Ash Barty will have to live up again to being the No.1 in the ladies’ 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’s seeking a powerful 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.
But Bernard Tomic won’t be joining the Australian contingent, crashing out of the second round of qualifying in just 18 minutes on Wednesday (local time).
It had been a decade since the then 18-year-old Tomic barnstormed through qualifying and become the youngest quarter-finalist in the tournament proper since Boris Becker. It was his best result at a grand slam – and won’t be topped in 2021 after his second set lost to World No.125 Bernabe Zapata Miralles.
Elsewhere, reigning 2019 champion Simona Halep was confirmed as No.2 seed in the women’s tournament when the All England Club announced the seedings on Wednesday for its first Championships following the 2020 pandemic-induced cancellation.
There are question marks over the Romanian’s fitness too as the 29-year-old hasn’t competed since the Italian Open. She pulled out of her final planned warm-up event in Germany this week.
Novak Djokovic, reigning gentlemen’s singles champ 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. Players in the top-16 are 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 won’t 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’s had three battles in 2020, the No.3 seed. 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 Swiatek 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 Krejcikova, 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.