View Full Version : Champion Venus Gets Seeding Boost ( Article )

Jun 24th, 2006, 07:37 AM
Thursday, 22 June, 2006

Venus Williams, the Wimbledon ladies’ champion, was rewarded for last year's excellence when the seedings were announced for the 2006 Championships. Ranked 12th in the world, she has been installed as seventh seed, because in the opinion of the All England Club's seeding committee, she possesses the grass court credentials to necessitate "a change in the interest of achieving a balanced draw."

Venus, whose sister Serena has played virtually no tennis this year and withdrew last month from Wimbledon citing injury, has also been seen only rarely during the 2006 season because of injury problems, the last occasion being at Roland Garros earlier this month. Her elevation is recognition of the fact that she has not only lifted the title three times (2000-01 being the others) but has won 42 of her 48 singles matches here.

In fact, Venus has been raised only three places from her world ranking, since two of those above her, Lindsay Davenport and Mary Pierce, have withdrawn from The Championships.

Wimbledon's decision to seed the women virtually in line with their rankings means that Amelie Mauresmo, world number one, tops the seedings, though she lost her first match at the Eastbourne tournament this week. On the other hand, she has shown admirable consistency at The Championships, being a semi-finalist in her last three appearances.

The two Belgians, Kim Clijsters and Justine Henin-Hardenne, follow Mauresmo in the seedings, as they do in the rankings, while four of the next five seeding spots are filled by Russians. Fourth places goes to Maria Sharapova, the 2004 Wimbledon winner, while Nadia Petrova, quarter-finalist last year, is fifth and Svetlana Kuznetsova, Roland Garros runner-up to Henin-Hardenne earlier this month, comes in at six, with Elena Dementieva placed behind Venus Williams at eight.

Martina Hingis, whose comeback this year has been such a resounding success, takes 13th seeding, four places lower than her Swiss compatriot, Patti Schnyder, while the marvellously talented Czech 17-year-old, Nicole Vaidisova, takes the 11th spot.

The United States, which has captured the women's crown in six of the last seven years through Davenport (1999), Venus Williams (2000, 2001 and 2005) and Serena Williams (2002 and 2003) has only Venus among the 32 seeds, while the Russian women have nine, five of them in the top ten. For the first time, China places one of its players, Li Na, among the seeds at 28, while the fast-improving Israeli, Shahar Peer, is seeded 21st.

Written by Ronald Atkin