Ash Barty will have to live up again to being the No 1 in the women’s draw at Wimbledon after the world’s leading player was confirmed as the top seed for the Championships just as she was when the event was last held two years ago.
Barty, who is seeking a strong return after injury forced her to withdraw during her second round match at the French Open, will be hoping to improve on her career-best fourth-round effort at Wimbledon in that 2019 event when she lost to American Alison Riske.
When the All England Club announced the seedings on Wednesday for their first Championships in two years after last year’s event was cancelled due to the pandemic, the reigning 2019 champion Simona Halep was confirmed as No 2 seed.
There are question marks over the Romanian’s fitness too as the 29-year-old has not competed since the Italian Open and pulled out of her final planned warm-up event in Germany this week.
Novak Djokovic, reigning men’s singles champion following his epic win over Roger Federer in the 2019 edition, will also start as top seed as he aims for his sixth triumph at the All England Club, which would tie him with Federer and the absent Rafael Nadal on 20 grand slams.
Alex de Minaur, Australia’s No 1 men’s player, will be boosted by the news that he has been seeded 16th, with players in the top-16 among the 32 seeds offered – theoretically, at least – an extra degree of protection earlier in the draw.
Russian Daniil Medvedev will be on the other side of the draw from Djokovic as No 2 seed with No 3 Dominic Thiem, the US Open winner, hoping he will not be sidelined by a wrist injury that forced him to pull out of the Mallorca grass court tournament on Tuesday.
Roger Federer, the eight-time champion, will be the No 7 seed, with the possibility that he could end up meeting Djokovic at the quarter-final stage.
The threats to Barty are plentiful as Belarusian Aryna Sabalenka, with whom she has had three battles this year, the No 3 seed while seven-time champion Serena Williams will, like Federer, be a danger to everyone at No 7 as she attempts to find that elusive record-equalling 24th slam.
Iga Świątek, like 2011 junior champion Barty a former winner of the girls’ title, will try to break her Wimbledon duck in the senior event as she sets off as No 8 seed. The newly-crowned surprise winner of the French Open, Czech Barbora Krejčíková, will be No 15.
The only other Australians seeded will be Max Purcell, fresh from his career-best singles win at Eastbourne on Wednesday, and his partner Luke Saville, who will be No 16 in the gentlemen’s doubles.