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.
How Venus can be third seeded ? Why do organizators can make her seeded three? Is it injury ranking?
Jan 10th, 2004, 06:00 PM
Dokic is confirmed to play?
Jan 10th, 2004, 11:56 PM
So if Dokic & Capiati do pull out, Magui could get a proper seeding? :eek: :D :bounce:
Jan 12th, 2004, 11:14 AM
That really kills Lindsay, hopefully she can pull Amilie in the Q-F
Jan 12th, 2004, 04:52 PM
Clijsters likely no-show
SECOND seed Kim Clijsters is no certainty to play at the Adidas International as she strives to recover from the ankle injury sustained last week.
Although fiance Lleyton Hewitt said yesterday he was confident her ankle would be right to play at the Australian Open, starting in Melbourne next Monday, he was not sure if Clijsters would play in Sydney.
Clijsters, the No.2 seed for the women's singles behind compatriot and world No.1 Justine Henin-Hardenne, is not due to arrive in Sydney until this morning.
Being one of the top four seeds, along with France's Amelie Mauresmo and American Lindsay Davenport, gives Clijsters the luxury of a bye in the first round.
Her second-round match will not be played until Wednesday, giving her extra time to work on her left ankle, which she damaged playing Australia's Alicia Molik last Wednesday at the Hopman Cup in Perth.
Hewitt said Clijsters was making progress.
"It's getting better every day, so Melbourne is a very good chance for her," Hewitt said.
And Sydney? "Here? I don't know."
Clijsters, who is the defending singles and doubles champion, is not playing doubles this year. If she is not able to bring her ankle up to 100 per cent, she would be the third withdrawal from the women's singles, following Jelena Dokic and Molik.
But organisers were able to announce that Martina Navratilova and her doubles partner, Lisa Raymond, would take a wild-card and the No.1 seeding for the event. Navratilova, 47, is making this year her last in a second comeback, which began in 2002 after she retired in 1995.
Navratilova has never played at an Olympics and after winning two Grand Slam mixed doubles titles with Leander Paes last year, she wants to go to Athens and has enlisted Raymond in her mission.
Navratilova last week played an invitational event in Hong Kong, where she filled in for the injured Jennifer Capriati.
A WTA spokeswoman yesterday said she had no update on Capriati and expected to see her in Melbourne as the two-time winner of the Australian Open had previously stated she would be able to play.
The Williams sisters continue to create news despite not playing since Wimbledon.
Former world No.1 and Australian Open champion, Serena, withdrew on the weekend citing lack of fitness after a knee injury.
In a surprising move, the WTA granted sister Venus, ranked No.11 in the world, the No.3 seeding vacated by her sister.
It is understood the WTA has never used its "protective ranking" system at a Grand Slam. Players who have had long injury lay-offs can apply to the WTA to resume playing at the level they left.
The WTA has the power to grant the elevated ranking at its own tournaments but at the four Grand Slams, run by the International Tennis Federation, it has to leave the final decision to local organisers.
Mauresmo, who should have moved to the No.3 seeding following Serena's withdrawal, was not impressed by the move.
"I feel like I'm being penalised because she was injured, and that's a strange feeling," Mauresmo said. "It's something I don't really understand but something I have to deal with.
"I was also injured last year for four months and, you know, you feel like it's a little unfair. But that's the way it is and the best answer is probably on the court."
Davenport, who also is affected by Venus moving ahead of her, was a little more understanding as she used the protective ranking after missing the 2002 season following a knee reconstruction.
Change your list, Jen is playing and will be 6th seed