Williams sisters seeded for Wimbledon

Defending champion Serena Williams has been seeded eighth for next week's Wimbledon championships but...

US tennis champion Serena Williams in Johannesburg on Tuesday 11 November 2008 during her first visit to South Africa. Picture: Werner Beukes/SAPA

Defending champion Serena Williams has been seeded eighth for next week's Wimbledon championships but sister Venus is lurking down at 24th after the All England Club's seedings committee met on Wednesday.

Serena was top of the WTA rankings when she won her fourth Wimbledon singles title last year, her 13th major singles crown in all, but is now down at 26 after 11 months out through injury and serious health problems.

The 29-year-old American required surgery on her foot after slicing it open on broken glass in a Munich restaurant last July and then needed emergency treatment in February for potentially life threatening blood clots on her lungs. She returned to action this week at Eastbourne after taking a wildcard.

Venus, who has won five Wimbledon singles titles but is now ranked 33, also made a comeback in Eastbourne after not playing since the Australian Open because of abdominal and hip injuries.

Speaking on the eve of the draw 18-times grand slam champion Chris Evert said she expected both Williams sisters to be amongst the top 16 seeds at Wimbledon.

"I think it's got to be a given that they're both seeded the top 16," Evert said on a conference call. "Venus has the best record of anybody in the whole draw as far as winning Wimbledon.

"My heavens, these two women have dominated Wimbledon the last 10 years."

The sisters, who between them have won nine of the last 11 singles titles at Wimbledon, have been upgraded at the discretion of the All England Club to ensure "a balanced draw".

The rest of the seedings follow the WTA rankings with Denmark's world number one Caroline Wozniacki topping the draw.

Belgium's Kim Clijsters is seeded two although she has doubts over her fitness after losing in the first round of the Den Bosch Open on Tuesday to Italian Romina Oprandi.

The men's seedings, based mainly on the ATP rankings on June 13 but which can be tweaked to reflect grasscourt form, have a top four of defending champion Rafa Nadal, Novak Djokovic, six-times champion Roger Federer and Andy Murray.

American Andy Roddick, three times a runner-up, has earned the eight seeding spot despite a current ranking of 10 which means he will avoid the "big four" until the quarter-finals.

Frenchman Jo-Wilfried Tsonga has also been shunted up to 12th from a ranking of 19 after his run to the Queen's Club final where he lost to Murray.