Venus will be 3, behind the to belgians according to the tourney director! Here is the article!!
Venus Williams seeded
third for Australian Open
Posted: 10:53 AM (Manila Time) | Jan. 10, 2004
PERTH, Australia - Venus Williams will be the third seed for the Australian Open tennis matches after the withdrawal of her sister and defending champion Serena from the event, tournament director Paul McNamee said Saturday.
McNamee said he was disappointed Serena had pulled out of the event, citing ongoing problems with her left knee.
The former world number one had surgery in Los Angeles for the problem last August.
She had been scheduled to play in the Hopman Cup international mixed teams event in Perth this week but pulled out at the last minute to be replaced by Lindsay Davenport.
"She's the defending champion but I knew when she pulled out of Hopman Cup that there must be something afoot," McNamee said.
"As you know her management was continuing to confirm she was going to come but it wasn't coming from Serena herself.
"Her folks had said she was coming here so obviously that was always going to effect her preparation for the Australian Open.
"I think the good news is that Venus is playing in Hong Kong. She beat Chanda Ruben last night so Serena is out and Venus is in. So there will be a Williams at Melbourne Park."
The Australian Open, the first Grand Slam of the year, starts in Melbourne on January 19.
Serena, the world number three-ranked player, broke the news on her official web site but McNamee said he had been called directly by her management company IMG.
"I really looked forward to competing in the Australian Open. However, conferring with my trainers and coaches, we really don't think that sufficient time to prepare and train for it," she wrote.
"My knee feels great but rehabilitation took a little longer than I expected."
McNamee said the draw for the Australian Open would be done next Friday with the official seedings finalized a day or two before.
He said the top two seeds would obviously go to Belgians Justine Henin-Hardenne and Kim Clijsters, the world number one and two players respectively.
France's Amelie Maursemo would probably be seeded four, he said.
"I can say Venus will be seeded third as we stand right now behind Henin-Hardenne and Clijsters.
Under a special seeding, the WTA had recommended that for the next group of tournaments that Venus has a special seeding which means she will come in at three," he said.
McNamee said he was confident Clijsters would play in the event after pulling out of the Hopman Cup with an ankle injury this week.