Hewitt, Serena get No. 1 seeds at Wimbledon

Tuesday, June 17, 2003

WIMBLEDON, England -- Defending champions Lleyton Hewitt and Serena Williams are seeded No. 1 for Wimbledon.

Hewitt got the top seeding Monday ahead of Andre Agassi, who replaced the Australian as No. 1 in this week's ATP Tour rankings.

Agassi was seeded No. 2, followed by French Open champion Juan Carlos Ferrero, Roger Federer and Andy Roddick.

By tradition, Hewitt will play the first match on Centre Court when the two-week championships open June 23.

On the women's side, Williams was seeded ahead of Belgian star Kim Clijsters and French Open winner Justine Henin-Hardenne. Serena's older sister, Venus, was seeded No. 4.

The seeding means the Williams sisters could be in the same half of the draw and meet before the final. They met in four of the last five Grand Slam finals.

The draw will be held Tuesday.

Wimbledon takes into account the unusual nature of grass-court tennis and is the only Grand Slam that does not adhere strictly to the ATP and WTA tour rankings in seeding players.

The major deviation from the ATP rankings was for British favorite Tim Henman. Ranked No. 29 on the ATP tour, he was bumped up to the No. 10 spot on the Wimbledon list. Henman has been a Wimbledon semifinalist four of the last five years, but is nursing a shoulder injury this season.

Xavier Malisse of Belgium, a semifinalist last year, and Arnaud Clement of France were other beneficiaries of Wimbledon's seeding system. Malisse, ranked No. 31, was seeded No. 14. Clement, ranked 30th, was seeded No. 15.

For the women, the seeding committee followed the rankings. The only exception was caused by the withdrawal of 18th-ranked Monica Seles with a foot injury. In her absence, players ranked below her moved up one spot.

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