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Serena Williams seeded 25th for Wimbledon 2018 as official seedings announced

  • Official Wimbledon seedings announced
  • Serena Williams has been seeded 25th for Wimbledon 2018 despite world no. 183 ranking
  • Wimbledon draw to take place on 29 June
Serena Williams on her way to the Wimbledon title in 2016 (Photo by Adam Pretty/Getty Images)

The seedings for Wimbledon 2018 have been announced – and organizers have chosen to seed Serena Williams at no. 25.

With qualifying already underway for The Championships 2018 and main-draw play due to begin on Monday 2 July, the All-England Club has announced the official list of seeds for the men’s and women’s singles fields.

The big question was whether, and where, they would choose to seed Serena Williams, the seven-time champion currently ranked world no. 183 after missing more than a year due to becoming a mother – and the committee have taken the decision to seed the American 25th, just one place below Maria Sharapova.

While men’s seedings are calculated according to a special formula which gives greater weight to a player’s grass-court record over the past 24 months, women’s seedings usually simply follow the rankings. But organizers have the power to adjust seedings ‘where, in the opinion of the committee, a change is necessary to produce a balanced draw’ and they have chosen to do so for Williams.

French Open champion Simona Halep will be the top seed at Wimbledon 2018 (ADRIAN DENNIS/AFP/Getty Images)
Being seeded 25th means that Williams can expect to face one of the top eight seeds as early as the third round. If she had been seeded just one place higher, she would have instead faced a player seeded 9-16 in the third round

It seems likely that organizers opted for the 25th seed for Williams as a compromise. Had she been seeded as one of the top eight players, it would have knocked Petra Kvitova, the two-time Wimbledon champion who is currently favourite with most bookmakers to win the title this year, out of the top eight seeds. Seeding Williams between 9-16 would have likely knocked Coco Vandeweghe, twice a quarterfinalist in the past three years, out of the top 16 seeds. And seeding Williams between 17-24 would have cost Maria Sharapova, a former champion who was a Wimbledon semifinalist on her last appearance, her place among the top 24 seeds.

By seeding Williams at 25, there is only one player with cause for complaint and that is Dominika Cibulkova, the world no. 32 who would otherwise have been seeded 32nd. The Slovakian player, a former Wimbledon quarterfinalist and Grand Slam runner-up at the Australian Open in 2014, will now be unseeded and could face any seed in the first round.

Cibulkova has already been clear that she believes such a decision by the tournament would be unfair.

‘It's just not fair if there is a player [missing out] and it's me now,’ Cibulkova said when asked about the issue in Eastbourne where she is playing at the Nature Valley International. 

‘I have the right and I should be seeded and if they put her in front of me then I will just lose my spot that I am supposed to have. I don't know if something like this ever happened before.’

Adjusting the women’s seedings, even for players returning from maternity leave, is certainly not Wimbledon’s usual practice. When two-time Grand Slam champion and former world no. 1 Victoria Azarenka, who had been ranked world no. 5 before her pregnancy, played Wimbledon in 2017 – just her second event back after maternity leave – she was unseeded and had to play 15th seed Elena Vesnina, a semifinalist the previous year, in the second round. Azarenka reached the fourth round before losing to second seed Simona Halep.

Defending champion Roger Federer is the top men's seed once more in 2018  (Photo by Daniel Leal-Olivas - Pool/Getty Images)
But then again, Williams is the antithesis of an ordinary player – even an ordinary top player. Seven times a champion at Wimbledon and currently on a 14-match winning streak at The Championships after winning back-to-back titles in 2015-16, the 23-time Grand Slam champion is second favourite to win Wimbledon with most bookmakers despite only having played nine matches across three events in 2018, having given birth to daughter Alexis Olympia last September.

Williams’s performance at the French Open is likely to have been a key factor. Despite only having played five matches since the previous January and no warm-up events on clay, the unseeded Williams defeated the 17th and 11th seeds on her way to the fourth round and looked more like a potential champion with each match before pulling out ahead of her scheduled round-of-16 clash with Sharapova due to a pectoral injury.

With the US Open already announcing that its seeding protocol will henceforth take pregnancy into account, Williams’s case seems to be changing the tide of opinion in the sport about the question of seeding returning mothers.

On the men’s side, defending champion Roger Federer will be the top seed despite having ceded the no. 1 ranking to Rafael Nadal after defeat in the Halle final at the hands of Borna Coric – a decision that is likely to attract absolutely no controversy given that Federer has won Wimbledon eight times to Nadal’s two and has been substantially more successful at Wimbledon, and on grass generally, than the Spaniard in recent years.

The tournament did not choose to seed Andy Murray, although his grass-court results over the past two years would theoretically justify it – but the formula is only supposed to apply to those ranked within the top 32 in the world, and Murray is currently ranked world no. 156 after almost a year out of competition due to a hip injury.

Full list of seeds for Wimbledon 2018 (rankings in brackets)

  1. Roger Federer (2)
  2. Rafael Nadal (1)
  3. Marin Cilic (5)
  4. Alexander Zverev (3)
  5. Juan Martin del Potro (4)
  6. Grigor Dimitrov (6)
  7. Dominic Thiem (7)
  8. Kevin Anderson (8)
  9. John Isner (10)
  10. David Goffin (9)
  11. Sam Querrey (13)
  12. Novak Djokovic (17)
  13. Milos Raonic (32)
  14. Roberto Bautista Agut (14)
  15. Diego Schwartzman (11)
  16. Nick Kyrgios (19)
  17. Borna Coric (21)
  18. Lucas Pouille (20)
  19. Jack Sock (15)
  20. Fabio Fognini (16)
  21. Pablo Carreno Busta (12)
  22. Kyle Edmund (18)
  23. Adrian Mannarino (24)
  24. Richard Gasquet (29)
  25. Kei Nishikori (27)
  26. Hyeon Chung (22)
  27. Philipp Kohlschreiber (25)
  28. Denis Shapovalov 26)
  29. Damir Dzumhur (30)
  30. Filip Krajinovic (28)
  31. Marco Cecchinato (31)
  32. Fernando Verdasco (33)

  1. Simona Halep (1)
  2. Caroline Wozniacki (2)
  3. Garbine Muguruza (3)
  4. Sloane Stephens (4)
  5. Elina Svitolina (5)
  6. Caroline Garcia (6)
  7. Karolina Pliskova (7)
  8. Petra Kvitova (8)
  9. Venus Williams (9)
  10. Madison Keys (10)
  11. Angelique Kerber (11)
  12. Jelena Ostapenko (12)
  13. Julia Goerges (13)
  14. Daria Kasatkina (14)
  15. Elise Mertens (15)
  16. Coco Vandeweghe (16)
  17. Ashleigh Barty (17)
  18. Naomi Osaka (18)
  19. Magdalena Rybarikova (19)
  20. Kiki Bertens (20)
  21. Anastasija Sevastova (21)
  22. Johanna Konta (22)
  23. Barbora Strycova (23)
  24. Maria Sharapova (24)
  25. Serena Williams (183)
  26. Daria Gavrilova (25)
  27. Carla Suarez Navarro (26)
  28. Anett Kontaveit (27)
  29. Mihaela Buzarnescu (28)
  30. Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova (29)
  31. Zhang Shuai (30)
  32. Agnieszka Radwanska (31)

The draw for The Championships 2018 will take place on Friday 29 June and main-draw play at Wimbledon begins on Monday 2 July. 

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Serena Williams seeded 25th for Wimbledon 2018 as official seedings announced

Defending champion Roger Federer and Simona Halep will be the top seeds for Wimbledon 2018 while seven-time winner Serena Williams has been seeded no. 25

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