Wimbledon: No seedings for Venus on probable swansongs
There are likely to be some anxious faces among the world's leading women when they scan the draw for Wimbledon, which will be made at the All England Club tomorrow morning. Since the number of seeds was doubled to 32 in 2001 the top players have generally been handed a comfortable passage in the first two rounds, but this year's draw could see any of the leading lights paired with Venus Williams or Kim Clijsters in the first round next week.
Williams and Clijsters are unseeded for the first time for 15 years and 12 years respectively. The All England Club always reserve the right to adjust their women's seedings from the official world rankings but decided this year to follow them to the letter. Williams, who has been rebuilding her ranking after missing six months following her diagnosis with an auto-immune disease last summer, is currently the world No 55, while Clijsters, who has missed most of this year through injury, is the world No 53.
Clijsters has already announced that she will retire – for a second time – after the US Open in September. The former world No 1 would love to make a major impact on her final appearance at Wimbledon, although she will be back for next month's Olympics. Clijsters has never reached the final at Wimbledon, though she made the semi-finals in both 2003 and 2006.
Williams, who will also play at the Olympics, has not announced any long-term decisions about her own future, but there must be a possibility that this will be the five-times Wimbledon champion's last appearance at the tournament where she has enjoyed the most success.
The men's seedings largely follow the world rankings, although extra emphasis is given to recent form on grass. The main beneficiary is Bernard Tomic, a quarter-finalist last year, who is ranked No 27 but will be the No 20 seed. Andy Roddick, the world No 33, scrapes in as the No 30 seed. Gaël Monfils, the world No 15, has withdrawn because of a knee injury. Andy Murray is No 4 seed behind Novak Djokovic, Rafael Nadal and Roger Federer.
British interest in the singles in the Aegon International at Eastbourne ended yesterday when Heather Watson, Laura Robson and Jamie Baker all lost their second-round matches. Watson was beaten 7-6, 6-1 by the Czech Republic's Lucie Safarova, while Robson went down 6-4, 7-5 to Russia's Ekaterina Makarova. Germany's Philipp Kohlschreiber beat Baker 6-2, 3-6, 6-3.
1 N Djokovic (Serb), 2 R Nadal (Sp), 3 R Federer (Swit), 4 A Murray (GB), 5 J-W Tsonga (Fr), 6 T Berdych (Cz Rep), 7 D Ferrer (Sp), 8 J Tipsarevic (Serb), 9 J M del Potro (Arg), 1 0 M Fish (US).
Selected: 16 M Cilic (Cro), 18 R Gasquet (Fr), 30 A Roddick (US).
1 M Sharapova (Rus), 2 V Azarenka (Blr), 3 A Radwanska (Pol), 4 P Kvitova (Cz Rep), 5 S Stosur (Aus), 6 S Williams (US), 7 C Wozniacki (Den), 8 A Kerber (Ger), 9 M Bartoli (Fr), 10 S Errani (It).
Selected: 11 L Na (China), 14 A Ivan-ovic (Serb), 27 D Hantuchova (Slvk).