Serena has proved she deserves seeding

Updated: June 18, 2004, 12:01 AM ET
By Pam Shriver | ESPN.com

It's always interesting on grass to see just who can feel confident on a surface they only play on two or three weeks of the year.

Serena Williams rarely seems to lack confidence on the surface. She's defending two consecutive titles here and she has proved that she's the best in the world on this surface.

That's why it was a very prudent move on Wimbledon's part to push Serena's seed up to No. 1. With both Belgians out of the tournament it seems the right thing to do and I'd be surprised if any of the players complain.

It's good that the draw worked out to put Venus Williams in the other half, so that the sisters cannot meet until the final. Before Serena's two titles, Venus won two consecutive at Wimbledon, too.

Once again all four top Americans could meet in the quarterfinals.

In the first round, Serena plays Jie Zheng, who reached the fourth round at the French Open. Zheng didn't get too many singles matches under her belt on grass at Birmingham, but she did reach the semifinals in doubles. This will be only her third major tournament and her first appearance at Wimbledon.

The next potential challenge for Serena is Eleni Danillidou of Greece. Danillidou can play well on grass, but unless Serena is unhealthy, she should get through.

It looks like Serena should meet Capriati again in the quarterfinals. Sometimes the rankings and the draw seem to work out that way with the players consistently bumping into each other.

Capriati opens against Claudine Schaul of Luxembourg, who has had a really good clay-court season. It's a mystery how well she'll make the transition to grass, but Capriati should have a lot of respect for her. Petrova is the danger in Capriati's part of the draw, in the fourth round.

Amelie Mauresmo reached the semifinals here two years ago. She's got a tough third-round match against Lisa Raymond, so Mauresmo's no sure thing to get to the round of 16.

Still, Mauresmo's toughest seed on paper is Svetlana Kuznetsova at eight, so overall it is a pretty good draw. Kuznetsova has potentially difficult second-round matchup with her doubles partner Elena Likhotseva.

You always need to watch out for Mary Pierce, and she's also in this section.

Lindsay Davenport leads off the bottom half of the draw. Once again questions surround Davenport about her health. How is her knee after her problems at the French Open? She is, however, the last Wimbledon winner not named Williams. Davenport has a very favorable draw so, as long as she's healthy, she could do well.

Martina Navratilova is playing singles again. Her best-case scenario is a first-round victory against Catalina Castano of Colombia. In the second round, Navratilova could play Gisela Dulko again, who ousted Navratilova at the French. So based on Navratilova's recent singles success, she'll have fun in that next round. She's still fun to follow.

Vera Zvonareva faces a good young Aussie player in Samantha Stoser in the first round. It could be a tough first round if Stoser holds up the Aussie tradition of playing well on grass.

Venus Williams can't go on automatic pilot in the early rounds with Laura Granville, who has played well at Wimbledon in the past and Karolina Sprem in her part of the draw. However, when Venus gets on grass she really feels confident because this is where she won her first major title. Unless Venus has issues with her second serve or forehand and as long as she's healthy, she should reach the quarters where she'll most likely play Davenport.

French Open runner-up Elena Dementieva is the next seed in the draw. She could have a second-round against Tamarine Tanasugaran of Thailand, who has been playing a while on grass. Dementieva needs to be emotionally recovered from her loss at the French.

I've been waiting for Alicia Molik to break out. She has a natural grass-court game and one of the best serves in tennis. She should get through the early rounds.

Chanda Rubin is back but the knee problems seem to keep reappearing. She could play Ai Sugiyama early. Sugiyama is one to be respected but not feared.

Like Capriati and Serena, Maria Sharapova is paired against French Open champion Anastasia Myskina quite a bit. They would play each other in the round of 16.

This is the first time for Myskina to anchor the bottom half of a bracket. She's got a pretty good draw. She does face a dangerous floater in Maria Kirilenko in the third round.

Unseeded Daniela Hantuchova is another dangerous floater on grass. For the first time in a while we can say with confidence that you should keep an eye on her, but one of her first breakdowns last year was here at Wimbledon. If she's gotten ahold of her emotional side, she can get the game back pretty quick.

There are some running themes here: how did the players use their rest time, how did they recover from their disappointments and how refreshed they are with two weeks off? We'll see that early with the overall bounce in their step.

ESPN tennis analyst Pam Shriver won 21 singles and 112 doubles crowns, including 22 Grand Slam titles.

A top player on the women's tennis tour more than 15 years, Pam Shriver hosts ESPN's women's tennis telecasts. She also appears as a sideline reporter on select men's matches.

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