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Wozniacki up for a challenge World No. 1 ready for Wimbledon

Top seed Caroline Wozniacki won't be bothered by the return to tennis of the Williams sisters, with the world's No. 1-ranked player refusing to be cowed by the presence at Wimbledon of the unseeded pair of multiple champions.

Wimbledon holder Serena Williams, out for almost a year with a cut foot followed by a blood clot, played her first two matches this week in Eastbourne, going 1-1.

Her elder sister, Venus, missed five months with an abdominal injury and also returned in Eastbourne, making the quarterfinals.

Wozniacki has her own concerns as she begins play at the All England Club atop the WTA table and the tournament draw.

"First of all, we have to see how they do," she said of the American pair. "Second of all, grass is a little bit different surface than everything else.

"Here it's important to serve and return well. We all know that the game of the girls is perfectly suited for the grass as well."

Serena will be defending the title she won last year over Vera Zvonareva. Venus owns five titles at the All England club, the last achieved in 2008.

"Obviously no one wants to play them," said Wozniacki of the pair ranked 26th (Serena) and 33rd (Venus). "It's good that they got a higher seed (Serena seventh, Venus 23rd).

"No one wants to play them in the early rounds because they obviously have the experience and play really well, especially on grass."

Wozniacki, 20, has stalled at the fourth round for the past two editions, but is undeterred.

"I just go in there and I play, and I don't have to see how everything goes. I know I can play really well on grass.

"I've won Eastbourne before, I won the Wimbledon junior title. I know that I can play really good tennis. At the same time, on grass it can be small things that decide a match, and also the serve and the returns are key points at this point.

"So it's important just to focus and just enjoy it," said Wozniacki, who starts against Arantxa Parra Santonja of Spain.

The 2004 winner Maria Sharapova, the fifth seed, goes into the event without benefit of a tournament tune-up after the French Open. But the U.S.-based Russian is not worried.

"This is one of the toughest transitions from clay to grass, but for me it's a lot of fun," said Sharapova.

"The bounce is low, it's quick. It takes a couple of days to get used to the bounce and everything. A little frustrating at times, but it's a lot of fun.

"No matter what (else) I achieve or how I do here, when I retire I know that I was a part of Wimbledon's history. It's incredible to be part of the tradition and all the champions.

"Hopefully I can repeat that. That would be a dream of mine."


Djokovic stays loose

WIMBLEDON, England -- His 43-match winning streak broken but his well-known sense of humor still intact, Novak Djokovic was ready for some tough questions on the eve of Wimbledon.

"You had this losing streak of one, so what are you going to do to change that?" the second-ranked Serb was asked Saturday, as he prepares to play for the first time since losing to Roger Federer in the French Open semifinals.

The inquisitor? None other than Wozniacki, who sneaked her way back into the All England Club's main interview room shortly after sitting through her own news conference.

"Well, you know what? I will try to look up to some women players who have been so consistent with their wins. For example, like, Caroline Wozniacki," Djokovic said, smiling all the way through his answer. "I don't know if you've heard about her. She's been winning so much. She's become a role model for all of us ATP players."

Djokovic's perfect season and six-month winning streak ended in Paris. His "losing streak" is now about two weeks long, because he decided to pull out of the grass-court tournament at Queen's Club.

He'll get his first chance to snap the skid when he faces Jeremy Chardy of France in the first round when play begins Monday.

To win his first Wimbledon title -- and third Grand Slam trophy -- Djokovic might have to beat six-time champion Federer in the semifinals.

For Federer, that's just fine.

"I know I can beat Novak on any surface. I've done that in the past," said Federer, who had lost to Djokovic in the U.S. Open and Australian Open semifinals before beating him in the same round at Roland Garros.

"Just because he's on a great winning streak doesn't mean he's unbeatable. That was my mindset going into the match in Paris," Federer added. "Here at Wimbledon, anyway, I'm even more confident. I think I'm a better player than in Paris, so I expect myself to do really well here, even better maybe."

Federer and top-ranked Rafael Nadal have combined to win the last eight titles at the All England Club. And with one more for Federer, he would tie Pete Sampras' record of seven Wimbledon titles.


Tipsarevic hurt in loss

EASTBOURNE, England -- Janko Tipsarevic may miss Wimbledon after slipping and injuring his groin during the Eastbourne final Saturday.

Unseeded Andreas Seppi won his first career title after Tipsarevic of Serbia was forced to retire while trailing 7-6 (5), 3-6, 5-3. Seppi is the first Italian to win an ATP title since Filippo Volandri won in Palermo in 2006.

In the women's final, Marion Bartoli of France warmed up for Wimbledon with a 6-1, 4-6, 7-5 win over Petra Kvitova of the Czech Republic.

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