The third Grand Slam tennis tournament of the year gets underway at the All-England Lawn Tennis and Croquet Club near London Monday. Top-seeded Roger Federer of Switzerland begins his campaign for a record-tying seventh Wimbledon tennis title.
Federer is the defending Wimbledon champion after defeating American Andy Roddick last year in a memorable marathon final, 5-7, 7-6, 7-6, 3-6, 16-14. But the Swiss grass-court expert lost his world number-one ranking earlier this month when his arch-rival, Rafael Nadal of Spain, overtook him after winning the French Open.
The world number-two Federer says he is healthy and confident ahead of Wimbledon, despite not having won a tournament since taking the Australian Open title nearly five months ago.
He takes the first step toward reversing that trend Monday, when he plays 65th-ranked Alejandro Falla of Colombia in the first round. But the 28-year-old Federer says he thinks Rafael Nadal will be the biggest obstacle to winning the title. Nadal missed last year's tournament with an injury.
Federer now holds a record 16 Grand Slam titles, but said he was glad he was at Wimbledon when he earned his 15th last year to break American Pete Sampras' record of 14. "Well I mean I broke the record here. It always the tournament that has meant most to me because my heroes and idols have been so successful here. And so it definitely feels like it has come full circle for me, starting it here and sort of ending it here," he said.
Other top men in action Monday include third-seeded Novak Djokovic of Serbia and number-five American Andy Roddick. Nadal begins play on Tuesday.
American Serena Williams is the women's defending champion, after defeating older sister Venus in the 2009 final for her third Wimbledon title after wins in 2002 and 2003. Serena says she was thrilled. "I was excited, like wow, I've won Wimbledon. You know it has been so long and it felt really good," she said.
Serena opens her 2010 campaign on Tuesday when she plays against Michelle Larcher De Brito of Portugal. The Williams sisters have dominated the grass court event, winning eight of the last 10 Wimbledon titles.
Venus Williams is seeded second and plays her first match Monday, while number-four Jelena Jankovic of Serbia and fifth-seeded French Open champion Francesca Schiavone of Italy are also in action.