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Wimbledon 2008: More contenders fly the coop

Animal rights group PETA is angry with Wimbledon officials for killing pigeons (as a last resort) to keep them off the courts and away from restaurant tables, but meanwhile odds-makers are ready to protest now that more title contenders have been shot down.

In an upset no one saw coming, 2004 titlist Maria Sharapova was easily dismissed from the Championships by her unknown compatriot, Alla Kudryavtseva. Sharapova follows her friend and fellow one-time threat for the title, Novak Djokovic, out of the tournament's second round. But whereas Djokovic lost to Marat Safin, an erratic but always dangerous former No. 1, Maria fell to the unheralded, 154th ranked Kudryavtseva in miserable fashion. And I'm not talking about that ugly ass tuxedo-inspired shirt of hers either.

When Sharapova started the year by claiming her third career Grand Slam title at the Australian Open, it seemed as though she was poised to truly take her place atop the women's rankings. However, she squandered a huge opportunity at the French Open, collapsing in her match against eventual runner-up Dinara Safina and now she's gone out so quietly at Wimbledon that her loss was almost a non-event. Sharapova talks a big game about not letting negative results affect her confidence. Already a tour veteran at the tender age of 21, she will nonetheless have a lot to prove as the summer wears on.

Also gone is America's Andy Roddick, a two-time finalist who seemed sure to advance to the semis this year before running into Janko Tipsarevic. Once a Wimbledon champion-in-waiting, Roddick's career has paled to insignificance in the shadow of Roger Federer and it seems that Andy's dream of winning on the grass at SW19 may never come true.

Still, it could be worse for Maria and Andy. They could have bird shit in their strawberries and cream.

-Wyman Meers