Photo: Paul ZimmerCentre Court at Wimbledon
The draw for The Championships was made on Friday as the world’s best players gather at Wimbledon to commence a summer of grass court tennis that culminates with the Olympic Tennis Event.
World No. 1 Novak Djokovic starts his title defence against former Roland Garros winner Juan Carlos Ferrero. The two players have faced each other twice before with one win apiece, but their last meeting was back in 2007.
As is the tradition at Wimbledon, it's the honour of the reigning men's champion to get The Championships under way, so Djokovic and Ferrero will be the first scheduled match on Centre Court on Monday.
Djokovic’s 27-match unbeaten Grand Slam run ended when he lost to Rafael Nadal in the final at Roland Garros last month, although the Serb still remains in possession of three major trophies and will once again be the player to beat during the next fortnight.
Six-time Wimbledon champion Roger Federer, who is in the same half of the draw as Djokovic, gets his campaign under way against Albert Ramos. The Swiss world No. 3 is searching for his first title at The All England Club since 2009.
Tomas Berdych is in the same quarter as Djokovic and opens his account against Ernests Gulbis, while Janko Tipsarevic is the same quarter as Federer and starts against David Nalbandian, who made headlines last week when he was defaulted from the final at Queen’s Club for unsportsmanlike conduct.
In the bottom half, Rafael Nadal has been drawn against Thomaz Bellucci, while Andy Murray and Jo-Wilfried Tsonga both faced experienced opponents in the form of Nikolay Davydenko and Lleyton Hewitt respectively. Andy Roddick meets British wildcard Jamie Baker.
Maria Sharapova, fresh from completing her career Grand Slam at Roland Garros, is the top seed in the women’s event and has been handed a first round meeting with Anastasia Rodionova. The Russian is bidding for her first triumph at Wimbledon since winning the title as a 17-year-old in 2004.
German duo Angelique Kerber and Sabine Lisicki are in Sharapova’s quarter of the draw, as are Vera Zvonareva and Jelena Jankovic, who have both slipped down the rankings of late and are now seeded No. 12 and No. 18 respectively.
Jankovic is playing in what looks to be the pick of the first round matches against four-time major winner Kim Clijsters, who is battling back from a hip injury. The Belgian holds a superior 7-1 head-to-head record over the Serb, including victory in their only previous meeting on grass at Eastbourne in 2005.
Also in the top half, although not in the same quarter as Sharapova, are Samantha Stosur, Agnieszka Radwanska and Li Na. Stosur faces Carla Suarez Navarro in the first round, Radwanska plays Magdalena Rybarikova and Li takes on Ksenia Pervak.
In the bottom half, Serena Williams and defending champion Petra Kvitova find themselves in the same quarter of the draw, which also hosts Italian duo Francesca Schiavone and Sara Errani, who have both enjoyed Roland Garros success over the last few years.
Propping up the draw as the No. 2 seed, Victoria Azarenka meets Irina Falconi in the opening round. The Belarusian is the same quarter as Caroline Wozniacki, Marion Bartoli, Ana Ivanovic and Svetlana Kuznetsova.
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