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While players such as Berdych or Tsonga or Roddick or del Potro have shown they can compete with the best on their best days -- and No. 4 Andy Murray, a three-time major finalist, gets plenty of home-crowd support because he represents Britain -- the expectation is that Djokovic, Nadal or Federer will extend their hard-to-believe rule at Grand Slam tournaments.
"Murray is obviously the other guy. He would be the other guy that would have the next best chance," said seven-time major champion John McEnroe, who'll be calling matches for ESPN as it takes over from NBC as the main Wimbledon TV channel in the United States.
For some perspective, consider what's been going on in golf: When Webb Simpson won the U.S. Open last weekend, he was the ninth consecutive first-time major champion in that sport; he also was the 15th man to win one of the past 15 majors. That sort of parity does exist in tennis, too, but only in the women's game, where six players divided up the most recent six Grand Slam titles, capped by Maria Sharapova's triumph at the French Open.
That return to the top -- and to No. 1 in the WTA rankings -- makes her a popular pick to do well at Wimbledon, too. She did, after all, make her breakthrough at the grass-court tournament by winning it at age 17 in 2004.
There also are cases to be made for four-time Wimbledon champion Serena Williams, who is sure to be intent on making up for a first-round loss at Roland Garros; defending champion Petra Kvitova; recent No. 1 Victoria Azarenka, a semifinalist a year ago; 2007 runner-up Marion Bartoli; former No. 1 Caroline Wozniacki, probably the best player without a Grand Slam title; and even Venus Williams, who might be slowed by an autoimmune disease but still knows how to get the most out of her big serve and powerful groundstrokes at a tournament she's won five times.
It's much easier to come up with a lengthy list of contenders for the women's title than it is for the men's.
Why has tennis' top trio won major after major?
"Because they are too good," Tsonga said. "That's it. They're just too good."
Copyright 2012 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.
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