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Hingis and Federer head Swiss hopes at Wimbledon

Roger Federer is seeded 15th in the Wimbledon Championship Keystone Archive

The 115th Wimbledon tennis championships get underway in London on Monday and, for the first time, two Swiss players will be among the favourites to win the historic tournament.

This content was published on June 24, 2001 - 22:37

As usual, women's world number one Martina Hingis will be in contention as she looks to follow up on her 1997 Wimbledon victory and end a Grand Slam drought dating back to January 1999.

But Switzerland will also have high hopes in the men's singles, where rising teenage star Roger Federer makes his first seeded appearance.

Despite his relative inexperience, Federer has been picked out as one to watch even by impartial sources.

"Federer has the flowing game and the attacking instinct necessary for a Wimbledon win - perhaps even in the near future," was how the International Tennis Federation magazine appraised the Swiss player's chances.

Federer, who turns 20 in August, has enjoyed a good season so far, winning his first ATP tournament in Milan and reaching his highest ever position in the world rankings. He has been seeded 15th at Wimbledon and should also profit from the new seeding system which has been expanded to cover the top 32 players.

Belgian starters

In the first round, the Basel player is set to take on Belgium's Christophe Rochus (ATP 80) in what will be the first meeting between the two players. Federer is then expected to meet another Belgian, world number 56 Xavier Melisse in round two.

If he can make it to the fourth round, Federer is likely to face a major challenge though, with his likely opponent none other than Wimbledon legend Pete Sampras. The American, who has won the grass court tournament a record seven times, has never yet played against Federer.

"The first rounds are okay," Federer said after viewing the draw, "but it's still too early to think about the possible game with Sampras."

Trouble ahead for Hingis?

In the women's draw Hingis should have an easy start, although her probable second round tie against a certain Lina Krasnoroutskaya could prove interesting - the Russian, who recently reached the quarter-finals at Roland Garros, is currently being coached by Hingis' mother, Melanie Molitor.

Talented Belgian eighth seed Justine Henin may start to make things difficult for Hingis in the quarter-finals before a potentially dramatic semi-final which could pit the Swiss star against Jennifer Capriati or Serena Williams.

Capriati is sure to be one of the favourites with the Wimbledon crowd this fortnight, as the American looks to win her third successive Grand Slam title. In her two previous triumphs at the Australian Open and at Roland Garros, Capriati enjoyed significant wins over Hingis.

Besides the country's two biggest names, Switzerland will have a further six representatives hoping to cause upsets. Marc Rosset, Michel Kratochvil and Ivo Heuberger make up the rest of the men's delegation while Hingis is joined in the women's draw by Patty Schnyder, Emmanuelle Gagliardi and Miroslava Vavrinec.

swissinfo with agencies

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