Six to serve notice in the women's draw

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The Independent Online

The old-timer: Amy Frazier

Frazier played her first Wimbledon back in 1988. Since then, she has missed only the 1993 tournament. No other competing player has her experience of SW19. But of the 14 times she has played at the All England Club, Frazier has only ever reached the fourth round three times, most recently in 1996. Do not, therefore, expect great things from the 30-year-old American. She should get past the first round, but will struggle against her likely opponent, the No 7 seed Chanda Rubin, in the second. Still, there is always next year.

The home hope: Anne Keothavong

None of the British women inspire much confidence on the eve of The Championships, so logic dictates that the new No 1 should be the best hope. Keothavong, coached by Tony Pickard and Alan Jones, has just taken over from Elena Baltacha at the top of the British rankings, and goes into Wimbledon with pride rather than high optimism. "You never know on home soil," she said, "but you have to remain realistic." Her first round, against Slovakia's Katarina Srebotnik, is winnable, but then Venus Williams may be waiting.

The baseliner: Conchita Martinez

There was a time, not so long ago, when the Spaniard was regarded as the exception rather than the rule. When she won Wimbledon in 1994, purists were appalled that a base-liner could do the trick. Nowadays, hitting from the back of the court is the norm, and Martinez is celebrated by many as a pioneer of the technique. The irony does not end there, as the 31-year-old is now being praised for her cunning, rather than power, from the baseline. "First I was boring," she jokes, "now they say I am a relief from the big hitters."

The traditionalist: Eleni Daniilidou

Serve-and-volleyers in the women's game are about as common as Grand Slam finals not involving the Williams sisters. No wonder, then, much hope has been placed on Daniilidou, 20. The Greek is a devoted serve-and-volleyer, who says Pete Sampras is her favourite player of all time. She lost in the fourth round at Wimbledon last year and has risen up the rankings ever since. She comes into The Championships with mixed grass-court results - a semi-final at Birmingham having been followed by a first-round exit at Eastbourne.

Nalbandian factor: Ashley Harkleroad

Unseeded players rarely make an impact in the big events, but two teenagers who happen to face each other in the first round may soon change the rules. Maria Sharapova, the Russian labelled "the new Anna Kournikova", meets Ashley Harkleroad, the great American hope, in what is being dubbed as "the match of the future No 1s". Harkleroad is the older of the two, at 17. She also has more experience of the senior Tour, and a better ranking. In the end, though, nerves will probably be the deciding factor in their match-up.

Oddballs please: Venus Williams

Williams used to be regarded as a tennis-obsessed athlete, but she is in fact much more detached from the sport than her younger sister Serena. Recent performances confirm that Venus is no longer as interested in the game that she once dominated. Away from the courts, too, she has been preparing for life after tennis. A few months ago, she started her own interior-design company. And this is no Bjorn Borg-style investment; as the president and chief executive officer, Williams is involved at every level.

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