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Welcome to Wimbledon

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Wimbledon Photo: Ryan Pierse/Getty Images

The Grand Slam Championships on the lush green courts of Wimbledon flags off today. The focus, however, is on Novak Djokovic of Serbia and Serena Williams from the United States. The two superstars are playing for the records. Djokovic is aiming at a possible calendar Grand Slam, which would also be a Golden Slam if he wins the singles title at the Tokyo Olympic Games.

Serena is in the quest for a record-tying 24th Grand Slam trophy, which has eluded her in four title matches. The draws seem to favour both players but it would be no easy ride.

The absence of Rafael Nadal and Dominic Thiem leaves Djokovic as the odds-on favourite; especially because Roger Federer may not be in top shape after returning from knee surgery. Djokovic’s first match on opening day is against Jack Draper, the Briton who received a wild card. The 19-year old southpaw was the runner up at the 2018 Wimbledon Junior event and now ranked 250 in the world. Draper made an impressive run in the London warm-up event, defeating successively, Italy’s Jannick Sinner and Kazakhstan’s Alexander Bublik in two tie breaker sets before losing to compatriot Dan Evans in the quarter-finals.

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In other matches today, the men’s third seed, Stefanos Tsitsipas of Greece, has a tough opener against America’s Frances Tiafoe, while the highest seeded British player Dan Evans will square off with another southpaw Feliciano Lopez of Spain.

Canada’s Denis Shapovalov faces a tough battle in the match against Germany’s Philip Kohlschreiber.

The second seeded Aryna Sabalenka of Belarus will face Romania’s Monica Niculescu whose compatriot, Mihaela Buzernescu will play against Venus Williams. The top seeded Ashleigh Barty of Australia and Serena, the eighth seed, would commence their title quests on Tuesday. Barty and Serena did not compete in the warm-up grass-court events.

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