by Mark Mayer | Maria Sharapova and Roger Federer each enter Wimbledon as favorites, but with something to prove. Sharapova, the 2-1 favorite at Caesars Palace, enjoyed the No. 1 womens singles ranking for about a week until losing to Dinara Safina at the French Open and seeing Ana Ivanovic gain the top spot. Sharapova won Wimbledon back in 2004.
Federer has been the worlds top mens tennis player for an astounding 229 consecutive weeks. The Swiss native is a lopsided 5-9 favorite at Caesars to capture Wimbledon for a sixth consecutive year. However, Federer faces a tough first round foe in Dominik Hrbaty, who has a 2-0 lifetime mark against the worlds No. 1. Neither win, however, game on grass.
On the mens side, both Australian Open champ Novak Djokovic and four-time French titlist Rafael Nadal are 3-1. Smart money could be on Nadal, who last week beat Djokovic in the final for his first-ever grass court title and downed Federer for the third straight year in Paris. Andrew Murray, the top English hope, is 12-1. Andy Roddick, the No. 1 American player, is 15-1. The field is 8-1.
On the womens side, the Williams sisters are Americas top hope. Serena is the second betting choice at 11-5, while Venus is 7-2 as she tries to defend her Wimbledon title. Ivanovic, who gained the No. 1 ranking after winning the French Open, is 4-1. Jelena Jankovic, the worlds No. 2, is 7-1. Safina, who lost to Ivanovich in the French final, is 15-1.
If youre looking to wager on a longshot, try Polands 19-year-old sensation Agnieszka Radwanska, who defeated Nadia Petrova last week in the Eastbourne final as the No. 4 seed for her third title of the year. Radwanska opened at 50-1 at Caesars, the same as Petrova. The field in what should be a wide open womens draw is 10-1.
The most prestigious tournament in tennis continues through July 6 with early round action televised on ESPN2.