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Serena Williams, Novak Djokovic manage Wimbledon pressure

By The Sports Xchange
Serena Williams, Novak Djokovic manage Wimbledon pressure
American Serena Williams. Photo by David Silpa/UPI | License Photo

Top seeds and defending champions Serena Williams and Novak Djokovic are confident the extra pressure won't bother them heading into the start of Wimbledon on Monday as they try to reach more milestones.

Williams, No. 1 in the world, won the first three Grand Slams of 2015 but the American has failed in her last three attempts to match Steffi Graf's Open era record of 22 major titles.

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"Honestly, I don't feel any pressure," Williams said Sunday in her Wimbledon news conference in London. "I feel good and confident."

On the other side, world No. 1 Djokovic finally captured his long-awaited French Open title earlier this month that completed his collection of Grand Slam wins.

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Djokovic bids for a fifth consecutive major title and the third leg of a calendar year Grand Slam.

"Pressure is part of what we do," Djokovic said Sunday. "It's inevitable to face this kind of sensation as a top player, being expected to do well and to go as far as last four at least in the tournament or finals.

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"But you know, the more you get to face this kind of pressures and emotions, the more you get used to them. The better you are in coping with it and handling it."

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The 34-year-old Williams could have a quarterfinal matchup against Roberta Vinci, who upset Williams in the semifinals of the U.S. Open last year and ended her bid for a calendar year sweep of all four major titles.

Williams has fallen short in the finals of each of this season's first two slam events and has won only a single title this season, in Rome.

"I think it's important to learn from every loss that you have," Williams said. "Throughout my whole career I have been able to learn a lot, to come back a much better player.

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"I'm definitely ready to start playing at this point. I'm kind of over-practicing every day for two hours, then going to the gym for some time."

Williams will face qualifier Amra Sadikovic in her opening match on Tuesday. Williams could face third-seeded Agnieszka Radwanska in the semifinals.

Djokovic has won four straight major titles dating back to Wimbledon last year and accumulated nearly twice as many rankings points as world No. 2 Andy Murray.

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"I can certainly say that I've been working hard to get that consistency," Djokovic said. "I think, for myself, throughout the years on the tour, on all different kinds of surfaces, trying to better my game as my career went on. Trying to be dedicated to my own progress, my own improvement."

The 29-year-old Djokovic became the third man to hold all four Grand Slam crowns at the same time, joining Don Budge (1938) and Rod Laver (1962, 1969).

The Serbian joined Laver, Andre Agassi, Roger Federer and Rafael Nadal as the only men to claim the career Grand Slam during the Open era.

With 12 majors, Djokovic is only behind Federer (17), Nadal (14) and Pete Sampras (14) in Grand Slams.

Since losing the 2015 final in Paris, Djokovic has won 28 Grand Slam matches in a row.

Djokovic could face Federer in the semifinals. Federer, a seven-time Wimbledon champion seeded No. 3, was placed in Djokovic's top half of the draw. Djokovic is a three-time Wimbledon champion.

Djokovic will take on Britain's James Ward in the first match on center court Monday.

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