x Abu Dhabi, UAESunday 23 July 2017

Wimbledon round-up: Rafael Nadal seeded fifth this year

Back injury forces Venus Williams to pull out of the season's third grand slam tournament, which starts on Monday.

Rafael Nadal won the Wimbledon singles title in 2008 and 2010.
Rafael Nadal won the Wimbledon singles title in 2008 and 2010.

Rafael Nadal was named fifth seed for Wimbledon on Wednesday, leaving his major title rivals to ponder meeting the 2008 and 2010 champion as early as the quarter-finals.

Nadal, the holder of 12 grand slam titles, and fresh from his record-breaking eighth French Open triumph in Paris (see picture gallery), was seeded behind compatriot David Ferrer who takes the fourth seeding.

Novak Djokovic, Andy Murray and Roger Federer take the top three places.

Wimbledon uses recent grass-court performances as well as the world rankings to seed players and Nadal was not promoted after he suffered a stunning second-round defeat to Lukas Rosol at the tournament in 2012.

Ferrer, meanwhile, was a quarter-finalist last year, having already claimed the title at the s'Hertogenbosch grass-court event in the run-up to London.

As a consequence, Nadal could face 2011 champion Djokovic, seven-time winner Federer or Murray, bidding to become Britain's first men's champion since Fred Perry in 1936, in the last-eight.

"I'd sign up to be in the quarter-finals against Rafa if someone offered me that," Murray told the BBC. "You could say if I get through that match, then the semi-final might not be as tough but if you want to win the biggest tournaments you have to beat the best players in the world.

"It doesn't really matter where they are in the draw."

Nadal has also kept his own expectations low at this year's tournament after opting to skip playing in any warm-up tournaments.

In the women's singles, Serena Williams – the world No 1 and a five-time champion – takes top seeding, followed by Victoria Azarenka, the Australian Open champion, with Maria Sharapova, the 2004 Wimbledon winner, named the third seed.

Venus Williams pulls out

Meanwhile, five-time singles champion Venus Williams has pulled out of Wimbledon because of a back injury.

The 33 year old struggled with the problem during the clay-court season and has not played since withdrawing from the doubles at Roland Garros with sister Serena.

Williams wrote on her Facebook page: "Unfortunately, I will not be able to participate in Wimbledon this year.

"I am extremely disappointed as I have always loved The Championships, but I need to take time to let my back heal.

"I look forward to returning to the courts as soon as possible, with my goal being to return to Mylan World Team Tennis on July 8th in Washington DC.

"Many thanks to my fans for the love and support and I will be seeing you very soon back on the courts."

Williams has become increasingly prone to injury as well as battling the auto-immune disease Sjogren's Syndrome.

She had been having a decent season until her back problems, reaching two semi-finals on the WTA Tour and climbing back up to 34 in the rankings.

Williams had never missed Wimbledon since her debut in 1997 and was the singles champion at the All England Club in 2000, 2001, 2005, 2007 and 2008.

She suffered her first opening-round defeat last year since 1997 to Elena Vesnina but won the doubles title for a fifth time with Serena.

sports@thenational.ae

twitter Follow us @SprtNationalUAE