Seven-time champion Serena Williams has been announced as the 25th seed for Wimbledon. The 36-year-old American, who has returned to competitive tennis following the birth of her daughter last September, is 183rd in the WTA Tour rankings.
The All England Club usually follows the latest ranking list, but under tournament rules it can make a change if deemed “necessary to produce a balanced draw”.
Williams’ inclusion in the women’s singles seedings means world No 32 Dominika Cibulkova, a two-time Wimbledon quarter-finalist, misses out and so will go into the open draw.
Slovakian Cibulkova had been left less than impressed by the prospect ahead of the seeding announcement.
“I don’t think it’s the right thing to do,” Cibulkova said on the BBC. “I think it’s just not fair. I have tried and I should be seeded. If they put her in front of me then I will lose my spot that I am supposed to have.
“I was a former No 4, and it’s also like why should I not be seeded if I have the right to be?”
French Open champion and world No 1 Simona Halep is the women’s top seed, with last year’s champion Garbine Muguruza third. British number one Johanna Konta is the 22nd seed, while Maria Sharapova is No 24.
In the men’s draw, the grass-court Wimbledon formula sees Roger Federer, looking for an eighth singles crown, confirmed as top seed ahead of world No 1 Rafael Nadal, the French Open champion.
Kyle Edmund, the British No 1, is seeded for the first time at No 22, having reached the semi-finals of the Australian Open. Former champion Andy Murray, however, misses out on a seeding as he continues his comeback from hip surgery.
At Wimbledon qualifying Eugenie Bouchard moved to within one win of the main draw after battling past Karolina Muchova 6-2, 2-6, 6-3 in the second round at Roehampton.
Canadian Bouchard was Wimbledon junior champion in 2012 and runner-up in the women’s singles two years later as she broke into the world’s top five.
However, after plummeting down the rankings to 191st, Bouchard missed out on a wild-card for this year’s tournament.
Elsewhere, 2010 Wimbledon finalist Vera Zvonareva progressed with a 7-6 (7/2), 6-2 win over Sabina Sharipova of Uzbekistan.