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Major Reunion For Big Four At Wimbledon

Wimbledon, England

Federer© Bongarts/Getty ImagesRoger Federer will look to become the first man to win eight Wimbledon singles titles. looks at the key storylines of Wimbledon, which begins 24 June.

* BIG 4 REUNITE – This is the first Grand Slam tournament since last year’s Wimbledon that the Big Four of Roger Federer (17), Rafael Nadal (12), Novak Djokovic (6) and Andy Murray (1) are playing together. Nadal missed last year’s US Open and the Australian Open in January, while Murray was absent from Roland Garros. In 32 of the past 33 Grand Slam tournaments (since 2005 Roland Garros), one of the Big 4 has lifted the champion’s trophy. The only exception came at the ‘09 US Open, where Juan Martin del Potro won the title. Here is a breakdown of the 32 titles: Federer (13), Nadal (12), Djokovic (6) and Murray (1).

* TOP FOUR SEEDS LEAD WAY The last time a player seeded outside of the Top 4 won the Wimbledon title was 12 years ago in 2001, when No. 125th-ranked Goran Ivanisevic took advantage of a wild card opportunity to defeat Patrick Rafter in a five-set Monday thriller. This is the longest current stretch of Top 4 titles of any Grand Slam tournament. Since 2002, when No. 1 Lleyton Hewitt won the title, three other players have won the Wimbledon crown – Federer (seven times), Nadal (twice) and Djokovic (once).  In fact, only seven players in the Open Era (since 1968) not seeded among the Top 4 have won the title.

* DJOKOVIC-NADAL – Since  2010 Roland Garros, Djokovic and Nadal have combined to win 11 of the past 13 Grand Slam titles, with the Spaniard winning six Slam titles and the Serb winning five. Federer won Wimbledon and Murray the US Open last year.

* REIGNING CHAMP – Last year Federer won his record-tying seventh Wimbledon title, defeating Andy Murray 46 75 63 64. Federer tied Pete Sampras and William Renshaw for the most singles titles at the All England Club. At 30, Federer became the oldest singles champion since Arthur Ashe (31) in 1975. Federer is making his 15th consecutive appearance at Wimbledon and he’s reached the quarter-finals or better the past 10 years. This is the 10th anniversary of Federer’s first Grand Slam/Wimbledon crown in 2003 (d. Philippoussis). It is also the 55th straight Grand Slam tournament he’s competing in (one short of all-time record by Wayne Ferreira).

* THE KING OF GRASS – Federer has 13 grass court titles (13-4 in finals) and a career record of 121-17 (.877) on grass, the best winning percentage in the Open Era. In 2007, he became the second player (Bjorn Borg) in the Open Era to capture five consecutive Wimbledon titles. Federer's 40-match unbeaten streak at Wimbledon ended to Nadal in 2008. Borg won a record 41 matches in a row at the All England Club (five titles from 1976-80 before losing in the ‘81 final to McEnroe). Prior to Federer's winning streak, he had a 16-11 career record on grass from 1999-2002. Since 2003-present he is 105-6 on grass. He comes into Wimbledon after his first title of the year in Halle (d. Youzhny).

* FEDERER/SAMPRAS COMPARISONS – In 14 previous appearances at the All England Club, Federer and Sampras have won seven titles. Here is a look at their stats:
Federer Sampras
Match W-L: 66-7 63-7
Years Played (Titles):    14 (7) 14 (7)
Won 1st Title: 4th attempt 4th attempt
5-Set W-L: 6-3 5-2
Top 3 Seed 10 times 9 times 

* WORLD NO. 1 – Two years ago, Novak Djokovic captured his first career grass court title at Wimbledon and became No. 1 for the first time on July 4, 2011. Prior to that, the last time a player won Wimbledon as the first grass court title of his career was Andre Agassi in 1992. Djokovic is the top seed for the second straight year at Wimbledon and as of next Monday he will be ranked No. 1 for the 87th week. He has a 32-7 career record at the All England Club, reaching the SFs or better four times, including the last three.

* NO. 1 UPDATE – Djokovic is guaranteed the No. 1 position in the Emirates ATP Rankings after Wimbledon. Djokovic is defending semi-final points (720) from last year while No. 2 Murray has runner-up points (1,200) and No. 3 Federer champion’s points (2000). Federer regained No. 1 after last year’s Wimbledon title (on July 9) and held the top spot for 17 weeks before Djokovic regained it on Nov. 5.

* BRITISH TITLE HOPES – The No. 1 player from Great Britain is 26-year-old Scottish native Andy Murray, who reached the final for the first time last year. He was the first British finalist since Bunny Austin in 1938. The No. 2-ranked Murray is the first British man seeded in Top 2 at the All England Club since Austin was No. 1 in 1939. Murray is attempting to become the first British man to win the Wimbledon title since Fred Perry in 1936. This is the second time in his career Murray is the No. 2 seed in a Grand Slam tournament (’09 US Open, 4th Rd.). He’s been to the semi-finals or better the past four years, losing to Roddick in 2009, Nadal (2010-11) and Federer. Murray is making his eighth Wimbledon appearance (30-7 record). He is coming off his third ATP World Tour title of the season and third at the Queens’ Club (d. Cilic). Going back to last year’s London Olympics where he earned the gold medal, Murray has won 11 matches in a row on grass (17 of 18 back to last year’s Wimbledon).

* RAFA ON A ROLL – The hottest player on the ATP World Tour is two-time Wimbledon champion Rafael Nadal, who enters the All England Club with a 22-match winning streak. The 27-year-old Spaniard is coming off his 12th Grand Slam title after capturing an eighth Roland Garros crown. He is the only man in history to win a Slam singles title for nine straight years. Although Nadal is No. 5 in the Emirates ATP Rankings, he is the season leader with 7,000 points. Last year Nadal played his final match of the season on June 28, losing in the second round in five sets to Lukas Rosol of the Czech Republic. It was his earliest Grand Slam exit since ’05 Wimbledon. He was sidelined the rest of the year with a left knee injury. Prior to the loss, Nadal had appeared in five Wimbledon finals between 2006-11 (did not play ’09). This will be the second non-clay tournament of the season for Nadal, who is off to a career-best 43-2 start, reaching nine finals in a row, winning seven titles. His lone hard court tournament was a title at ATP Masters 1000 Indian Wells in March (d. del Potro).

* WIMBLEDON TITLE LEADERS – Federer is one of three players to win seven singles titles in Wimbledon history:
                                       No.       Years
Roger Federer     7 2003-07, ’09, ‘12                   
Pete Sampras                 7       1993-95,1997-2000
William Renshaw             +7 1881-86, ‘89
Bjorn Borg                       5 1976-80
Laurie Doherty                +5 1902-06
+ Challenge Round (defending champion only had to play one match following year)

* ALL-TIME GRAND SLAM CHAMPIONS – Federer is the all-time leader on the Grand Slam champions list and Nadal is tied for No. 3: 

W-L Wimbledon Titles
1) Roger Federer 17-7 7
2) Pete Sampras 14-4 7
3) Roy Emerson   12-3 2
    Rafael Nadal   12-5 2
5) Bjorn Borg 11-5 5
    Rod Laver 11-5 4

* GRAND SLAM CHAMPIONS IN FIELD – All-time Grand Slam singles champion Roger Federer (17) and Rafael Nadal (12) lead the group of six Grand Slam champions (accounting for 39 Grand Slam singles titles) in this year's main draw. Here are the active Grand Slam champions:
Age No.
Roger Federer       31 17
Rafael Nadal         27   12
Novak Djokovic         26     6
Lleyton Hewitt         32     2
Juan Martin del Potro 24   1
Andy Murray         26   1

* YOUNG STARS IN TOP 50 – There are five players age 23-under in Top 50 Emirates ATP Rankings (first four seeded):
No. 11 Kei Nishikori (23)
No. 15 Milos Raonic (22)
No. 22 Jerzy Janowicz (22)
No. 31 Grigor Dimitrov (22)
No. 35 Martin Klizan (23)

* BRYAN SLAM AT STAKE –  World No. 1 Bob and Mike Bryan are trying to win a ‘Golden” Bryan Slam. Since their last Grand Slam tournament loss in the semi-finals at Wimbledon last year, the Bryans have been unstoppable in Grand Slam tournaments. They captured the gold medal at the London Olympics, then won Grand Slam titles at the US Open, Australian Open and Roland Garros. They are the first doubles team to win the first two Grand Slam tournaments in a season since Newcombe-Roche in 1967. The two-time Wimbledon champions (2006, ’11) enter the All England Club on an 18-match winning streak on the season, having won their past four tournament titles – ATP Masters 1000 Madrid and Rome, Roland Garros and the Queen’s Club. They have won a record 90 titles together, including an all-time best 14 Grand Slam crowns.

* THE SEEDS (Wimbledon Record)

1) Novak Djokovic (32-7): Champ in ’11; SF last 3 yrs.; top seed for second yr in a row 
2) Andy Murray (30-7): 1st British R-up since Bunny Austin in ’38; SF last 4 yrs. 
3) Roger Federer (66-7): 7-time Champ & Top 3 seed 10th yr in a row; No. 3 in match wins 
4) David Ferrer (20-10): QF last yr; highest seed at Wimb; QF-better last 6 Slams 
5) Rafael Nadal (36-6): Champ in ’08, ’10; R-up in ’06-07, ’11; lowest seeding, Top 2 ’06-12
6) Jo-Wilfried Tsonga (18-5): SF last 2 yrs, QF in ‘10 at Wimb  
7) Tomas Berdych (23-9): R-up in ’10; Top 8 seed 3rd yr in a row
8) Juan Martin del Potro (9-5): 4R last 2 yrs; Top 8 seed 1st time since ’09 (5)
9) Richard Gasquet (17-7): SF in ’07; 4R last 3 appearances (’08, ’11-12)
10) Marin Cilic (8-6): 4R in ’12 (also ’08); 1st Top 10 seed at Wimb
11) Stanislas Wawrinka (9-8): 4R in ’08-09; last 3 yrs: 1R, 2R, 1R
12) Kei Nishikori (2-4): 3R in ’12; highest Grand Slam seed
13) Tommy Haas (20-12): SF in ’09; 1R last 2 yrs (ranked 895 in ’11); highest seed since ‘07
14) Janko Tipsarevic (11-9): 4R in ’07-08 (4-4 last 4 yrs)
15) Nicolas Almagro (7-8): 3R in ’09, ’11-12; Top 16 seed 3rd yr in a row
16) Philipp Kohlschreiber (10-8): QF in ’12 (best Slam result); 1st Top 16 seed
17) Milos Raonic (2-2): 2R in ’11-12; 0-2 on grass this yr
18) John Isner (2-4): 2R in ’10-11 (last 5 Slam losses in 5 sets)
19) Gilles Simon (10-7): 4R in ’09; only 1R loss in ’06 debut
20) Mikhail Youzhny (26-12): QF in ’12; 4R 6 other times; only 2 1R losses (’04, ’09)
21) Sam Querrey (6-5): 4R in ’10, 3R in ’12 (lost 17-15 in 5th to Cilic)                                                    
22) Juan Monaco (2-5): 3R in ’12; Was winless (0-4)
23) Andreas Seppi (8-8): 3R in ’08-09; 1 of 2 Italians seeded (Fognini)
24) Jerzy Janowicz (2-1): 3R in ’12 (as qualifier, No. 136, l. to F. Mayer 7-5 in 5th set)
25) Benoit Paire (2-2): 3R in ’12 (l. to Baker); highest Slam seed
26) Alexandr Dolgopolov (2-3): 2R in ’10 & ‘12
27) Kevin Anderson (1-4): 2R in ’11; highest seed at Wimb
28) Jeremy Chardy (4-5): 3R in ’10; 1 of 6 Frenchmen seeded (most in draw)
29) Grigor Dimitrov (2-3): 2R in ’11-12; 1st time seed at Wimb
30) Fabio Fognini (4-4): 3R in ’10; 1st time seed at Wimb
31) Julien Benneteau (8-9): 4R in ’10; Took Federer to 5 sets last yr (2-0 lead)
32) Tommy Robredo (9-11): 3R in ’03 & ’09; last won match in ‘09

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