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Novak Djokovic. Picture: DDFTENNIS/TWITTER
Novak Djokovic. Picture: DDFTENNIS/TWITTER

London — Wimbledon champion Novak Djokovic will head into next week’s tournament as the men’s top seed with Russian world No 1 Daniil Medvedev banned from taking part, while Germany’s second-ranked Alexander Zverev is out injured.

Organisers of the grass-court Grand Slam have banned players from Russia and Belarus from playing at the 2022 Wimbledon after Moscow’s invasion of Ukraine.

Zverev had surgery on torn ligaments in his right ankle earlier in June after he was forced to retire from his French Open semifinal against Rafael Nadal.

Djokovic, who was unable to defend his 2021 Australian Open title and the 2,000 ranking points he earned due to his nonvaccinated status against Covid-19, recently lost his world No 1 spot to Medvedev.

The Serbian, who has won the last three editions of the grass-court Major, will slip further down the rankings after Wimbledon as he will lose another 2,000 points, because the ATP and WTA will be stripping the tournament of points in retaliation to the ban of players.

The absence of Medvedev and Zverev means Nadal, who is halfway through a possible calendar year Slam after winning the Australian and French Open titles, will be seeded second.

It also results in Djokovic and Nadal finding themselves in different halves of the draw and they cannot face each other until the men’s final on July 10. The duo met in this year’s Roland Garros quarterfinal where the Spaniard triumphed.

Britain has two players in the top 10 seeds at their home Major with Cameron Norrie ninth while US Open champion Emma Raducanu is 10th in the absence of Belarusian Aryna Sabalenka.

Poland’s world No 1 Iga Swiatek will be the women’s top seed with Estonian Annett Kontaveit second.

Wimbledon organisers had used a computer-based system favouring results on grass courts in the previous two years to determine the seedings but from the 2021 edition seedings mirror the world rankings.

Andy Murray said he remains on course to play at Wimbledon even though he is still being hampered by an abdominal injury which has left him unable to practise fully.

The 35-year-old Briton, who won the grass-court Grand Slam in 2013 and 2016, sustained the injury during his Stuttgart Open final loss to Matteo Berrettini on June 12.

The former world No 1 withdrew from last week’s Queen’s Club Championships and is racing to be fit for Wimbledon, which begins on June 27.

“The plan is still to play. The injury is improving. I’ve had it rescanned and it’s progressing in the right way,” Murray said.

“But you can probably work out from the nature of the injury which shots it is that I’ve been struggling with and haven’t been able to practise. In the next few days I’ll start to increase that and test it out. Hopefully it’s recovered sufficiently.”

Murray, who is now ranked 51st in the world, looked in good form during the grass-court swing, reaching the Surbiton Challenger semifinals before the final at Stuttgart.

“It’s frustrating but I played nine matches in two weeks, which I haven’t done since 2016,” added Murray, who has endured lengthy injury layoffs in recent years due to hip surgery.



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