Maria Sharapova believes the Williams sisters will again be the players to beat at Wimbledon this year.


Between them the sisters have won nine of the last 11 titles at SW19, with only Sharapova in 2004 and Amelie Mauresmo two years later breaking their dominance. The Russian will be one of the players expected to challenge for the title again after returning to something like her best form, but she knows which names will be on everybody’s lips. Sharapova said: “They’ve been champions here for many years. They’re obviously the ones to beat on grass. They’ve been out for a while so it’s definitely great to have them back.” Serena has dropped down to 26th in the rankings but has been seeded eighth because of her record at Wimbledon while Venus has been promoted from 33rd to 23rd. The changes mean although Serena is in the same half of the draw as top seed Caroline Wozniacki and fifth seed Sharapova, she could not meet either until the semi-finals.

Sharapova looks to have her best chance of winning a second Wimbledon title for a number of years after finally putting her long-term shoulder problems behind her. She impressed at the French Open, reaching the semi-finals for only the second time in her career before losing to eventual champion Li Na, and the Russian believes that will prove to be ideal preparation for Wimbledon. She added: “I’m playing a lot better. I played a lot of matches on clay, which I really wanted to do. One of the reasons I love the transition is because I feel like you learn so much about the game when you’re on the clay courts. “This is one of the best parts of the year for me. It’s one of the toughest transitions from clay to grass, but for me it’s a lot of fun.”



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