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Five things to look out for on Sunday

Maria Sharapova hits a backhand during her third round match against Su-Wei Hsieh.
by Mark Hodgkinson
Sunday 29 July 2012

Bill Gates and America's First Lady Michelle Obama have already been at the All England Club this week, and the Duchess of Cambridge is expected at some stage during the Olympic tennis tournament. Perhaps it will be today? The Duchess is plainly a tennis fans – it will be her third visit this summer, after a couple of appearances during The Championships, meaning she has been to Wimbledon more often this year than the Queen has in the past 30. Serena gave Michelle – for the Wimbledon champion, she's Michelle, not Mrs Obama or the First Lady - a thumbs-up to acknowledge her presence in her family box. If the Duchess pops into the tennis when Andy Murray is on court, would he get away with the same greeting to the future Queen? 

There could be clear proof during a Maria Sharapova match that she's enjoying herself on a tennis court. That doesn't happen very often when the match is still live – it's only after the handshake that you see her smile and the pleasure. For Maria, business is business, and that means cold eyes, a cold mind, tucking her hair behind her eyes, and smacking the hell out of the ball. Perhaps Sharapova will show a different side on court today when she becomes an Olympian for the first time, playing Shahar Peer in the singles. There can be no doubt what being at the London Games means to Sharapova – that much was obvious when she carried Russia's flag at the Opening Ceremony, at her first Olympics. So maybe, just maybe, she will show that she's taking pleasure from a match. 

It will not just be Americans who will be keeping a close eye on how Venus Williams plays against Italy's Sara Errani in her opening match. Should Venus lose, there will be much speculation as to whether the Californian – who has five Wimbledon singles titles – will ever play singles again at the All England Club.

Yes, Andy Murray played doubles with his older brother Jamie on Saturday evening, but it will be when he plays singles on Sunday, against Switzerland's Stan Wawrinka, that we should be able to get a proper feel for how the tennis public's attitude towards him has changed since the Wimbledon Championships. A fair number of Britons, and those around the world, changed their opinion of Murray when he wept after losing to Roger Federer in his first Wimbledon final. Serena Williams said of the crowd on the first day of the Games: "I absolutely love being here because I love playing Wimbledon, but this atmosphere I didn't expect. It's bananas and I love it." Doubtless the All England Club will also let its hair down for Murray against Wawrinka.

Realise, on only Day Two, that you have become accustomed to the mauve signage and players in coloured shirts.

The London 2012 Olympic tennis is taking place at Wimbledon. Visit the ITF Olympics site for full scores, draws and the London 2012 site for video content, venue and schedule information.


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