The seedings for this month’s Australian Open have been released, with Novak Djokovic and Caroline Wozniacki receiving top billing.
Serbian Djokovic, after his superb 2011 season that saw him become world number one, tops the men’s side of the draw from Rafael Nadal and Roger Federer, with Britain’s Andy Murray the fourth seed.
Spain’s David Ferrer is seeded fifth, ahead of Frenchman Jo-Wilfried Tsonga, Czech Tomas Berdych, American Mardy Fish and Serbian Janko Tipsarevic, with Spanish clay-court specialist Nicolas Almagro completing the top 10.
Wozniacki, who heads to Melbourne still searching for an elusive grand slam title and in danger of relinquishing her number one ranking to Czech Petra Kvitova, is the top women’s seed, with Kvitova second, Belarusian Victoria Azarenka third and Maria Sharapova fourth.
Last year’s Australian Open runner-up, China’s Li Na, is seeded fifth, with US Open champion and local hope Samantha Stosur sixth.
Russian Vera Zvonareva is the seventh seed, in front of Pole Agnieszka Radwanska, Frenchwoman Marion Bartoli and German Andrea Petkovic.
With the seeding of players in the year’s first grand slam tournament based solely on their places in the ATP and WTA rankings, there were no surprises in the list revealed today, but the placing of defending champion Kim Clijsters and Serena Williams could see fireworks earlier than anticipated.
Belgian Clijsters, who is still battling back to full fitness after an injury ravaged 2011, is seeded 12th, with Williams – champion at Melbourne Park in 2003, 2005, 2007, 2009 and 2010 – the 13th seed, meaning they could face a top-10 player as early as the last 16.