WIMBLEDON, England -- Clay-court king Rafael Nadal poses the
biggest threat to Roger Federer's reign on grass -- at least based
on Wimbledon seedings announced Wednesday.
Despite a modest 3-2 career record at the All England Club,
Nadal is seeded second behind three-time defending champion
In determining the seedings, Wimbledon took past performances on
grass into account. But the tournament formula still left Nadal
ahead of Andy Roddick, seeded third despite finishing runner-up to
Federer the past two years.
The three highest-seeded women will be seeking their first
Wimbledon title when tennis' grandest event begins Monday.
Australian Open champion Amelie Mauresmo, U.S. Open winner Kim
Clijsters and French Open champion Justine Henin-Hardenne are
seeded 1-2-3. Among the trio, only Henin-Hardenne has reached the
Wimbledon final -- she was runner-up in 2001.
Maria Sharapova, who won the 2004 title at age 17, is seeded
fourth. Defending champion Venus Williams is seeded seventh, five
spots higher than her No. 12 ranking.
French Open champion Nadal, who pulled out of his Queen's Club
quarterfinal last week with a sore shoulder, was given a seeding to
match his No. 2 ranking. Roddick, whose ranking has slipped to
fifth, has yet to win a tournament this year.
Benefiting from surfaces adjustments were Queen's Club winner
Lleyton Hewitt (seeded sixth, ranked ninth), Mario Ancic
(seventh/12th), Thomas Johansson (12th/21st) and Sebastian Grosjean
Among those penalized by the adjustments for grass was Andre
Agassi, who won his first Grand Slam title at Wimbledon in 1992,
but missed the tournament the past two years with chronic back
trouble. He is ranked 20th and seeded 26th.
David Nalbandian is seeded fourth, followed by Ivan Ljubicic,
Hewitt, Ancic, James Blake, Nikolay Davydenko and Fernando
Gonzalez. The top 24 men are entered.
Four-time semifinalist Tim Henman will make another attempt to
become the first Englishman to win Wimbledon since Fred Perry in
1936, but he's unseeded for the first time in 10 years. No British
player was seeded for either draw.
On the women's side, Nadia Petrova is seeded fifth, followed by
Svetlana Kuznetsova, Williams, Elena Dementieva, Patty Schnyder and
Missing from the women's draw will be Lindsay Davenport, the
champion in 1999 and the runner-up to Williams last year. Ranked
sixth, Davenport is sidelined by a back injury.
Also out are No. 9 Mary Pierce (foot tendinitis) and 2002-03
champion Serena Williams, whose ranking has fallen to 104th during
her long layoff resulting from a knee injury.