Seven-time Wimbledon champion Serena Williams is the 25th seed for this year’s tournament, despite being outside the top 32 in the rankings.
By SportBrief Reporter
The 36-year-old American is continuing her return to action after giving birth to her first child in September.
Williams, a 23-time Grand Slam singles winner, has played only three tournaments in the past 12 months and is ranked 183rd in the world.
The Amerian’s seeding comes at the expense of Slovakia’s world number 32 Dominika Cibulkova, who has not been seeded.
On Tuesday, Cibulkova said it would not be fair for Williams to be seeded ahead of her.
“I don’t think it’s the right thing to do,” said the 29-year-old. “I think it’s just not fair. I have tried and I should be seeded. If they put her in front of me then I will lose my spot that I am supposed to have.”
With the exception of Williams, all of the women are seeded in line with their WTA ranking. Williams is seeded one place lower than Maria Sharapova, who she was due to meet in the fourth round of the French Open before pulling out because of injury. Her sister Venus is the ninth seed.
Williams will not have to face another seeded player before the third round, but at that stage should expect to run into one of the top eight in the world. So the protection a seeding offers her will be limited.
Cibulkova’s view that the decision is unfair is shared – both privately and publicly – by very many WTA players, so the All England Club’s decision will not be universally popular.
But the committee clearly feel Williams is a unique case: an extraordinary champion who has only been able to play three events in the past year after giving birth to her first child in September.
For the women’s game, the seeding order follows the WTA ranking list, but the All England Club reserves the right to make a change if it “is necessary to produce a balanced draw”. In 2017, no changes were made.