Serena Williams will be chasing her eighth Wimbledon title.
Serena Williams will be chasing her eighth Wimbledon title.

Wimbledon gives Serena special seeding

WIMBLEDON has broken with tradition and elevated Serena Williams, in a move widely regarded as commonsense despite player backlash.

Anxious to avoid a repeat of the farcical situation at the French Open, where unseeded Williams careered through the draw into the fourth round, Wimbledon promoted the seven-time champion into the seedings.

Chasing a record-equalling 24th major overall, Williams has been lifted from a world ranking of No.183 to the 25th seeding - one place lower than bitter arch rival Maria Sharapova.

Contesting her first grand slam since becoming a mother in September, Williams was forced to withdraw from Roland Garros with a pectoral strain.

But not before her surge unbalanced the draw as she prematurely eliminated seeds, including Australia's Ashleigh Barty.

Williams is now fully recovered and considered a legitimate title threat.

Wimbledon officials said the "the seeding order follows the WTA ranking list, except where in the opinion of the Tennis Sub-Committee, a change is necessary to produce a balanced draw."

The tournament seedings usually mirror the world rankings.

The decision to push Williams into the seedings at the expense of Australian Open finalist Dominika Cibulkova - a move subtly foreshadowed this week by officials - has already triggered fierce debate.

Cibulkova, who is ranked No 32, is unhappy.

"Why should I not be seeded if I have the right to be?" she asked.

"It would be different if I was No.6 seed and they put me at No.10, you know.

"But it's just not fair if there is a player (who misses out) and it's me now. I have the right and I should be seeded."

Briton Heather Watson said she would support a seeding in Williams' situation, adding was  "the exception", but insisted no other returning mothers should receive the same kind of support.

"I don't think you should have a protected ranking if you have a baby, because it's your choice to have that baby," she said.

"Injuries aren't a choice."

Daria Gavrilova was pushed down a spot from her world ranking of No.25 to accommodate Williams, but Barty's 17th seeding reflects her ranking.

Roger Federer returns to the top of the Wimbledon draw despite losing the world No 1 ranking to Rafael Nadal Picture: AP
Roger Federer returns to the top of the Wimbledon draw despite losing the world No 1 ranking to Rafael Nadal Picture: AP

Simona Halep and Roger Federer are the top seeds.

Federer returns to the top of the draw, despite losing the world No.1 ranking to Rafael Nadal on Monday, under Wimbledon's seeding formula, which takes into account grass court performances over the past two years.

The formula allowed Nick Kyrgios to rise from No.19 in the rankings to 16th seed.

Triple champion Novak Djokovic climbed from No.17 to 12th seed.

The tournament draw is held on Friday.

WIMBLEDON SEEDINGS

Men

1 Roger Federer, 2 Rafael Nadal, 3 Marin Cilic, 4 Alexander Zverev, 5 Juan Martin del Potro, 6 Grigor Dimitrov, 7 Dominic Thiem, 8 Kevin Anderson, 9 John Isner, 10 David Goffin, 11 Sam Querrey, 12 Novak Djokovic, 13 Milos Raonic, 14 Roberto Bautista Agut, 15 Diego Schwartzman, 16 Nick Kyrgios, 17 Borna Coric, 18 Lucas Pouille, 19 Jack Sock, 20 Fabio Fognini, 21 Pablo Carreno Busta, 22 Kyle Edmund, 23 Adrian Mannarino, 24 Richard Gasquet, 25 Kei Nishikori, 26 Hyeon Chung, 27 Philipp Kohlschreiber, 28 Denis Shapovalov, 29 Damir Dzumhur, 30 Filip Krajinovic, 31 Marco Cecchinato, 32 Fernando Verdasco

Women

1 Simona Halep, 2 Caroline Wozniacki, 3 Garbine Muguruza, 4 Sloane Stephens, 5 Elina Svitolina, 6 Caroline Garcia, 7 Karolina Pliskova, 8 Petra Kvitova, 9 Venus Williams, 10 Madison Keys, 11 Angelique Kerber, 12 Jelena Ostapenko, 13 Julia Goerges, 14 Daria Kasatkina, 15 Elise Mertens, 16 Coco Vandeweghe, 17 Ashleigh Barty, 18 Naomi Osaka, 19 Magdalena Rybarikova, 20 Kiki Bertens, 21 Anastasija Sevastova, 22 Johanna Konta, 23 Barbora Strycova, 24 Maria Sharapova, 25 Serena Williams, 26 Daria Gavrilova, 27 Carla Suarez Navarro, 28 Anett Kontaveit, 29 Mihaela Buzarnescu, 30 Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova, 31 Shuai Zhang, 32 Agnieszka Radwanska

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