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Wimbledon - men's singles preview

  • Story Highlights
  • Reigning champions Rafael Nadal is absent through injury
  • World number three Andy Murray hopes to do well with avid home support
  • Federer looking calm on enters tournament having just won the French Open
By Greg Duke
CNN
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(CNN) -- The absence of defending champion Rafael Nadal has overshadowed the men's singles at Wimbledon and has increased British expectations that Andy Murray may finally become the first home winner of the tournament in over 70 years.

Roger Federer (left) and Rafael Nadal (right)

Roger Federer (left) and Rafael Nadal (right) show off their trophies after last year's epic final.

There is no doubt that the world number three has an outstanding chance of victory at the All England Club this year.

He won the grass-court warm-up at Queen's, without dropping a set, and doubts about his fitness and mobility -- both of which used to be questioned -- are now so obviously things of the past that it seems strange they were ever issues in the first place.

Murray-mania is undoubtedly going to increase in intensity over the next fortnight, but the fact that the Scotsman fluffed his lines the only other time he reached a grand slam final -- on his favored hard-courts at Flushing Meadows last year -- would be a concern.

Murray's conqueror that day, Roger Federer, is bidding to win his sixth Wimbledon title and comes into the tournament still floating on the air of his emotional French Open triumph.

With that particularly monkey off his back, the Swiss maestro his exuding calm and confidence and a victory here would see him in possession of three of the four grand slam titles; not bad for a player being written off in some circles following his epic defeat to Nadal in last year's final.

Fourth seed Novak Djokovic is an unpredictable player who blows hot and cold; an early exit or winning the whole tournament are both conceivable outcomes.

The Serb was beaten in the final of the Halle warm-up tournament to veteran German Tommy Haas and has never professed to love the surface.

With the Wimbledon grass not as greased-lightning as it used to be, clay-court specialists are tending to perform better here.

The South American duo Juan Martin del Potro and Fernando Gonzalez will both be dangerous opponents, while twice beaten finalist Andy Roddick is being mentioned in dispatches, although the ankle injury he collected at Queen's -- and the suspicion that he isn't quite the player he used to be -- would be a concern.

Russian Nikolay Davydenko could go far despite dropping to 12th seed, although this has been more down to injuries rather than a lack of form, while others who have the game to get to the latter staged include the wily Radek Stepanek and French Open finalist Robin Soderling.

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