In Brief

Wimbledon 2018: world No.449 Serena Williams could be top seed

Seven-time champion dropped down the rankings after having a baby last year

Serena Williams could be ranked as No.1 seed at Wimbledon this year, the BBC reports, despite the possibility she may not be in the world’s top 32 by the time the tournament starts in July.

The seven-time Wimbledon singles champion has dropped to No.449 in the Women’s Tennis Association (WTA) rankings having taken time away from the sport to have a baby. 

The Times reports that there had been confusion at yesterday’s press conference when All England Club officials were asked if Williams could be considered for one of the 32 seedings. 

All England Club chairman Philip Brook and chief executive Richard Lewis had initially replied that “they believed Williams had to be ranked within the world top 32 a week before the championships”. But after a Times journalist said there was no mention of this point in the tournament guidelines, a statement was issued to clarify the rules.

An All England Club spokeswoman said: “The seeding order follows the WTA ranking list except where, in the opinion of the committee, a change is necessary to produce a balanced draw.

“Therefore it is reasonable to state that the committee would have the discretion to seed a player for the championships, regardless of their WTA ranking. This discussion would take place at the seeding meeting on 26 June.”

The Guardian’s tennis correspondent Kevin Mitchell believes Williams should be seeded at Wimbledon “for the good of the game”. Mitchell writes: “Having clarified that they can offer the seven-time Wimbledon champion a seeding, the All England Club must do the right thing or risk being seen to punish someone for having a baby.”

2018 prize fund increases

This year’s Championships take place from 2 to 15 July and it was announced that there will be an increase in prize money for the 2018 tournament.

The 2018 total prize money fund has increased by 7.6% to £34m. Last year the total prize fund was £31.6m. The ladies’ and gentlemen’s singles champions will receive £2.25m - an increase from £2.2m in 2017.

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