Wimbledon: Defending champion Serena Williams was bumped up to No. 8 in the seedings for Wimbledon on Wednesday, a position that will allow her to avoid playing the highest-ranked players until at least the quarterfinals.
Williams won her 13th Grand Slam title last year at the All England Club, but then stepped on broken glass, eventually leading to blood clots on her lungs, and was out of action for nearly a year. She returned to competitive tennis on Tuesday at Eastbourne, coming back from a set down to beat Tsvetana Pironkova 1-6, 6-3, 6-4.
Wimbledon starts Monday. The draw is scheduled for Friday.
Since her injury, Williams has dropped to No. 26 in the WTA rankings. If Wimbledon organizers had seeded her according to her ranking, Williams could have come up against a top player in the third round.
Her sister Venus, a five-time Wimbledon champion, was seeded No. 24. She has dropped to 33rd in the rankings since missing most of this season with a hip injury. She also returned to action this week in Eastbourne.
"The seeding order follows the WTA ranking list, except where in the opinion of the committee, a change is necessary to produce a balanced draw," Wimbledon organizers said.
"The only changes this year are Serena Williams and Venus Williams moving to 8 and 24, respectively. This reflects the balance between their proven records and also their lack of competitive play in the past 12 months."
At the top of the seeding list is top-ranked Caroline Wozniacki. She is followed by Australian Open champion Kim Clijsters at No. 2, Vera Zvonareva at No. 3 and French Open champion Li Na at No. 4.
Another former winner, 2004 champion Maria Sharapova, was seeded No. 6, one behind Victoria Azarenka.
On the men`s side, defending champion Rafael Nadal was seeded No. 1, followed by Novak Djokovic at No. 2, Roger Federer at No. 3 and Andy Murray at No. 4.
Federer and Nadal have combined for the past eight titles at the All England Club.