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Wimbledon men’s singles: Three talking points

Novak Djokovic targets an eighth All England Club title and 24th Grand Slam crown at Wimbledon which gets underway on Monday.

Carlos Alcaraz shapes up to be his biggest rival while Andy Murray celebrates the 10th anniversary of his first title at the tournament.

AFP Sport looks at three talking points ahead of the tournament:

Djokovic eyes Federer and Court records

Fresh from winning a third French Open and men’s record 23rd Grand Slam, Novak Djokovic eyes more history at Wimbledon where an eighth title would take him level with Roger Federer’s all-time mark.

It would also be his fifth in a row at the All England Club where he has become virtually unbeatable — he has not lost on Centre Court in 10 years since falling to Andy Murray in the 2013 final.

A 24th Grand Slam title would take him alongside Margaret Court for most majors ever won.

Djokovic’s 84 wins at Wimbledon are more than the rest of the top 20 combined while nobody else in the current top 10 has ever made a semi-final.

Adding to the sense of history, another title at Wimbledon will leave him needing to win the US Open in September to become the first man since 1969 to complete a calendar Grand Slam.

“I don’t want to say that I am the greatest, because I feel it’s disrespectful towards all the great champions in different eras of our sport,” said Djokovic after winning the French Open.

“So I leave those kind of discussions of who is the greatest to someone else.”

Great expectations on Alcaraz

At just 20, world number one Carlos Alcaraz is seen as the only legitimate threat to Djokovic at Wimbledon.

The US Open champion arrives having secured the prestigious Queen’s Club title, just his third ever tournament on grass.

The Spaniard made the Wimbledon last 16 in 2022 where he was beaten by fellow top 10 player Jannik Sinner.

“Novak is the main favourite to win Wimbledon. That’s obvious,” said Alcaraz who will be top seed for the competition and can only face Djokovic in the final.

For that he will be grateful after losing to the Serb in the semi-finals at the French Open last month where his challenge fell victim to cramping.

He admitted later that the “stress and tension” of seeing Djokovic on the other side of the net had sparked his physical decline.

End of the road for Murray?

When Andy Murray defeated Novak Djokovic in the 2013 final, he ended Britain’s 77-year wait for a men’s champion at Wimbledon.

He backed it up with a second triumph in 2016 but with a recent history of serious injury problems, many fans will wonder if this year will mark the 36-year-old’s last appearance at the All England Club.

Ranked at 39 after gallantly battling his way back up the sport’s pecking order, the former world number one will be unseeded this year.

His last two visits have seen him fail to make the second week while he sat out the 2018 and 2019 singles tournaments.

So will Wimbledon 2023 be Murray’s swansong?

“I hope not, but you never know,” he told Sky Sports.

“If I were to have another big injury or something happened with the metal hip, that would be me finished. I wouldn’t try and come back from another operation.”

He added: “I want to keep playing a bit longer. I know it’s not going to be going on forever, but I have an idea when I’d like to finish, and it’s not this year’s Wimbledon.”