Guy Hodgson's guide to the leading men

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PETE SAMPRAS

(United States)

Seed 1

Age 21

Right-handed

Height 6ft 1in

Wimbledon record:

P 4, SF 1

The world's No 1, but not the best performer in grand slams. Has won only one, the 1990 US Open, and has hardly been hammering at the door of Wimbledon's trophy cabinet. Best performance was last year when he reached the semis. Though right-handed he has based his game on Rod Laver's. As a serve-and-volleyer, he should do well. But the emphasis is on should.

STEFAN EDBERG

(Sweden)

Seed 2

Age 27

Right-handed

Height 6ft 2in

Wimbledon record:

P 10, W 2, RU 1

Vying with Becker for the reputation as the best grass-court player in the world, he reached three successive Wimbledon finals from 1988 until Michael Stich and Goran Ivanisevic broke the sequence. His win the US Open last September contradicts any suggestion that he is a spent force, however, and his early exit in Paris has merely given him an extra week's practice on grass.

JIM COURIER

(United States)

Seed 3

Age 22

Right-handed

Height 6ft 1in

Wimbledon record:

P 4, QF 1

The specifications on the man they call 'the machine' have still to be set correctly for grass, Wimbledon being the only grand slam event in which he has not reached the final. Last year's win by a clay-court specialist in Agassi has motivated him, which is ominous as he is smarting from missing out on his third successive French title a fortnight ago. No one will be working harder.

BORIS BECKER

(Germany)

Seed 4

Age 25

Right-handed

Height 6ft 3in

Wimbledon record:

P 9, W 3, RU 3

It is becoming a pre-Wimbledon ritual for Becker to sack his coach and sure enough Gunther Bresnik was dismissed five weeks ago. Which does not encourage the hope that the German has shaken off the mind weariness that has restricted him to one grand slam title in the last 14. He has it within him to be the world's best player, but can it be tapped any more?

GORAN IVANISEVIC

(Croatia)

Seed 5

Age 21

Left-handed.

Height 6ft 4in

Wimbledon record:

P 5, RU 1, SF 1

No stroke will be feared more in these championships than the Croat's serve, which crashed down for more than 200 aces in 1992. Probably should have won last year's final when he had Agassi struggling persistently until he blew a mental gasket and the match with double faults. Undoubtedly has the game to win Wimbledon but doubts remain about his mind.

MICHAEL STICH

(Germany)

Seed 6

Age 23

Right-handed

Height 6ft 4in

Wimbledon record:

P 4, W 1, QF 1

An exception among the leading men in that his confidence has a semi-permanent sheen to it, Stich serves ferociously and has a backhand that is particularly potent on faster surfaces. Won two years ago and says he is more comfortable without the responsibility of being defending champion at Wimbledon. A contender with near impeccable credentials, especially after winning Queen's.

IVAN LENDL

(United States)

Seed 7

Age 33

Right-handed

Height 6ft 2in

Wimbledon record:

P 13, RU 2, SF 5

The obsession continues but the belief that Lendl will win the one grand slam title to elude him declines every year. His serve and forehand were the dominant strokes of the Eighties but these days he is even vulnerable on his favourite surface, clay. On grass, where his volley lets him down, he was always suspect so it would be a big surprise if he won Wimbledon now.

ANDRE AGASSI

(United States)

Seed 8

Age 23

Right-handed

Height 5ft 11in

Wimbledon record:

P 3, W 1, QF 1

It took a lot of statistics bending by the seedings committee to get the champion into the top eight as he has hardly picked up a racket in the last three months. Tendonitis of the right wrist has caused the lay-off which seems to have added inches to Agassi's waistline as surely as it has subtracted his rankings points. His appearance is likely to be brief but, no doubt, spectacular.

(Photographs omitted)

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