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Pro Tennis: Andy Murray

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Pro Tennis: Andy Murray

On Saturday, July 6, Andy Murray broke a 77-year dry spell for Britain. He won London's grand slam, Wimbledon aka The Championships, by beating Novak Djokovic 6-4 7-5 6-4. It was an impressive match, you can watch match highlights here.

Andy Murray is Scottish and British and currently ranked #2 in the world. The past year has been a solid one for him, he won the gold at the 2012 Olympics beating Roger Federer, and Murray won the 2012 US Open beating Djokovic.

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Murray's been playing tennis competitively since the age of 11. Later at 16, he was diagnosed with bipartite patella, where the kneecap remains as two separate bones instead of fusing together in early childhood. During matches, you'll see Murray frequently hold his knee due to the pain caused by the condition. It's incredible that he can play and win with an ailment like that!

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Murray's playing style includes groundstrokes with low error rate, an nuanced ability to anticipate and react and quick transitions from defense to offense. Murray is one of the top returners in the game, returning fast serves with his excellent reach and ability to anticipate. For this reason, Murray is rarely aced. Murray is known for being one of the most intelligent tacticians on the court, often constructing points. It's also been suggested that Murray has the best lob in the game.

For more information, visit his Wikipedia page.

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Pro Tennis: #1 in the World – Serena Williams & Victoria Azarenka

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Pro Tennis: #1 in the World – Serena Williams & Victoria Azarenka

The title of 2012 World #1 Player actually goes to different women depending on your source. The International Tennis Federation (ITF) gives the title to Serena Williams and the Women's Tennis Association (WTF) gives it to Victoria Azarenka.

What's the difference? The ITF ranks performances throughout the year, including Grand Slam tournaments, the ATP World Tour Finals, the Davis Cup, and weekly tour events. The WTF ranks performance on a rolling 52-week, cumulative system. But let's not squabble over details, and talk about how amazing these women are.

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Serena Williams, USA
Williams' record basically speaks for itself: 30 Grand Slam titles, 4 Olympic gold medals. She's been named the World No. 1 Female Player in Singles six times. She's also the oldest player, at 31 years old, to receive the honor.

My favorite stat about Serena Williams? She's the only player ever to achieve a Career Golden Slam in both singles and doubles! (A Career Golden Slam means Williams has won all four grand slam tournaments and an Olympic gold medal over the course of her career. And she did that in singles and doubles. Amazing!)

Williams' is mostly a baseline player and her serve is considered "the greatest serve in the history of women's tennis" by many tennis experts. Her serve has been recorded at 128mph. Her powerful and consistent serve supports her aggressive playing style.

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Victoria Azarenka, Belarus
Azarenka has won two Australian Open singles titles, one US Open mixed doubles title, French Open mixed doubles, gold medal in mixed doubles and a bronze medal in singles at the 2012 Olympics. Azarenka debuted at the junior tennis level in 2003.

"You don’t expect to be smiling when you’re in a tough battle," says Azarenka.

Azarenka is fluent in Belarusian, Russian, English and has some handling of French and Ukrainian. She regards her grandmother as a source of inspiration for her continued development and play in the sport.

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There's a mild rivalry between Azarenka and Williams. They've gone head to head 14 times, and of those matches, Williams has a win-loss record of 12-2.

Both women are playing in the French Open, happening now until June 9!

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