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Sports

Five things to watch for at Wimbledon

A look at five of the top topics at Wimbledon, the grass-court Grand Slam tennis tournament that begins Monday and ends July 7:

1. SERENA’S STREAK

Hard to imagine anyone ever having been a bigger favorite to win a Grand Slam title than No. 1-ranked Serena Williams is at Wimbledon this year. She comes in as the defending champion; she’s on a 31-match winning streak, the longest single-season run in women’s tennis since her older sister, Venus, won 35 in a row in 2000; and she’s 74-3 since the start of Wimbledon a year ago. Williams has claimed three of the last four major titles to raise her career total to 16 — two shy of Chris Evert and Martina Navratilova.

2. SERENA’S CHALLENGERS

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There are, to be sure, other women capable of walking away with the trophy from the All England Club, starting with Maria Sharapova, who won the title in 2004 by beating — you guessed it — Williams in the final. But although Sharapova put up a fight in this year’s French Open final against Williams, she really didn’t represent much of a hurdle and has lost the last 13 times they’ve played. Petra Kvitova, the 2011 champion, seems to have the grass game figured out, and No. 2-ranked Victoria Azarenka is a two-time semifinalist.

3. FEDERER’S BID

Until this year’s French Open, no man had won eight titles at the same Grand Slam tournament. Rafael Nadal got No. 8 in Paris, and now Roger Federer can try to match that accomplishment at Wimbledon. Federer is the defending champion, and he’s still as good as it gets on grass; he finally ended a 10-month title drought by winning a tuneup tournament on the surface at Halle, Germany. Wimbledon is the major tournament that people figure he’s most likely to win for Grand Slam title No. 18.

4. MURRAY AND 1936

Andy Murray is no doubt tired of hearing the name ‘‘Fred Perry’’ and the year ‘‘1936’’ — and we all will hear those words over and over again, so long as he keeps winning matches during the fortnight. Murray once again will try to give Britain its first male champion at Wimbledon since, well, you-know-who in you-know-when. A year ago, Murray became the first British man to even reach the final since Bunny Austin in 1938, then lost to Federer in four sets. Murray won the US Open to become the first British man in 76 years to win any Grand Slam singles title.

5. THE USUAL SUSPECTS

Nadal and No. 1-ranked Novak Djokovic have combined to win 11 of the most recent 13 Grand Slam titles. Those two plus Federer have collected 31 of the past 33, and when you add in Murray (who won one of the other two), that quartet sure seems likely to produce this year’s champion at the All England Club. Djokovic won Wimbledon in 2011, and Nadal has two titles plus three runner-up finishes; neither played a tuneup tournament on grass, but that might not matter.

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