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Wimbledon Odds are Headlined by Favorites Djokovic, Williams

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The effect that Novak Djokovic’s seeming invincibility is having on Wimbledon betting odds is twofold.

On the one hand, as the first male tennis player to hold all four Grand Slam men’s singles titles at once since the legendary Rod Laver, Djokovic is an overwhelming -150 favorite to win Wimbledon at sportsbooks monitored by OddsShark.com and continue his quest for the Grand Slam.

With the way the 29-year-old Serbian star has been mowing down opponents, though, there are also higher potential payouts on the odds for other challengers that appear at the All England Club during the upcoming fortnight.

Host-nation favorite Andy Murray is a nominal second favorite at +350 on the tennis betting board at the sportsbooks. Aging great Roger Federer, who could potentially face Djokovic in the semifinal, is listed at +1200.

For Djokovic to lose, it might take a combination of him being below peak form against an aggressive opponent with a big serve and go-for-broke attitude. That explains why sixth seed Milos Raonic (+1400) and No. 15 seed Nick Kyrgios (+2200) are relatively high on the board. Each has the arsenal to win a grass-court tournament and are familiar with Wimbledon.

Stan Wawrinka (+2500) is the most recent player to defeat Djokovic at a Grand Slam match. That was more than a year ago, in the 2015 French Open final.

The Wimbledon women’s champion board is topped, of course, by Serena Williams at +150. Williams has nemesis Roberta Vinci lurking as a quarterfinal matchup.

French Open champion Garbine Muguruza, listed at +550, comes in with a lot of hype. Few deny that Muguruza is on course to be the next big thing in women’s tennis, but it often takes a player time to adapt to the extra attention and heightened expectations that come after a player wins her first Grand Slam singles title.

For instance, Angelique Kerber (+2200) has struggled since winning her first Slam at the Australian Open. The draw, incidentally, is set up so that Muguruza would face Venus Williams (+5000) in the quarterfinal.

Petra Kvitova, a two-time Wimbledon champion who also presents a tough matchup since she is a left-hander, is listed at +600. Kvitova has battled a persistent thigh injury in recent weeks, but always seems to elevate her game at Wimbledon.

Madison Keys (+1400), the 21-year-old American, has garnered valuable All England Club experience by reaching at least the third round for three consecutive years.

Azarenka aims to come back in time for Wimbledon

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MOSCOW — Two-time Australian Open champion Victoria Azarenka says she is planning to return to competition before Wimbledon.

Azarenka, who was ranked No. 1 for seven months in 2012 and 2013, went on a break last July to have her first child. She had previously been targeting a return at the July 31-Aug. 6 Bank of the West Classic in California.

In a statement on Twitter, the Belarusian says “my training has been progressing well and I feel ready to start competing,” adding that she plans “to play one of the grass court events prior to Wimbledon.”

Wimbledon starts July 3.

Azarenka won the Australian Open in 2012 and 2013, and has twice reached the Wimbledon semifinals.

Djokovic announces Agassi will coach him at French Open

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ROME — Novak Djokovic is joining forces with Andre Agassi in an effort to return to No. 1.

Djokovic announced Sunday that Agassi will coach him at the French Open, which starts next Sunday.

“I spoke to Andre the last couple weeks on the phone, and we decided to get together in Paris,” Djokovic said. “So he’s going to be there. We’ll see what (the) future brings.

“We are both excited to work together and see where it takes us. We don’t have any long-term commitment. It’s just us trying to get to know each other in Paris a little bit,” Djokovic added. “He will not stay the whole tournament. He’s going to stay only to a certain time, and then we’ll see after that what’s going to happen.”

The second-ranked Djokovic split with longtime coach Marian Vajda and two other team members – fitness coach Gebhard Phil Gritsch, and physiotherapist Miljan Amanovic – at the start of the month.

Agassi, who retired in 2006, won eight Grand Slam titles.

Djokovic has won 12 Grand Slams.

“Andre is someone that I have tremendous respect for as a person and as a player,” Djokovic said. “He has been through everything that I’m going through. On the court he understands the game amazingly well. I am enjoying every conversation that I have with him.

“But also, on the other hand, he’s someone that nurtures the family values, philanthropy work. He’s a very humble man, is very educated. He’s a person that can contribute to my life on and off the court a lot. I’m very excited to see what is ahead of us.”

The pairing is the latest in a series of top players working with former standouts, from Andy Murray and Ivan Lendl, Rafael Nadal and Carlos Moya, and Kei Nishikori and Michael Chang.

Djokovic was coached by Boris Becker the last three seasons, but they split last year.

Vajda started working with Djokovic in 2006.

Djokovic lost his No. 1 ranking to Andy Murray last year after a slump in form following his French Open triumph.

He lost in the third round at Wimbledon, his earliest defeat in a Grand Slam in seven years, lost in the first round at the Rio de Janeiro Olympics, reached the final of the U.S. Open, and lost early again at the Australian Open.

Djokovic finished 2016 at No. 2, his current ranking. He’s won only one of his last 11 tournaments.

While Agassi has not coached a top player before, Djokovic said his record as a player and spokesman of the game was enough to convince him.

“He’s a legend of our sport,” Djokovic said. “He’s made a mark in this sport forever. He’s won everything there is to win in tennis.

“He was a revolutionary player because he had this charisma, he had this approach to tennis and to life that was quite different from others. That’s why he was so interesting.”

Agassi has already been offering advice on the phone.

“He’s been definitely following up closely all the matches, the big matches, especially on the TV,” Djokovic said. “So he knows players, he knows everyone that I was playing against in (the) last couple of weeks, so we talked before every match.

Djokovic added, “I already feel like we are very kind of close to each other and creating this nice vibe.”