Defending champ Djokovic to start Wimbledon defence against Juan Carlos Ferrero | iNFOnews | Thompson-Okanagan's News Source

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Defending champ Djokovic to start Wimbledon defence against Juan Carlos Ferrero

This combo made from 2009, left, 2008, center, and 2011 file photos shows from left: Roger Federer, Rafael Nadal and Novak Djokovic after winning at Wimbledon. (AP Photo/FILE)

WIMBLEDON, England - Top-ranked Novak Djokovic will begin the defence of his Wimbledon title on Monday against Juan Carlos Ferrero, the former No. 1 and 2003 French Open champion.

Djokovic and Ferrero last played five years ago and are 1-1 in matchups. Friday's draw also seeded 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-5 player Nikolay Davydenko.

On the women's side, Maria Sharapova, who is 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. Serena beat Kvitova in the semifinals in 2010 en route to her fourth Wimbledon title and 13th and last Grand Slam title.

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 world No. 1, 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 longest-running saga in Wimbledon history: 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 was entered on a wild card, will start against No. 5 Jo-Wilfried Tsonga.

Three-time finalist Andy Roddick, No. 30, was 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 defaulted 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 was back as the 20th seed, starts against Belgian wild card David Goffin, who reached the last 16 at the French Open.

News from © The Associated Press, 2012
The Associated Press

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