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Novak Djokovic and Rafael Nadal, who met in the French Open quarter-finals, could only clash in the final at Wimbledon after being named the top seeds for the grasscourt Grand Slam. Image Credit: AFP/Reuters

Wimbledon: This time, Novak Djokovic and Rafael Nadal will be on opposite sides of the draw.

The seedings for Wimbledon were announced on Tuesday, with Djokovic and Nadal being No 1 and 2 respectively in the men’s draw because of the absence of Daniil Medvedev and Alexander Zverev.

The top-ranked Medvedev cannot take part as a result of the All England Club’s decision to not allow players from Russia or Belarus to enter the event in 2022. The No 2-ranked Zverev is out because of an ankle injury.

That means Djokovic and Nadal have been bumped up to being the top two seeded players and cannot now meet until the final. That wasn’t the case at the French Open last month, when Nadal beat Djokovic in the quarter-finals en route to winning a men’s-record 22nd Grand Slam title.

Following world rankings

There will be a 23-time Grand Slam winner in the women’s draw in Serena Williams, but she will not be seeded.

The draw is Friday and the tournament begins on Monday.

Since 2021, the seedings for both the men’s and women’s singles have been based on the world rankings. Serena hasn’t played competitively since retiring from her first-round match at last year’s Wimbledon. She has been awarded a wild-card entry for the singles tournament at the All England Club starting next week and could therefore be drawn to play anyone in the first round.

Top-ranked Iga Swiatek of Poland will be the top-seeded player at Wimbledon.

Players welcome Serena's decision

Serena’s decision to return to the tennis court at the Rothesay International Eastbourne has surprised several players on the WTA circuit, with some saying they are amazed to see her “hunger for the game”.

She is set to return at Eastbourne, where she will play doubles alongside Tunisian’s new world No 3 singles player Ons Jabeur.

Spanish world No 4 in singles Paula Badosa said she was surprised with Serena’s decision to play at Eastbourne ahead of Wimbledon, which gets under way on June 27. “I think it surprised everyone,” said Badosa in Eastbourne. “But it’s very good to have her back and it really amazed me how she had all this hunger for the game and still has it. I think it is a great inspiration. I hope she can be back for much more time, because I think she does very good for tennis.”

Jabeur said: “I hope she (draws world No 1) Iga (Swiatek). At least, someone should stop Iga a little bit.”

Serena Williams speaks with her doubles partner Ons Jabeur of Tunisia during a practice session at the Eastbourne International on Tuesday. Image Credit: AP

Badosa said that Serena playing on grass is as difficult as it gets, and added that she hoped she doesn’t have to play the legend in the opening rounds at Wimbledon.

“Of course, I don’t want to play against her. I hope the draw goes for another player, because no one wants to play against Serena and less on grass. So let’s pray for that,” said Badosa.

A good opportunity

Playing with Jabeur in Eastbourne will give Serena a good opportunity to find her footing on the grass and practice her serve and returns in match conditions.

“It’s a long time not to play,” 2021 Wimbledon finalist Karolina Pliskova said. The 30-year-old Czech has been working her way back to form after breaking her arm in the off-season. Given her own experience, Pliskova warned reporters to not have too many expectations from Serena.

“She’s not the youngest, and the body takes time to get back in the shape of playing matches and tournaments,” Pliskova said. “It’s still very different to just practicing.

“But, of course, she’s an amazing player and she has achieved so much. I think a number of players will be super scared to play her. This is her advantage, but let’s see her level.”