Wimbledon aspirations.

Wildcard entrant Philippoussis will confront world No. 2 and French Open champion Nadal at the Hurlingham Club tomorrow night in what shapes as a vital clash for both men.

While the match is little more than a Hopman Cup-style exhibition, plenty hinges on the contest for both.

For Philippoussis, again hoping to compete as a world-class grasscourter, Nadal presents the ultimate examination of the Victorian's fragile fitness.

And for Nadal, Philippoussis brings a unique contrast of styles with his bullocking volleying and ballistic serving.

Nadal yesterday confirmed his Wimbledon participation as his mentor, Carlos Moya, and former All England Club champion Lindsay Davenport withdrew from Wimbledon.

Moya is plagued by a shoulder ailment. while Davenport, absent from the French Open, has a back problem.

Serena Williams (knee), Taylor Dent (back) and Guillermo Coria (elbow) are the other major casualties.

Nadal's recovery, however, is a windfall for Wimbledon given the young left-hander's ballooning profile.

Nadal succumbed to his shoulder injury at the Stella Artois Championships on the weekend when locked at 6-3 3-6 with eventual champion Lleyton Hewitt.

"I pulled out as a precaution after I felt some pain, but now I have overcome the problem," Nadal said in Spain.

"All I am thinking about now is playing at Wimbledon again.

"I am very excited and have a week left to prepare myself well. After that we'll see what happens."

A second-round departure at Wimbledon last year, Nadal holds modest hopes for next week. "I need to take it one game at a time," he said.

"My only objective is to improve my play on a surface I find difficult and I don't expect to go far.

"In the short term, I am focusing on having a good tournament, working hard to prepare myself to win there in the future.

"I don't think I will leave as champion this year."

The website for this event: http://www.marshclassic.com/

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post #7 of 245 (permalink) Old 06-21-2006, 08:57 AM
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Re: *** Vamos Rafa at Wimbledon!!! ***

Originally Posted by mallorn
^^^ What's that supposed to mean?

Btw, I'll have a holiday on Friday so I won't be here for the draw. I'll be back home on Saturday to check the draw though. I hope he won't get a tough server up first.
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Re: *** Vamos Rafa at Wimbledon!!! ***

Have a good time on Friday, Maria!

Rafa'll need a decent draw. *fingerscrossed* Does anyone know if the draw will be online like at RG?

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post #9 of 245 (permalink) Old 06-21-2006, 11:13 AM Thread Starter
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Re: *** Vamos Rafa at Wimbledon!!! ***

Rafa's been named the second seed.

From Reuters:
Wimbledon-Nadal named second seed ahead of Roddick
Wed Jun 21, 2006 11:48 AM BST6

By Bill Barclay

LONDON, June 21 (Reuters) - Spain's Rafael Nadal was named second seed for the Wimbledon men's singles on Wednesday, ahead of American Andy Roddick.

Claycourt specialist Nadal has never been beyond the third round of the grasscourt grand slam while Roddick has been runner-up the past two years to Roger Federer.

Unlike other grand slams Wimbledon organisers use a formula taking into account past grasscourt performances to decide seedings rather than purely following the ATP rankings.

Nadal is second in the ATP rankings having just won his second successive French Open. It means he cannot meet defending champion Federer, the top seed, until the final. Roddick, who is ranked five by the ATP, will be third seed at Wimbledon and could therefore meet Federer in the semi-finals.

The top five women's seeds are the same as in the WTA rankings. France's Amelie Mauresmo is top seed, followed by Belgians Kim Clijsters and Justine Henin-Hardenne, Russia's 2004 champion Maria Sharapova and her compatriot Nadia Petrova.

Defending champion Venus Williams is seeded seven, five places higher than her WTA ranking. China's Li Na is seeded 28, becoming the first player from her country to be seeded in a grand slam singles draw.

No British player is seeded in the men's singles with Greg Rusedski, Andy Murray and four-times Wimbledon semi-finalist Tim Henman all too far down the rankings.

Wimbledon fortnight starts on Monday.

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post #10 of 245 (permalink) Old 06-21-2006, 11:38 AM
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Re: *** Vamos Rafa at Wimbledon!!! ***


Erm Ania, I don't think the Wimby draw will be online like at RG. At least it doesn't say so anywhere. The traditions and stuff.
And that's all it says on the official site:
The draw for the 2006 Championships will be held at the All England Club at 10.30am on Friday 23 June in the main press interview room, located in the Millennium Building.
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post #11 of 245 (permalink) Old 06-22-2006, 03:45 AM
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Re: *** Vamos Rafa at Wimbledon!!! ***

I think it helped rafas cause to get the number 2 ranking because of the fact that Roddick lost at Queens this year on top of only being number 5 in the world. Hmm I wonder is it good that Rafa is 2nd rather than 3rd?? I mean it gives an outside chance of a Wimbledon Rafa-Federer final haha With Rafa in 5 hahaa (What a dream for me but he will have to work waayyy too hard to make the finals this year)
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post #12 of 245 (permalink) Old 06-22-2006, 11:30 AM
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Re: *** Vamos Rafa at Wimbledon!!! ***

he is not really expecting that he will win in wimby..he's main goal is to improve his grass experience... but who knows .. maybe this yrs wimby will be RAFA's ( crossing my fingers)

well we will see what will happens..as RAFA was saying...." lets see what happens"

im glad both of my fave tennis players are playing....

i like RAFA and ANDRE

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Re: *** Vamos Rafa at Wimbledon!!! ***

vamos Rafa show them you can also be a great gardener

-4 RG, what else?-A WIMBLEDON

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Re: *** Vamos Rafa at Wimbledon!!! ***

From ESPN:
Updated: June 22, 2006, 11:39 AM ET

The transition from clay to grass a difficult one

By Greg Garber

The transition from the red clay of Roland Garros to the green grass of The Queen's Club was an abrupt one: Less than three hours. That was how long it took the sleek Eurostar to deliver Rafael Nadal from Paris to London.

"Very fast," Nadal explained. "Very, very fast."

After winning seven matches in the French Open -- the last one a resounding four-set victory over No. 1-ranked Roger Federer -- Nadal was exhausted. Yet he dragged himself out onto the practice court at Queen's.

"I want to feel the grass," Nadal explained. "But I feel a little bit dizzy on court. The legs very tired. Is not easy."

Which begged the obvious question from the assembled media: Is it silly to have Roland Garros and Wimbledon -- two of the four Grand Slams, separated by all of 15 days -- so close together?

"Yes," said Nadal. "Always is the same question. But, for sure, yes. It's different. The points always very short, just one ball. So is different.

"Different sport."

On clay, Nadal has been literally unbeatable; Federer was his 60th consecutive victim. On grass, Nadal is ordinary. His record at Wimbledon is a modest 3-2. Federer, on the other hand, has won 41 straight matches on grass, tying the record Bjorn Borg set from 1976 to '81.


Because clay -- which slows the ball, increases hang time and extends points -- plays to Nadal's uncanny ability to retrieve and his unmatched endurance. Because Federer's genius is better complemented by grass, which plays far quicker.

The two surfaces, though both creatures of nature -- together, they are your front yard -- could not be more different. The grass season for men and women comprises 10 tournaments over a scant five weeks. That's 35 days in a calendar of more than 325.

Not surprisingly, players struggle with the transition.

For Martina Hingis, it has been particularly hard. After three years away from tennis, her comeback season has been a great success. But after she lost to Kim Clijsters in the French Open quarterfinals, she contemplated leaving the safe haven of clay.

"It's pretty much the same for everybody," she said. "Nobody really practices on grass. It's been awhile since I stood on a grass court."

Five years, to be precise. She will almost certainly be among the top 16 seeds, but her progress in the early rounds bears watching.

While hard courts, because of the friction they create, are the hardest on the joints, clay's tendency to prolong points takes its toll, too. Grass, players say, does the least damage. It is soft and the points are shorter. That said, there is still a physical adjustment period.

"In the beginning, I always get back pain," Federer said. "Many balls are very low and you always have to go down and get it. You feel that. Same as maybe the groin areas on grass affect you in the beginning.

"But once you're used to it, it's really easy on the body."

Patrick McEnroe, the U.S. Davis Cup captain, agreed.

The balls skid a lot more and stay low," McEnroe said. "It forces you to use a different muscle group. Your ass -- can I say that on the Internet? -- gets really sore. For the first few days, it's really, really tough."

Consequently, players try to get as much time on the grass courts as possible; some -- hello there, James Blake, Fernando Gonzalez and Sebastien Grosjean -- even allow themselves to play doubles. This has become a nice little cottage industry for the quaint grass tournaments in England, Germany and The Netherlands. The DFS Classic in Birmingham is a Tier III women's tournament that offers a diminutive total of $200,000 in prize money, but Maria Sharapova won the title there in 2004 and went on to break through at Wimbledon for her first Grand Slam title. She won the DFS Classic again in 2005 and was the top seed in 2006.

The Stella Artois Championships at Queen's is a relatively modest affair, but Pete Sampras won there in 1999 and followed it with a Wimbledon victory. Lleyton Hewitt achieved that double in 2002, and Andy Roddick won three straight titles during 2003-05 and reached the semifinals and two finals at the All England Club.

While clay rewards defensive ability and mitigates the power strokes, particularly the serve, grass tends to have the opposite effect. Historically, there has been a correlation between big serves and success on grass, particularly on the men's side. Look no further than the first-round match between defending champion Hewitt and Ivo Karlovic at Wimbledon in 2003. Karlovic, an unknown 6-foot-10 Croatian, served Hewitt off the court for his first Grand Slam victory ever.

Consider the best grass-court records compiled in 2005: 1. Federer (12-0); 2. Roddick (11-1); 3. Richard Gasquet (11-2); 4. Mario Ancic (9-2); 5. Thomas Johansson (12-3). Max Mirnyi (9-3) was just behind the top five.

Overlay the 2005 ace leaders: 1. Roddick; 2. Ivan Ljubicic; 3. Ancic; 4. Mirnyi; 5. Federer; 6. Johansson. You can see the relationship between big serves and victories on grass.

In the past, those who succeeded at Wimbledon -- Martina Navratilova won six straight titles during 1982-87 -- have served and volleyed their way to the silver trophy. Today, the serve-and-volley is basically extinct.

The contenders at Wimbledon will find a way to finish points by moving forward when they can, but they will pick their spots. Players say that bigger balls and a slightly slower grass surface have contributed to longer rallies.

Tim Henman, one of the last serve-and-volley dinosaurs, traces the change to 2002.

"I think it comes as a surprise to everyone when the conditions change so dramatically," Henman said. "On a grass court, before it was about serving and volleying on both [service] balls. You can count on one hand, I'm sure, how many times I serve and volley [now].

"There's exceptions to every rule. Karlovic, is he going to stand back [on the baseline]? Probably not. But you've got to have an exceptional serve to be able to keep hitting it through the court because it is -- with the balls and the court -- much, much slower."

Early on, you never know what you're going to get with grass.

In his first-round match at Queen's last week, Hewitt drew Fernando Vicente, who had previously won only four of his 13 ATP matches and was coming off a loss in a Challenger event in the Czech Republic to Jaroslav Pospisil. Yet somehow Vicente stole the first set from the former Wimbledon champ.

"You want to go out there and execute and hit the ball great right from the start and, suddenly, you're in a bit of a dogfight, in an awkward match out there," said Hewitt, who rallied to win in three sets (Queen's is a best-of-three tourney). "The first match is always one of the toughest. I've normally been able to translate from clay to grass as well as anyone, but it's never easy."

Added Federer, "Getting used to quick points instead of long rallies, getting used to the slice serve instead of the kick serve, getting used to the little steps instead of the sliding. It adds up and is a lot. This transition is tough, and this is why we have many players who actually don't like this surface, who can't really move on this surface.

"Thank God I'm not one of them."

Two leading questions emerged from the final at Roland Garros. One: Can Federer ever win there? Two: Can Nadal ever win a Grand Slam singles title anywhere else?

Nadal has spoken often of a desire to win Wimbledon, but Henman believes it will be difficult.

"When you compete as well as he does, it's very dangerous to write him off on any type of surface," Henman said. "But I do think with the extreme nature of his game -- how much he relies on his movement, and I think of how much harder that will be for him on a grass court -- I think it's unlikely."

Nadal himself understands it will take a monumental makeover.
"I need to play more aggressive," he said. "I need serve with more decision. I need serve always here the same like the important moments on clay.

"I need [to] change a lot of things. I need change a lot of things of my head."

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Re: *** Vamos Rafa at Wimbledon!!! ***

From the BBC:

Roger Federer has won Wimbledon three years running, while Ivan Ljubicic has never gone past the second round, but did you also know that Federer is an AC/DC fan and Ljubicic loves naan bread?

BBC Sport brings you the facts you really need to know about this year's Wimbledon contenders...

Odds: 2/5
* Full name -Roger Federer. Disappointingly, no middle name for the Fed. Perhaps it's Archibald and he's too embarrassed to say.
* Also known as - Fed Express, Club Fed. His girlfriend calls him Rogi while in German-speaking Switzerland, they call him Der Künstler (The Artist).
* Wimbledon high - Clinching his title hat-trick a year ago. Pete Sampras and Bjorn Borg are the only other Open-era players to have won three in a row. Federer needs another two to match Borg's record five on the trot.
* Wimbledon low - It's not a gratuitous dig at 'Our Tim' but losing to Henman in 2001 two days after ending Pete Sampras' hopes of five titles in a row was, let's say, a bit of a let-down.
* Celebrity status - Still a 'B' for the world's best. Fed is rarely seen at celebrity do's and his long-term relationship with girlfriend Mirka Vavrinec has left him no opportunities for the sort of A-list dalliance which would push him onto the front pages.
* In his own words - "Obviously for the next few years I'll definitely be a huge favourite for Wimbledon. Doesn't mean necessarily I'll take them all."
* Need to know - Federer is a big fan of heavy metal rockers AC/DC.
* Grass rating - 10/10

Odds: 25/1
* Full name - Rafael Nadal Parera.
* Also known as - Rafa, El Magico, King of Clay, El Nino, Boy Wonder, El Toro. The list is endless.
* Wimbledon high - Before the prodigy had even set on Roland Garros clay, he had graced the grass of Wimbledon. At 17, Nadal reached the third round on his 2003 debut, knocking out grass lover Mario Ancic along the way.
* Wimbledon low - We'll be fair and give him time.
* Celebrity status - Rafa is Spain's golden boy along with F1 star Fernando Alonso. However, admitting in his blog that he put on a "black tie suit for the very first time" at the recent Laureus Awards in Monaco was a celebrity no-no.
* In his own words - "I always say Wimbledon is special for me because in Wimbledon only one Spanish player won, Manuel Santana. I want to improve on grass. I like play on grass, no? Is nice. I want to do an important tournament here."
* Need to know - Rafa is a superstitious fellow. He must have his water bottles lined up in a certain way by his chair and before each point, he takes three balls and throws one away, adjusts his socks and pants, and tucks his hair behind his right ear.
* Grass rating - 6/10

Odds: 33/1
* Full name - Ivan Ljubicic
* Also known as - Inevitably... Ljubo, Ljubi
* Wimbledon high - In 1996, Ljubicic reached the boys' final, beating Brit Martin Lee along the way before falling to Belarussian Vladimir Voltchkov.
* Wimbledon low - It's hard to pick just one. Ljubicic can safely book his holiday for the second week - in six previous visits, he hasn't managed to get past the second round.
* Celebrity status - A sporting hero in Croatia after leading them to Davis Cup glory, Ljubicic's star is yet to even get off the ground in the rest of the world.
* In his own words - "I wake up in the morning as a happy man because I know that my career is successful no matter what I do from now on. I know that the day I stop I can say my career was successful. I won a Davis Cup."
* Need to know - Blogging for the ATP website, Ljubicic revealed that one of his "favourite things to eat" is naan bread.
* Grass rating - 6/10

Odds: 12/1
* Full name - Lleyton Glynn Hewitt.
* Also known as - Rusty.
* Wimbledon high - Baseliner Hewitt shook the Wimbledon establishment by triumphing in 2002.
* Wimbledon low - The following year, Hewitt crumbled to an embarrassing first-round defeat to 6ft 10ins Ivo 'Giant Killer' Karlovic, a result which at least kept the headline-writers happy.
* Celebrity status - Since his marriage to Home and Away star Bec Cartwright, Hewitt is an unqualified 'A' in his home country. The couple signed an exclusive deal with Women's Day magazine, said to be worth an unprecedented Aus$1.5m, for pictures of baby Mia and a series of columns by Bec.
* In his own words - "Off the court, I'm shy. I'd prefer to be in the background."
* Need to know - Earlier this year, Hewitt was voted the 10th most hated athlete in the USA by GQ magazine, who cited his "weird Rocky fixation" as their reason. Dallas Cowboys wide receiver Terrell Owens was the number one.
* Grass rating - 8/10

Odds: 8/1
* Full name - Andrew Stephen Roddick.
* Also known as - A-Rod. He recently confessed he was called Little Roddick when he was younger - er, obviously because he was shorter than his older brother.
* Wimbledon high - He's reached two straight finals...
* Wimbledon low - ...but he's run into the invincible Federer on both occasions.
* Celebrity status - Andy gets an 'A'. He's best buds with Sir Elton John, used to go out with pop starlet Mandy Moore and was rumoured to be dating Maria Sharapova.
* In his own words - (after Federer beat him in last year's final) "I tried going to his forehand and coming in. He passed me. I tried to go to his backhand and coming in. He passed me. Tried staying back. He figured out a way to pass me, even though I was at the baseline."
* Need to know - Roddick's official website notes that the American's favourite sandwich is ham and cheese.
* Grass rating - 9/10

Odds: 33/1
* Full name - Marat Mikhailovich Safin.
* Also known as - His fans refer to him as the Safinator.
* Wimbledon high - Found his feet on grass last year as he powered into the third round, looking every inch a title contender.
* Wimbledon low - In typical Safin-style, he dramatically lost his way and slumped to a straight-sets defeat against Feliciano Lopez. Later in the year, he gave an interview in which he launched a scathing attack on Wimbledon and its "horrible food".
* Celebrity status - Safin says he "cannot stand" the word celebrity. That didn't stop him showing up to Boris Yeltsin's birthday party earlier this year though.
* In his own words - "If I don't want to play, I don't want to play. There is no really good reason."
* Need to know - Safin fell out with Andy Roddick during the 2004 Olympics. Safin refused to reveal what the disagreement was about, but added: "The man has changed and not for the best".
* Grass rating - 5/10

Odds: 66/1
* Full name - Andre Kirk Agassi
* Also known as - Double A, A-Train
* Wimbledon high - Feels like about 14 years ago now...hold on, it actually was 14 years ago that Agassi collected the first of his eight Grand Slam titles on the grass of Wimbledon.
* Wimbledon low - Thrashed by Henri Leconte in 1987, Agassi left Wimbledon in a huff and didn't return for four years. He said later: "I remember feeling it was inconvenient in my schedule."
* Celebrity status - Double A-list. Agassi ticks so many boxes - previous relationship with fellow celebrity (Brooke Shields, Barbara Streisand), unusual kids names (Jaden Gil, Jaz), and his own aftershave.
* In his own words - "I am an optimist at heart, and I believe in more moments that I can still have out there. When my body is right, there's still a considerable amount left in me, I believe that."
* Need to know - Agassi was born in the Chinese year of the dog.
* Grass rating - 7/10

Odds: 50/1
* Full name - Timothy Henry Henman.
* Also known as - Timbo, Tiger Tim, Henners.
* Wimbledon high - Glorious failure in the semi-finals on no less than four occasions. As John McEnroe once put it, most players would kill for a record like that.
* Wimbledon low - Last year. First there was the eyesore of a five-set win over journeyman Jarkko Nieminen in the first round, then there was the horrible defeat to Dmitry Tursunov in round two. All in all, a tournament to forget.
* Celebrity status - 'B'. Britain's former number one could, we imagine, have a spread in Hello every week if he so chose. But instead he and wife Lucy tend to hide themselves away in their £2m mansion near Henley. And who can blame them?
* In his own words - (speaking at Queen's this year) "For the first time in a couple of years I feel comfortable with my style of play. I haven't enjoyed the last few years on grass because I was not comfortable and was not playing in the way I felt I could or should."
* Need to know - Last year, Henman admitted he was hooked on Celebrity Love Island and stayed up to watch the final the night before his first-round match.
* Grass rating - 9/10

Odds: 50/1
* Full name - Andrew Barron Murray. That's BARRON.
* Also known as - Kevin the Teenager.
* Wimbledon high - Shortly after Tim Henman trudged off court after a dispiriting second-round loss last year, Murray blew away the disappointment for the British fans by crushing 14th seed Radek Stepanek.
* Wimbledon low - The newspaper and television debates on whether Henman Hill should be renamed Murray Mount or Murrayfield. Can't we just call it Aorangi Terrace?
* Celebrity status - Not really been seen on the celebrity circuit yet, but being cheered on by the legendary Sean Connery on your Centre Court debut isn't a bad start.
* In his own words - "I'm not really too sure what I love about tennis - I just enjoy winning."
* Need to know - At the age of 12, the promising striker was offered a trial by Rangers, but he is actually a fan of Hibs, the club his grandfather Roy Erskine played for.
* Grass rating - 7/10

Odds: 200/1
* Full name - Gregory Rusedski.
* Also known as - Grinning Greg, The Joker, Ruser.
* Wimbledon high - Rusedski warmed up for his appearance in the US Open final by reaching the Wimbledon quarters in 1997, falling to Cedric Pioline.
* Wimbledon low - That would be losing his cool in spectacular fashion during 2003's third-round loss to Andy Roddick. The All England Club is still recovering from Rusedski's expletive-ridden outburst at the umpire.
* Celebrity status - The Rusedskis are classic C-listers. The couple are pals of the Beckhams and attended the reception following Sir Elton John and David Furnish's civil partnership ceremony.
* In his own words - "I'll be 33 this year. I didn't think I'd be here - I thought I'd be retired by the time I was 30. Your perspective changes all the time. My daughter is the first thing and the most important thing. It's as simple as that."
* Need to know - Despite being brought up in Canada, Rusedski opted to play for Britain - but he had other options. His father Tom is German, of Polish-Ukranian descent.
* Grass rating - 7/10

Odds provided by Ladbrokes as at 16 June 2006

I'm allergic to morons.

- 81 - 28 - 4 -
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