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WIMBLEDON, England (AP) — As Novak Djokovic, Rafael Nadal and Roger Federer step back on the grass at Wimbledon, each has reason to believe he’ll be hoisting the trophy in two weeks.
None of the other 125 men in the field can honestly say the same.
It’s tough to imagine anyone outside that trio winning this year’s championship at the All England Club, where play begins Monday.
“They’ve, you know, been pretty selfish about Grand Slam titles for a little bit,” said 2003 U.S. Open champion and three-time Wimbledon runner-up Andy Roddick.
They sure have.
It has been either Nadal or Djokovic has won each of the past nine major tournaments.
“It’s up to somebody ... to break that mold,” said Federer, owner of a record 16 Grand Slam titles. “I hope I can do that.”
Add him to the equation, and those three men have combined to win 28 of the past 29 majors, a seven-year run of dominance that began with Nadal’s victory at the 2005 French Open. (The lone exception was the 2009 U.S. Open, where Federer lost in the final to Juan Martin del Potro.)
The top-seeded Djokovic is the defending champion at Wimbledon — and while it’s the only grass-court title on his resume, it’s a rather significant one.
“I mean, this is what I’m born for,” he said after beating Nadal in four sets in the 2011 final. “You know, I want to be a tennis champion. I want to win more Grand Slams. I will definitely not stop here.”