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Learning English - Words in the News
20 June, 2005 - Published 10:39 GMT
Wimbledon begins

Two weeks of grass court tennis begin at the Wimbledon Championships in London, the third Grand Slam event of the season. Roger Federer of Switzerland will be aiming for his third Wimbledon title in a row while Maria Sharapova of Russia will be defending the title she won last year. This report from Harry Peart:

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Many players regard grass as an alien surface but Roger Federer is not one of them. In his last twenty-nine matches on grass he's yet to be beaten as he attempts to add to his 2003 and 2004 titles and add to his four wins at Grand Slam events. He's the overwhelming favourite but there will be much interest centred on Raphael Nadal of Spain who won the French Open on the red clay of Roland Garros in Paris in spectacular style.

Andy Roddick, who was beaten in the final by Federer last year, carries the United States' hopes which underlines the lack of talent in depth from such a country steeped in the history of the game.

As usual, Britain's Tim Henman, will attract an army of fans adding their weight of expectation to the most successful British player since Fred Perry won the title in 1936. In his twelve attempts at the title he's reached the semi-finals four times and only once in nine years has he failed to reach the last eight.

The women's number one is Lindsay Davenport but she will be under pressure from last year's winner, Maria Sharapova, of Russia.

But there will also be threats from the two Belgians, Justine Henin-Hardenne and Kim Clijsters, who have both had major injury problems. This year's Wimbledon will be the last for the tournament referee, Alan Mills, who is stepping down after twenty-two years as chief official.

Harry Peart, BBC Sport

Listen to the words

regard grass as
think of grass (tennis courts) as

very different in nature or character; foreign

very big or very strong

centred on
concentrated on; focussed on

carries the United States' hopes
If someone carries a country's hopes, the people of that country believe in this person (to do something).

shows clearly

steeped in the history of the game
filled with history (of tennis)

a competition in which a number of games or matches are played (the winner being the player who wins the greatest number of games or matches)

stepping down
leaving (his) job or official position

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