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5 things at Wimbledon: Newcomers vs. half of Big 4

Published on NewsOK Modified: July 3, 2014 at 8:58 am •  Published: July 3, 2014
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LONDON (AP) — At 35 of the past 37 Grand Slam tournaments, a member of tennis' so-called "Big 4" — Roger Federer, Rafael Nadal, Novak Djokovic and Andy Murray — won the championship.

The quartet's dominance is even more pronounced at Wimbledon: They've collected the last 11 titles, seven for Federer.

For nine years in a row, at least two members of that group participated in the All England Club semifinals, a streak that continues Friday, when the No. 1-seeded Djokovic faces No. 11 Grigor Dimitrov, and No. 4 Federer meets No. 8 Milos Raonic.

The contrast in experience and accomplishments is striking.

Federer, 32, owns 17 major titles and will be playing in his 35th career Slam semifinal.

Djokovic, 27, has won six majors. This is his 23rd such semifinal.

Raonic and Dimitrov are both 23 and making their debuts at this stage of a major.

"You can't really outrun time, in one way. New guys got to come up and they've got to step up. We've been doing better and better, especially throughout this year," Raonic said about the prospect of a transition at the top of the sport.

"It's good to be a part of it," he continued. "It's nice to see that sort of human side to those four guys."

Here are five things to watch Friday at Wimbledon in the men's semifinals:

FEDERER: A year after exiting in the second round while bothered by a bad back, Federer is again playing dominating grass-court tennis. Since winning his first Grand Slam title at Wimbledon in 2003, though, Federer has never gone this long without reaching a major final — it's been two years since he won at the All England Club in 2012.

DJOKOVIC: He's lost in the title match at three of the past four Grand Slam tournaments — against Murray at Wimbledon and against Nadal at the U.S. Open last year, and against Nadal at the French Open last month. After working for years to break through the Federer-Nadal duo, now Djokovic is part of the elite, trying to hold off the new challengers. "We have these youngsters coming up, fearless on the court, hitting the ball, not caring who is across the net," Djokovic said. "It's good. It gets more attention to new faces and to (a) new wave."

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