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Last Updated: Thursday, 22 June 2006, 06:47 GMT 07:47 UK
Women to watch at Wimbledon
Amelie MauresmoKim ClijstersNicole VaidisovaJustine Henin-HardenneVenus WilliamsAnastasia MyskinaMaria SharapovaElena DementievaMartina HingisSvetlana Kuznetsova

Venus Williams is preparing to defend her Wimbledon crown, but did you know her grunting is nearly as loud as an electric drill?

BBC Sport brings you this and other indispensable titbits about this year's Wimbledon contenders...


AMELIE MAURESMO
Odds: 10/1

  • Full name - Amelie Mauresmo.

  • Also known as - MoMo.

  • Wimbledon high - Mauresmo has reached the semi-finals on her last three visits to the All England Club.

  • Wimbledon low - On the last two occasions, she has taken the first set and then crumbled in three. Sadly, no one's betting against her making it a hat-trick of semi-final chokes this year - hence the high odds.

  • Gruntometer - Low.

  • In her own words - "I have always needed to try and find a balance in my life. I'm not able to eat, drink and sleep tennis. Yes, I have had difficult times on court but you need to forget about it and go forward because that's the way it works in our world."

  • Need to know - During free time at tournaments, Mauresmo can often be found enjoying what she describes as a "fierce game of cards" with French compatriots Sebastien Grosjean and Arnaud Clement.

  • Grass rating - 8/10


KIM CLIJSTERS
Odds: 5/1

  • Full name - Kim Antonie Lode Clijsters.

  • Also known as - Kim Kong.

  • Wimbledon high - There have been surprisingly few, although she did reach the semis in 2003 before throwing away a one-set lead against Venus Williams.

  • Wimbledon low - Seeded fifth, Clijsters slumped to an embarrassing second-round defeat to Elena Likhovtseva in 2003.

  • Gruntometer - Low.

  • In her own words - "I don't think I've played a week the last year or so being 100% physically."

  • Need to know - Clijsters is engaged for the second time. After the break-up with Lleyton Hewitt, Clijsters began seeing American basketball player Brian Lynch and he proposed in April this year.

  • Grass rating - 7/10


NICOLE VAIDISOVA
Odds: 10/1

  • Full name - Nicole Vaidisova.

  • Also known as - None as yet, but expect the British tabloids to have a field day. We'll start the ball rolling with the simple but effective 'Czech Mate'.

  • Wimbledon high - Reached the last 32 last year on her debut, narrowly losing to the much higher-ranked Svetlana Kuznetsova in three sets.

  • Wimbledon low - None.

  • Gruntometer - Second only to Sharapova at Wimbledon last year. She hit 85.4 decibels - equivalent, apparently, to a petrol-driven lawn mower.

  • In her own words - "I am always excited to play on grass because there is so much history and so many traditions associated with it. Being born in Germany, Steffi Graf was always my idol and my inspiration."

  • Need to know - Vaidisova had to get over the disappointment of her French Open semi-final defeat quickly - she had to take exams at a business school in Prague shortly afterwards.

  • Grass rating - 7/10


JUSTINE HENIN-HARDENNE
Odds: 5/1

  • Full name - Justine Henin-Hardenne. Belgian law does not require a woman to take her husband's name, but Justine did it anyway after her marriage to Pierre-Yves Hardenne.

  • Also known as - Juju.

  • Wimbledon high - Produced a storming run to the final in 2001 - the first Grand Slam final of her career.

  • Wimbledon low - Regarded as a favourite, she fell at the first hurdle last year, and the title which would complete the full set of Slams remains elusive.

  • Gruntometer - Hardly a squeak from the diminutive Belgian.

  • In her own words - "I've made a lot of sacrifices in my career, a lot of work. And now it's paying off. I keep winning a major title every year so that's not a bad average."

  • Need to know - 54.21% of users on the website amiannoying.com think Henin-Hardenne is annoying. Inexplicably, Gabriela Sabatini is ranked the world's most annoying tennis player.

  • Grass rating - 8/10


VENUS WILLIAMS
Odds: 6/1

  • Full name -Venus Ebony Starr Williams. Venus once said "anti-inflammatories are my middle name" - but we don't think she was serious.

  • Also known as - V.

  • Wimbledon high - Last year's triumph was as impressive as it was surprising - particularly as it featured not one, but two memorable matches, against Maria Sharapova in the semis and Lindsay Davenport in the final.

  • Wimbledon low - That would be 2004's second-round exit to Karolina Sprem - who was subsequently touted as a star of the future and has done precisely nothing since.

  • Gruntometer - Less a grunt, more a scream which has reached 85 decibels, nearly as loud as an electric drill.

  • In her own words - "I don't think tennis should be the main thing in any player's life. There are so many more things that are important. This is only one stage of my life, and I'll move on from this one day. I don't live and die with each win or loss."

  • Need to know - Venus has her own interior design company, V Starr Interiors, which promises to help clients achieve "an easier, more comfortable lifestyle...a better world".

  • Grass rating - 10/10

Anastasia Myskina
ANASTASIA MYSKINA
Odds: 66/1

  • Full name - Anastasia Andreyevna Myskina.

  • Also known as - Nastya.

  • Wimbledon high - Typical of the contrary Russian, she came into last year's tournament in terrible form, and promptly made it to the quarters - her best ever showing on the SW19 lawns.

  • Wimbledon low - The then-French Open champion suffered a sorry third-round defeat to mediocre American Amy Frazier in 2004.

  • Gruntometer - Low - but the same can't be said of Myskina's infamous screams of frustration between points.

  • In her own words - "There's so many things you can do besides tennis. I don't want to be in the middle of the field of something. I want to be either a top player or just do something else."

  • Need to know - Myskina's boyfriend is Dynamo Moscow hockey player Alexandr Stepanov. She used to go out with her coach Jens Gerlach and he remains her coach despite the split.

  • Grass rating - 6/10


MARIA SHARAPOVA
Odds: 5/2

  • Full name - Maria Yurevna Sharapova.

  • Also known as - Masha.

  • Wimbledon high - Owned Wimbledon in 2004 with a stunning run to the final and a nerveless win over Serena Williams in an unforgettable final.

  • Wimbledon low - Last year outgoing Wimbledon referee Alan Mills described grunting as a "matter the rule-makers should address", prompting a wave of headlines about Sharapova's ear-splitting shriek. The ice-cool Russian responded: "I don't pay any attention to that. I never have and I probably never will."

  • Gruntometer - The Queen of Scream topped 100 decibels last year - as loud as a police siren or a small aircraft landing.

  • In her own words - (after winning in 2004) "To tell you the truth, I don't know what the tactics were. I was just playing. I couldn't really care less what was going on around me. I was in my own little world - I don't know what world that was really."

  • Need to know - When she won the title in 2004, Sharapova ate at the same Thai restaurant every night.

  • Grass rating - 8/10


ELENA DEMENTIEVA
Odds: 80/1

  • Full name - Elena Dementieva.

  • Also known as - When she was young, she was known as 'Petite' because she was so tall. It's ironic you see?

  • Wimbledon high - Has never got beyond the fourth round. The only guaranteed high is her double-fault tally.

  • Wimbledon low - Losing to the little-known Sandra Kleinova in the first round two years was not her finest hour.

  • Gruntometer - A decent effort from the Russian, but not up to compatriot Sharapova's level.

  • In her own words - "I want neither big money nor big fame. I want everything in moderation."

  • Need to know - Dementieva was unknowingly the official flag-follower for Russia at the opening ceremony of the 2000 Olympics in Sydney. "I just didn't realise what they meant when they asked me. I thought: we are all following the flag, right?"

  • Grass rating - 5/10


MARTINA HINGIS
Odds: 8/1

  • Full name - Martina Hingisova-Molitorova.

  • Also known as - Swiss Miss, Chucky.

  • Wimbledon high - Has to be 1997 when she won the title at the age of 16, the youngest Open era champion.

  • Wimbledon low - Just a fortnight after tearfully throwing away the French Open final, Hingis was thrashed 6-2 6-0 in the first round at Wimbledon by world number 129 Jelena Dokic.

  • Gruntometer - Does not even register. On her return to the tour this year, Hingis described Maria Sharapova's scream as "quite funny".

  • In her own words - "There are people who give up and those who do something about it." (No prizes for guessing which camp Hingis puts herself in)

  • Need to know - A real sporting all-rounder, having been linked with golfer Sergio Garcia (romance hit the rough) and footballer Sol Campbell as well as a ski instructor and several fellow tennis players. Her latest boyfriend is Czech tennis star Radek Stepanek.

  • Grass rating - 8/10


SVETLANA KUZNETSOVA
Odds: 12/1

  • Full name - Svetlana Kuznetsova.

  • Also known as - Kuzya, Kuzy, Sveta.

  • Wimbledon high - Reached her first Grand Slam quarter-final here in 2003 and also reached the last eight last year. Was also runner-up in the women's doubles last year with Amelie Mauresmo.

  • Wimbledon low - In 2004, she went to Wimbledon as the Eastbourne champion, only to crash out in the first round to qualifier Virginie Razzano.

  • Gruntometer - One from the old school, Kuznetsova opts for the traditional low-level grunt.

  • In her own words - "I couldn't wish for more. I have everything. I'm playing my favourite game. I'm very happy with the life I'm going through."

  • Need to know - She comes from excellent sporting pedigree - only it's in cycling, not tennis. Her mother was a six-time world champion, her brother won an Olympic silver medal and her father is one of Russia's leading cycling coaches.

  • Grass rating - 7/10

Odds provided by Ladbrokes as at 19 June 2006



SEE ALSO
Men to watch at Wimbledon
22 Jun 06 |  Tennis


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