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Best of Three: Murray, Williams sisters ready for grass courts


1. Leaves of grass: Grass-court season is a term that verges on oxymoronic, so short is the interregnum between the French Open and Wimbledon. After their runs in Paris, both Novak Djokovic and Roger Federer pulled out of their scheduled tuneups and will enter Wimbledon cold. Rafael Nadal kept his commitment to the Aegon Queen's Club event but, understandably exhausted, fell on Friday to Jo-Wilfried Tsonga. (As we write this, Andy Murray -- who demolished Andy Roddick in the semis -- will face Tsonga in a rain-delayed Monday final.) While it would be nice if there were more time to acclimate to a new surface, the problem is largely one of venue. If more complexes could accommodate a week-long grass-court tournament, you could make a better case for padding the schedule.

2. Welcome back, sisters: Even for a pair of siblings who have long tended to come and go like the karma chameleon, Venus and Serena Williams, have take an extended absence. Venus has played five sets of tennis in 2011, having injured her hip in the Australian Open and been on tennis' injured reserve ever since. And Serena hasn't played a match since winning Wimbledon more than 11 months ago. Fortunately both are back with us. And given the parlous -- or, more charitably, parity-rific -- state of the women's game, it would surprise few if Venus or Serena (assuming full health) continued their stranglehold at Wimbledon.

3. Return of the Germanators: It's been a quarter century since Germany was a tennis powerhouse, since Steffi Graf and Boris Becker turned Wimbledon into Fimple-tin and won the his and hers titles at the All England Club. While we're unlikely ever to see that era replicated, there's been a nice tennis boomlet in Germany. At the Halle event, the final was a Teutonic two tonic, as Phil Kohlschrieber beat Philipp "The Petzsch" Petzschner. And when you fill out your Wimbledon women's bracket pay attention to Frauleins: Andrea Petkovic, Julia Goerges and Sabine Lisicki, each of whom has a game that agrees with grass. Jawohl!

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