Tennis: Wimbledon seeding for Henman

Wimbledon might have experienced a blip last year by waiting until after the event to convey that Richard Krajicek, the men's singles champion, had been seeded after all, but there could be little criticism of the names published in bold print by the All England Club yesterday.

Not, at any rate, unless your name happens to be Michael Chang or Thomas Muster, or you are a stickler for seedings according to the ATP Tour world rankings, regardless of the nature of the court surface.

Tim Henman's name may be the one that takes the eye, although the Oxford player's elevation to No 14 in the seedings from No 20 in the rankings is due to the fact that six players above him either withdrew because of injury or did not enter.

Wimbledon is unique, the only major championship played on grass, and those responsible for trying to ensure a balanced tournament have not shirked their duty.

The real juggling has raised the big-serving Goran Ivanisevic one place to No 2 behind Pete Sampras, and has recognised the power and potential of Mark Philippoussis by promoting the Australian boomer to No 7 from a No 13 ranking following Sunday's victory against Ivanisevic at Queen's.

Boris Becker, steeling himself for perhaps one last triumph, sensibly has been placed at No 8, though ranked No 12. Chang, the world No 2, whose best results have been achieved on concrete, with the exception of his French Open victory on the clay of Paris in 1989, has to settle for a seeding at No 5. Muster, who has experienced difficulty maintaining his dominance on clay, is demoted to No 6 seed from fourth in the rankings.

A year ago, when Muster was the world No 2, he was angry at being dropped to seventh in the seedings and then withdrew because of an injury. It was then that Krajicek, unseeded though ranked No 13, was switched to Muster's position in the draw.

The Dutchman went through the tournament without a number and with his name in light type. Wimbledon then decided he was in a seeded position, since when he has become Mr Asterisk in the record books.

Henman was only seven years old on the last occasion that a British player was seeded for the men's singles at Wimbledon, Buster Mottram (No 15) advancing to the fourth round in 1982.

"I'm pleased, but what does it guarantee?" Henman, a quarter-finalist last year, said. "All it means is that I won't meet Pete Sampras or the other seeded players in the first round.''

Martina Hingis heads the women's seedings, which have been made in accord with the WTA Tour rankings.

Henman wins, page 30

Wimbledon seeds

Men's singles

1 P Sampras (US)

2 G Ivanisevic (Croa)

3 Y Kafelnikov (Rus)

4 R Krajicek (Neth)

5 M Chang (US)

6 T Muster (Aut)

7 M Philippoussis (Aus)

8 B Becker (Ger)

9 M Rios (Chi)

10 C Moya (Sp)

11 G Kuerten (Bra)

12 P Rafter (Aus)

13 A Medvedev (Ukr)

14 T Henman (GB)

15 W Ferreira (SA)

16 P Korda (Cz Rep)

Women's singles

1 M Hingis (Swit)

2 M Seles (US)

3 J Novotna (Cz Rep)

4 I Majoli (Croa)

5 L Davenport (US)

6 A Coetzer (SA)

7 A Huber (Ger)

8 A Sanchez Vicario (Sp)

9 M Pierce (Fra)

10 C Martinez (Sp)

11 M J Fernandez (US)

12 I Spirlea (Rom)

13 K Po (US)

14 B Schultz-McCarthy (Neth)

15 R Dragomir (Rom)

16 B Paulus (Aut)

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