Djokovic Draws Ferrero, Sharapova Plays Rodionova at Wimbledon

Men’s top seed Novak Djokovic of Serbia begins his title defense at Wimbledon against former Grand Slam champion Juan Carlos Ferrero of Spain.

Six-time title holder Roger Federer was drawn in the same top half as the Serb today at the All England Club, meaning the two could meet in the semifinals. The third-seeded Swiss plays Spain’s Albert Ramos in his opening round.

Second-seeded Rafael Nadal was drawn in the bottom half along with the No. 4 seed from Britain, Andy Murray. The Spaniard plays Brazil's Thomaz Bellucci while Murray is up against Russia's Nikolay Davydenko. The Scot has lost the last two semifinals at Wimbledon against Nadal, who won his seventh French Open title last week.

Women’s top seed and French Open champion Maria Sharapova of Russia opens against Anastasia Rodionova of Australia. Sharapova, who won the 2004 Wimbledon title when she was just 17, was drawn in the top half alongside U.S. Open champion Samantha Stosur, who plays Carla Suarez Navarro of Spain. Also in the top half is Li Na, Asia’s first Grand Slam singles champion at Roland Garros last year, who starts against Ksenia Pervak of Kazakhstan.

In the bottom half of the women’s draw, defending champion Petra Kvitova of the Czech Republic plays Akgul Amanmuradova of Uzbekistan, while No. 2 seed Victoria Azarenka of Belarus faces Irina Falconi of the U.S.

Four-time winner Serena Williams of the U.S., the No. 6 seed, starts against Czech Barbora Zahlavova Strycova. In the other half, her sister and five-time champion Venus Williams plays Russia’s Elena Vesnina in the first round and could play Poland’s Agnieszka Radwanska, the No. 3 seed, in the second round.

Unseeded Venus

Venus, who is ranked 55th on the women’s WTA tour, is not seeded at Wimbledon for the first time since 1997. The American has not been playing a full schedule since being diagnosed with energy-sapping Sjogren’s syndrome last year.

Four-time major champion Kim Clijsters opens her final Wimbledon tournament against former world No. 1 Jelena Jankovic of Serbia. The unseeded Belgian, who will retire after the U.S. Open, missed the clay-court season because of a hip injury and has dropped to No. 53 in the rankings.

Andy Roddick of the U.S., a three-time finalist who is seeded 30th, plays Britain’s Jamie Baker. Fellow American Mardy Fish, the highest-seeded American man at 10, faces Spain’s Ruben Ramirez Hidalgo. John Isner, the No. 11 seed also from the U.S. meets Colombia’s Alejandro Falla. Isner may play France’s Nicolas Mahut in the second round. The two played the longest tennis match at 11 hours, 5 minutes at 2010 Wimbledon and met again in the first round last year.

Nalbandian’s Start

David Nalbandian, who was disqualified from the finals of last week’s Queen’s tournament in London after he kicked an advertising board at the base of the line judge chair, injuring the official, plays Serbian No. 8 seed Janko Tipsarevic.

Lucky loser Wayne Odesnik faces Germany’s Bjorn Phau. The American in March 2010 pleaded guilty to importing human growth hormones into Australia. In December of that year, the International Tennis Federation cut in half a two-year ban handed out to the 134th-ranked player. This will be Odesnik’s first Grand Slam since the incident.

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