Who will prove to be the ace in the pack?

Macclesfield Express - - TVWEEK -

There’s barely been time for ten­nis fans to re­cover from No­vak Djokovic beat­ing Andy Mur­ray in the French Open fi­nal, and now here we are again – as the world’s best play­ers re­turn with their all-whites freshly bleached to do bat­tle at the All Eng­land Club. The third Grand Slam of the year on SW19’s hal­lowed grass courts is al­ways one of the high­lights of the sport­ing cal­en­dar, and it’s an early start for Sue Barker as she in­tro­duces cov­er­age of the open­ing day’s play in Wim­ble­don 2016 (Mon­day, BBC2, 11.30am). The ac­tion on Cen­tre Court tra­di­tion­ally be­gins with the men's sin­gles cham­pion be­gin­ning the de­fence of his title. That man is Djokovic, who goes into the tour­na­ment as the heavy favourite af­ter dom­i­nat­ing the men’s game for the last cou­ple of sea­sons. The Serb won his first Wim­ble­don title in 2011, and fa­mously cel­e­brated by eat­ing a hand­ful of Cen­tre Court grass. He made the fi­nal again in 2013; and in 2014 and 2015 was munch­ing hap­pily on the turf again as he de­feated Roger Fed­erer both times to claim back-to-back ti­tles – the first man to do so since Fed­erer’s un­equalled five-year reign from 2003 to 2007. Djokovic’s four-set de­feat of Mur­ray in Paris a fort­night ago saw him be­come the first man since the great Rod Laver in 1969 to hold all four Grand Slam ti­tles at the same time, and few would bet on him adding to his three Wim­ble­don suc­cesses a week on Sun­day. His main dan­ger is likely to come from world No.2 and 2013 champ Mur­ray, who may trail Djokovic in the head-to-head, but con­tin­ues to win enough matches against the Serb and push him in the ones he loses to keep his ri­val and friend hon­est. As far as the women's tour­na­ment goes, Ser­ena Wil­liams re­mains very much the queen of the game. Her quest for the cal­en­dar-year Grand Slam and a 22nd title over­all, which would tie St­effi Graf’s Open Era record, was un­ex­pect­edly de­railed by Italian vet­eran Roberta Vinci in New York last year. Re­turn­ing in Jan­uary at the Aus­tralian Open, Wil­liams suf­fered an­other sur­prise de­feat to left-han­der An­gelique Ker­ber. So no cal­en­dar Slam this year, but the quest for 22 was very much still on, and de­spite var­i­ous ill­ness and in­jury prob­lems Wil­liams stormed to the French Open fi­nal for the loss of just one set – only to be de­feated by Gar­bine Mugu­ruza.

Court in the act Sue Barker in­tro­duces live cov­er­age

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