All England Club left without any Englishmen for first time
Thursday 17 June 2010
Only two British men will play in singles at Wimbledon next week, the lowest number of home competitors in the tournament's 133-year history. With Andy Murray, the world No 4, and Jamie Baker, who has a wild card, both being Scots, it is believed to be the first time that no Englishmen will appear in the tournament.
Murray, who will play an exhibition match today against Mikhail Youzhny at the BNP Paribas Classic at Hurlingham, is the only British man with a high enough ranking to go directly into the main draw. Alex Bogdanovic, the world No 161, was the only other British man who met the Lawn Tennis Association's criteria for a wild card – a top 250 ranking – but was overlooked in the light of his eight previous first-round defeats. Ten British men entered Wimbledon's qualifying tournament at Roehampton, but none got past the second round.
Leon Smith, the LTA's head of men's tennis, said last night: "There are fewer British men in the main draw because fewer wild cards have been handed out. We accept that this is where we are in the men's game."
There will be better home representation in the women's singles. Elena Baltacha and Anne Keothavong are in the main draw through their ranking, while Katie O'Brien, Mel South, Laura Robson and Heather Watson have wild cards. Lisa Whybourn, 19, is the only Briton through to the final round of qualifying after a 6-1, 6-4 victory over Italy's Anna Floris.
Roger Federer was named as the No 1 men's seed at Wimbledon ahead of Rafael Nadal. In putting a greater emphasis on recent grass-court results, Wimbledon is the only tournament that does not follow the world rankings, in which Nadal is No 1 in front of Federer. Novak Djokovic will be No 3 seed and Murray No 4. Andy Roddick (world No 7) is No 5 seed and Lleyton Hewitt (world No 26) is No 15. The women's seedings follow the world rankings.
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