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The View from Down Under – Green grass of London in the spotlight

Despite Australia’s tennis stars equaling their worst combined showing since the Second World War, this weekend’s Wimbledon finals will still have our nation’s attention.

The grass courts at the Old England Club in South West London have been the scene of some of our greatest sporting triumphs over the years, with names like Rod Laver, Roy Emerson and John Newcombe paving the way for Lleyton Hewitt, who remains our most recent winner of the illustrious title.

Nowadays, we have the likes of Nick Kyrgios, and don’t get me started on Bernard Tomic flying our flag, or should I say, lowering our flag.

Enough about them, though. The men who will be battling it out for the trophy will be Roger Federer, who’s currently a $2.50 (+150) favorite, ahead of Novak Djokovic and local hope Andy Murray, who are both at $4 (+300).

If Federer can salute, it will be a record eighth time that he’s tasted success at the famous tournament, surpassing Pete Sampras’ seven titles in the open era.

The Australian connection is in the women’s draw where Aussie-born Johanna Konta is through to the semifinals.

Konta is a $3.25 (+225) chance to become the first female to win her nation’s Grand Slam since Virginia Wade in 1977.

The others left standing in her way are five-time winner Venus Williams ($4 or +300), unseeded Magdalena Rybarikova ($8 or +700) and the favorite, 2015 finalist Garbine Muguruza ($2.50 or +150).

It’s a big weekend for sport in Britain, with the Formula 1 Grand Prix taking place at Silverstone, which is just a 90-minute drive from Wimbledon.

Aussie Dan Ricciardo finished on the podium again last week in Austria, and is now just 29 points from third place in the drivers’ championship. He’s listed as a $251 (+25000) shot to take out that title, while current leader Sebastian Vettel is fighting it out for favoritism at $1.95 (-105) with Lewis Hamilton.

Speaking of Hamilton, he’ll have the support of the home crowd, and the punters this weekend. He currently stands at $1.72 (-139) to win his home Grand Prix, while the West Australian Ricciardo is at $21 (+2000).

Back on home soil, the AFL season continued to surprise last week, with the favorite winning and covering the line in just three of the nine games, and one club, the Greater Western Sydney Giants, becoming the first team in 96 years to draw two consecutive games. The odds on that happening were $2501 (+25000)!

This weekend sees many more intriguing battles, as teams set themselves for the final seven games of the home and away season. The betting market is a bit of a mixed bag: there are three games with a line of under a goal, while two games have a line of over 35 points.

Across the ditch in New Zealand, the first match of a shortened NRL round will take place, when the Warriors ($1.70 or -143) host the Panthers ($2.17 or +117), before the Raiders ($1.55 or -182) host the Dragons ($2.48 or +148) in the nation’s capital.

The third and deciding game of the State of Origin series took place on Wednesday night, so it’s always smart to wait and see who pulls up well from that game, before placing a bet on the weekend’s action.

Yes, that’s right, these guys back up from playing for their state — in what is widely regarded as the most physical game of Rugby League in the world — by playing for their club, sometimes just 48 hours later. Crazy.

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