Veteran Venus casts long shadow

The young or those who are new to tennis might assume that the Venus Rosewater Dish, which is presented to the women's champion, is named after one of Wimbledon's most prolific winners.

Venus Williams has, after all, won the All England Club title five times. The silver trophy, however, dates back to 1886, and not even the veteran American was around then.

For the first time in a decade, Williams will not be among the main favourites to win the big prize in a fortnight's time. The world No 33, who celebrated her 31st birthday yesterday, has been dogged by injury since last year's Wimbledon and has played in only two tournaments this year, most recently in Eastbourne , where she was beaten by Daniela Hantuchova.

Nevertheless, Williams was a name that many of this year's major contenders will have been hoping to avoid in yesterday's draw, given that her seeding at No 23 meant that she could face some of the big guns earlier in the competition.

The unlucky rivals proved to be Jelena Jankovic, who could meet Williams in the third round, and Vera Zvonareva, who could play her in the fourth. Williams' first-round opponent is Uzbekistan's Akgul Amanmuradova, the world No 99, the winner to meet either Britain's Katie O'Brien or the veteran Japanese Kimiko Date-Krumm.

When Venus does not win the title it is usually Serena who does. The sisters have won the tournament nine times in the last 11 years – Maria Sharapova (2004) and Amélie Mauresmo (2006) are the only other champions in that period – and have appeared in four all-Williams finals.

Serena, 29, has had an even tougher year than her sister, having returned to competition this week for the first time since claiming her fourth Wimbledon title last year. Within days of her victory over Zvonareva, the 13-times Grand Slam champion cut her foot on a piece of glass in a restaurant in Munich, severing a tendon. Her recovery was put back three months ago when she was rushed to hospital to have a haematoma removed after a blood clot had travelled from a leg to her lungs.

Having dropped to No 26 in the world rankings, Serena is seeded No 8 this year. She is in the opposite half of the draw to Venus and faces France's Aravane Rezai in the first round. Li Na, who a fortnight ago became the first Asian to claim a Grand Slam singles title when she won the French Open, is a potential quarter-final opponent.

Sharapova is seen by many as the favourite to win and has a favourable draw. Caroline Wozniacki is seeded to meet her in the quarter-finals but the world No 1 has yet to win a Grand Slam title. Sharapova meets fellow Russian Anna Chakvetadze, in the first round and could then play Britain's 17-year-old Laura Robson .

How the Brits fared in the draw

Heather Watson (Aged 19, world No 93) v Mathilde Johansson (France, 26, No 64)

Watson broke into world's top 100 this year. The 19-year-old from Guernsey, based at Nick Bollettieri's academy in Florida, won 2009 US Open junior title. Johansson has never gone beyond second round of a Grand Slam event.

Elena Baltacha (27, No 61) v Qualifier

Baltacha has overcome injuries and illness to play her best tennis comparatively late in her career. Loves grass and claimed her biggest domestic title when she won in Nottingham last weekend. Reached Wimbledon third round in 2002.

Emily Webley-Smith (26, No 247) v Klara Zakopalova (Czech Rep, 29, No 38)

Webley-Smith achieved a high enough ranking to earn a wild card by playing International Tennis Federation tournaments in Asia and Australia. Reached Wimbledon second round on only previous appearance in 2004.

Laura Robson (17, No 257) v Angelique Kerber (Germany, 23, No 77)

Robson, the 2008 Wimbledon junior champion, has had a tough time of late and parted company with her coach this week. Her progress has been hampered by injuries, but she beat Kerber three years ago.

Naomi Broady (21, No 216) v Anne Keothavong (27, No 113)

Broady will be making her Wimbledon debut, having fallen at the first hurdle in qualifying three times. Keothavong, who beat Broady in Nottingham last month, has rebuilt her career after two serious knee injuries.

Katie O'Brien (25, No 218) v Kimiko Date-Krumm (Japan, 40, No 63)

O'Brien has slipped down the rankings but is a feisty competitor. Date-Krumm, who returned in 2008 after 12 years in retirement, is a former world No 4 and was a Wimbledon semi-finalist in 1996.

Women's Draw

*British unless stated, seeding in brackets

Top half of the draw

C Wozniacki (Den) (1) v A P Santonja (Sp)

S Mirza (India) v V Razzano (Fr)

A Rodionova (Aus) v A Hlavackova (Cz Rep)

A Bondarenko (Ukr) v J Gajdosova (Aus) (27)

D Cibulkova (Slovak) (24) v M Lucic (Croa)

P Hercog (Sloven) v J Larsson (Swe)

M Johansson (Fr) v H Watson

A M Garrigues (Sp) v J Goerges (Ger) (16)

S Stosur (Aus) (10)v M Czink (Hun)

A Yakimova (Bela) v S Arvidsson (Swe)

E Baltacha v Qualifier

K Flipkens (Bel) v S Peng (Chin) (20)

L Safarova (Cz Rep) (31) v L Hradecka (Cz Rep)

K Zakopalova (Cz Rep) v E Webley-Smith

A Kerber (Ger) v L Robson

A Chakvetadze (Rus) v M Sharapova (Rus) (5)

Li Na (Chin) (3) v A Kudryavtseva (Rus)

S Lisicki (Ger) v A Sevastova (Lat)

J Zheng (Chin) v Z Ondraskova (Cz Rep)

Qualifier v B Mattek-Sands (US) (30)

A Ivanovic (Serb) (18) v M Oudin (US)

C Vandeweghe (US) v E Daniilidou (Ger)

K Barrois (Ger) v P Cetkovska (Cz Rep)

O Govortsova (Bela) v A Radwanska (Pol) (13)

M Bartoli (Fr) (9) v Qualifier

L Dominguez Lino (Sp) v R Oprandi (It)

E Rodina (Rus) v C Scheepers (SA)

I-C Begu (Rom) v F Pennetta (It) (21)

M Kirilenko (Rus) (26) v A Brianti (It)

Qualifier v Y Shvedova (Kaz)

S Halep (Rom) v B Jovanovski (Serb)

A Rezai (Fr) v S Williams (US) (7)

Bottom half of the draw

F Schiavone (It) (6) v J Dokic (Aus)

B Z Strycova (Cz Rep) v Unkown

A Morita (Japan) v T Paszek (Aut)

C McHale (US) v E Makarova (Rus) (28)

S Peer (Isr) (22)v K Pervak (Rus)

S Cirstea (Rom) v P Parmentier (Fr)

G Arn (Hun) v A Petkovic (Ger) (11)

A Pavlyuchenkova (Rus) (14) v Unknown

V Dolonts (Rus) v N Petrova (Rus)

K Bondarenko (Ukr) v A Cornet (Fr)

S Errani (It) v K Kanepi (Sp) (17)

D Hantuchova (Slovak) (25) v Unknown

S Zahlavova (Cz Rep) v I Benesova (Cz Rep)

M Rybarikova (Slovak) v V Azarenka (Bela) (4)

P Kvitova (Cz Rep) (8) v Unknown

N Broady v A Keothavong

R Marino (Can) v P M-Achleitner (Aut)

V Dushevina (Rus) v R Vinci (It) (29)

Y Wickmayer (Bel) (19) v V Lepchenko (US)

A Pivovarova (Rus) v A Tatishvili (Geor)

J Craybas (US) v A Dulgheru (Rom)

S Zhang (Chin) v S Kuznetsova (Rus) (12)

J Jankovic (Serb) (15) v M J M Sanchez (Sp)

M Niculescu (Rom) v S Bammer (Aut)

K O'Brien v K Date-Krumm (Japan)

A Amanmuradova (Uzb) v V Williams (US) (23)

T Pironkova (Bul)(32) v Unknown

V King (Us) v P Martic (Croa)

E Vesnina (Rus) v L Pous-Tio (Sp)

Al Riske (US) v V Zvonareva (Rus) (2)

Caption competition
Caption competition
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Daily Quiz
Independent Dating

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Abuse - and the hell that came afterwards

Abuse - and the hell that follows

James Rhodes on the extraordinary legal battle to publish his memoir
Why we need a 'tranquility map' of England, according to campaigners

It's oh so quiet!

The case for a 'tranquility map' of England
'Timeless fashion': It may be a paradox, but the industry loves it

'Timeless fashion'

It may be a paradox, but the industry loves it
If the West needs a bridge to the 'moderates' inside Isis, maybe we could have done with Osama bin Laden staying alive after all

Could have done with Osama bin Laden staying alive?

Robert Fisk on the Fountainheads of World Evil in 2011 - and 2015
New exhibition celebrates the evolution of swimwear

Evolution of swimwear

From bathing dresses in the twenties to modern bikinis
Sun, sex and an anthropological study: One British academic's summer of hell in Magaluf

Sun, sex and an anthropological study

One academic’s summer of hell in Magaluf
From Shakespeare to Rising Damp... to Vicious

Frances de la Tour's 50-year triumph

'Rising Damp' brought De la Tour such recognition that she could be forgiven if she'd never been able to move on. But at 70, she continues to flourish - and to beguile
'That Whitsun, I was late getting away...'

Ian McMillan on the Whitsun Weddings

This weekend is Whitsun, and while the festival may no longer resonate, Larkin's best-loved poem, lives on - along with the train journey at the heart of it
Kathryn Williams explores the works and influences of Sylvia Plath in a new light

Songs from the bell jar

Kathryn Williams explores the works and influences of Sylvia Plath
How one man's day in high heels showed him that Cannes must change its 'no flats' policy

One man's day in high heels

...showed him that Cannes must change its 'flats' policy
Is a quiet crusade to reform executive pay bearing fruit?

Is a quiet crusade to reform executive pay bearing fruit?

Dominic Rossi of Fidelity says his pressure on business to control rewards is working. But why aren’t other fund managers helping?
The King David Hotel gives precious work to Palestinians - unless peace talks are on

King David Hotel: Palestinians not included

The King David is special to Jerusalem. Nick Kochan checked in and discovered it has some special arrangements, too
More people moving from Australia to New Zealand than in the other direction for first time in 24 years

End of the Aussie brain drain

More people moving from Australia to New Zealand than in the other direction for first time in 24 years
Meditation is touted as a cure for mental instability but can it actually be bad for you?

Can meditation be bad for you?

Researching a mass murder, Dr Miguel Farias discovered that, far from bringing inner peace, meditation can leave devotees in pieces
Eurovision 2015: Australians will be cheering on their first-ever entrant this Saturday

Australia's first-ever Eurovision entrant

Australia, a nation of kitsch-worshippers, has always loved the Eurovision Song Contest. Maggie Alderson says it'll fit in fine