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Serena is 7th seed at Big W

London: Defending women’s champion Serena Williams has been seeded seventh in this year’s Wimbledon despite playing just one Tour match since lifting the championship trophy last year.

The American is bidding to clinch a hat-trick of Wimbledon crowns. She was on top of the WTA rankings when she won her fourth Wimbledon singles title last year but has now dropped to 26 due to an injury layoff for 11 months.

Meanwhile, defending champion Rafael Nadal and women’s world No. 1 Caroline Wozniacki were named top seeds.

Tournament officials mirrored the current world rankings for their top five seeds in the men’s and women’s singles, with Nadal ahead of Novak Djokovic, Roger Federer, Andy Murray and Sweden’s Robin Soderling.

In the women’s draw Wozniacki heads the list from world No. 3 Vera Zvonareva, newly crowned French Open champion Li Na from China and Victoria Azarenka from Belarus.

The seeding list was altered following the withdrawal of injured Kim Clijsters, who had initially been seeded two.

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.

“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 organisers 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."

Nadal’s top billing has meant that Federer will not be the top seed for the first time since his maiden Wimbledon success in 2003.

Last year’s runners-up Tomas Berdych was named the sixth seed, up one place from his world mark, while Andy Roddick is two places higher at eighth.

In women’s doubles, Sania Mirza and her Russian partner Elena Vesnina have been seeded fourth. The pair were runners-up in this year’s French Open.

Indian duo of Leander Paes and Mahesh Bhupathi have been seeded third, while their compatriot Rohan Bopanna and his Pakistani partner Aisam-Ul-Haq Qureshi, who registered their second ATP title at Halle in Germany last week, are seeded fourth in men’s doubles.

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