June 19 (Bloomberg) -- Novak Djokovic and Serena Williams were named as the top seeds at Wimbledon, the world’s only grass-court tennis major.
Roger Federer of Switzerland -- a seven-time winner -- will start the defense of the title he won last year as the third seed. American Williams won her fifth title last year in the event, which starts next week.
Djokovic, the 2011 champion from Serbia, pushes Britain’s Andy Murray, last year’s runner-up, into second spot. Wimbledon starts June 24 at the All England Club in London.
Murray last year won his first major at the U.S. Open, ending a 76-year title drought in the four Grand Slam events for British men. Fred Perry is the last male from the British Isles to have won the title at the All England Club, in 1936.
Rafael Nadal, who won his 12th major at Roland Garros ten days ago beating fellow Spaniard David Ferrer in the final, was seeded fifth, one spot behind Ferrer. Nadal is ranked fifth on the ATP World Tour after missing seven months with a knee injury. Nadal, a two-time champion at the All England Club, was knocked out of Wimbledon in the second round last year. He didn’t play again until February of this year to rest his knee.
By positioning Nadal as fifth seed, the organizers have set up a potential quarterfinal meeting between the Spaniard and one of the top four men.
Unlike the other three majors, who follow the rankings of the men’s and women’s tennis tours when they seed players, Wimbledon has its own formula.
The seeding order in the women’s draw at Wimbledon usually follows the WTA rankings unless organizers need to make a change to balance the draw. The men’s seeds are based on the ATP World Tour rankings and performance on grass courts over the past two years.
Serena’s elder sister and five-time champion Venus Williams won’t play at Wimbledon this year because of a back injury. Venus, who is ranked 34th on the women’s WTA tour, was diagnosed with the energy-sapping Sjogren’s syndrome in 2011. She lost in the opening round of the French Open last month.
Maria Sharapova of Russia, the champion in 2004, is the third seed, while Australian Open champion Victoria Azarenka of Belarus is second in the women’s draw.
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