LONDON (CNN) – She is only ranked 183rd in the world, but Serena Williams has been seeded No. 25 for Wimbledon next week, after taking time off to have a baby.
The seven-time champion, who missed last year’s event while pregnant, has played in just three tournaments in the past 12 months, but has been given a favorable seed by Wimbledon organizers. The All England Club usually follows the women’s WTA world rankings, but reserves the right to change seedings — the top 32 players in the draw.
The aim of the seeds is to produce a balanced draw, so that, in theory, the top two players would come from either side of the draw and only meet in the final. Simona Halep, the French Open champion, is seeded first ahead of Caroline Wozniacki of Denmark.
Due to her seeding, Williams will not have to face another seeded player until the third round. She is one place below Maria Sharapova of Russia, who is also on the comeback trail after missing 15 months for a drug ban.
Williams, winner of 23 grand slam titles, gave birth to a daughter in September. The 36-year-old player then withdrew from from the French Open earlier this month with a pectoral injury, ahead of her fourth-round match against rival Sharapova.
For the men, eight-time Wimbledon champ Roger Federer is the top seed ahead of French Open winner Rafael Nadal. The rules for the men’s draw are governed by ATP Tour world rankings, meaning that Britain’s Andy Murray is unseeded after returning from hip surgery. The former world No. 1 and two-time Wimbledon winner, has dropped to 156th in the rankings.
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