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Tennis-Britain expects as Murray show begins

Sports Desk |
Update: 2010-06-21 16:21:07

LONDON: Andy Murray will carry the weight of a nation on his shoulders as he bids to end 74 years of disappointment and become Britain`s first men`s Wimbledon champion since 1936 when he kicks off his campaign on Tuesday.

Murray, who fell at the semi-final stage to eventual runner-up Andy Roddick last year, is joined on the second day schedule by world number one Rafael Nadal and defending women`s champion Serena Williams.

Murray, who is inching his way towards the All England Club title having gone one round further in each of his previous four visits to the tournament, has suffered indifferent form since losing in the Australian Open final to Roger Federer in January.

He should, however, emerge unscathed from his Court One clash against 26-year-old Czech Jan Hajek, who is ranked 90th in the world and has never won a match on grass.

Murray is one of only two British men in the singles draw, the other being wildcard Jamie Baker.

Nadal makes his return to Centre Court after a knee injury prevented him from defending the title he won in spectacular fashion two years ago.

The French Open champion takes on 20-year-old Kei Nishikori from Japan in his first match at the tournament since wrestling the title away from Federer in a twilight encounter that was dubbed by many the greatest final in Wimbledon history.

Serena Williams is first up on Centre Court as she kicks off her women`s title defence in what could be a noisy encounter with Portuguese Michelle Larcher de Brito.

The 17-year-old, who is known for her loud grunts, will have her work cut out against the defending champion who is looking to close the gap on Serena and win a fourth singles title here.

BDST: 1251hrs, June 22, 2010
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