Djokovic, Federer could meet in semis
Top-ranked Novak Djokovic will begin the defense of his Wimbledon title Monday against Juan Carlos Ferrero, the former No. 1 player and 2003 French Open champion.
Djokovic and Ferrero last played five years ago and have split their two matchups. Friday’s draw also slated Djokovic to meet 2010 finalist Tomas Berdych in the quarterfinals then possibly six-time champion Roger Federer. That would be their sixth semifinal in the last eight Grand Slams. Djokovic leads them 4-1.
Federer opens against Albert Ramos of Spain.
Second-seeded Rafael Nadal and fourth-seeded Andy Murray were in the bottom of the draw.
Nadal, the two-time champion, will meet Thomaz Bellucci of Brazil first up, and Murray plays former top-five player Nikolay Davydenko.
On the women’s side, Maria Sharapova, who is the top seed for the first time, has a first-round match with Anastasia Rodionova of Australia, and defending champ Petra Kvitova plays Akgul Amanmuradova of Uzbekistan.
Sharapova and Kvitova could meet in the final for a second straight year.
Also in separate halves of the draw were Venus and Serena Williams, who share nine Wimbledon titles and met each other in four finals.
Serena (No. 6) was seeded to meet Kvitova (No. 4) in the quarterfinals. Williams beat Kvitova in the semifinals in 2010 en route to her fourth Wimbledon title and 13th and last Grand Slam victory.
Venus, unseeded for the first time since her tournament debut in 1997 and struggling with an autoimmune disease, plays Elena Vesnina of Russia, then could run into No. 3 Agnieszka Radwanska in the second round.
Kim Clijsters, unseeded and counting down to her retirement in September, was drawn against another former top-ranked player, Jelena Jankovic, in the first round. Clijsters has been sidelined for most of the year with injuries and withdrew from the Unicef Open semifinals in the Netherlands on Friday because of a stomach muscle strain.
The draw also gave hope to extending the long-running Wimbledon saga: John Isner vs. Nicolas Mahut.
The pair played the longest match in tennis history, more than 11 hours over three days, in the first round in 2010. Isner won a second time – in about two hours – in the first round last year. The American and Frenchman could meet in the second round this year. Isner could run into Federer in the quarters.
Lleyton Hewitt, the champion 10 years ago who made it with a wild card, will start against No. 5 Jo-Wilfried Tsonga.
Three-time finalist Andy Roddick, seeded No. 30, is in the same quarter as another former U.S. Open champ, Juan Martin del Potro, and Murray.
Other notable openers include No. 8 Janko Tipsarevic against David Nalbandian, who was disqualified from the Queen’s Club final last weekend for kicking an advertising board and hurting a linesman. Bernard Tomic, the Australian who reached the quarterfinals last year and is back as the No. 20 seed, starts against Belgian wild card David Goffin, who reached the last 16 at the French Open.