Murray seeded No 3 to rewind Wimbledon clock to 1973
Thursday 18 June 2009
Barely a day goes by without Andy Murray matching or eclipsing a British record. Yesterday it was Roger Taylor's turn as Murray became the first Briton since the 67-year-old Yorkshireman to be seeded No 3 at Wimbledon, which starts on Monday.
If the seedings work out, Murray would have to beat both Roger Federer and Rafael Nadal to win the title. Tomorrow's draw will decide which of the two he will be seeded to meet in the semi-finals.
Being seeded in the top four means Murray cannot meet Nadal, Federer or Novak Djokovic until the semis. However, since breaking into the top four in the rankings the 22-year-old Scot has yet to live up to his seeding in a Grand Slam event. He lost to Fernando Verdasco in the fourth round in Melbourne and to Fernando Gonzalez in the quarter-finals in Paris.
Taylor enjoyed his highest-ever seeding in 1973 thanks to a boycott by most leading players after the banning of Nikki Pilic, who had refused to play in a Davis Cup tie for Yugoslavia. Taylor had originally been seeded No 16. He took full advantage, beating a 17-year-old Swedish newcomer by the name of Bjorn Borg before losing in the semi-finals to Jan Kodes, the eventual champion.
Wimbledon is the only Grand Slam tournament which does not seed players purely according to their world ranking. Instead it takes the rankings and applies a formula giving extra weight to performances on grass over the last two years.
The main beneficiaries are last year's two surprise semi-finalists. Marat Safin, the world No 23, is seeded No 15, while Rainer Schüttler jumps 11 places to No 19. Feliciano Lopez, up six spots to No 22, and Ivo Karlovic, up eight to No 23, also benefit.
Wimbledon adopts a different policy for the women, reserving the right to correct what it sees as any anomalies in the rankings. This year the only change sees Maria Sharapova, who is ranked No 59 following a lengthy absence with a shoulder injury, seeded at No 24. Dinara Safina, who struggles on grass, is seeded No 1, while Venus Williams, the five-times champion, is at No 3, one place behind her sister, Serena.
Naomi Cavaday, a 6-0, 3-6, 7-5 winner over Angelique Kerber, is the only British singles player left in the Wimbledon qualifying competition after second-round defeats for Alex Slabinsky, Marcus Willis and Joshua Milton. James Ward and Alex Bogdanovic, the only two Britons left in the Aegon International at Eastbourne, lost to Frank Dancevic and Dmitry Tursunov respectively.
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