No Australian seeded for the second successive Grand Slam

January 15th, 2009 - 9:36 pm ICT by IANS  

Melbourne, Jan 15 (IANS) It is for the second time in a row that no Australian tennis player has been seeded either for the men’s or women’s singles in a Grand Slam even as Australian Open begins here Monday. Following on from the US Open in New York last September, the 2009 Australian Open in Melbourne has no locals among the 64 top-ranked singles players.

The 32-seed seeding system was introduced in 1997 and it is the first time an Australian has not been seeded at the Grand Slam of the Asia Pacific.

In New York, Lleyton Hewitt - the men’s mainstay for Australia over the past decade - was recuperating from hip surgery and missed the tournament which gave him his first Grand Slam trophy in 2001 over Pete Sampras.

Australia’s leading female player, Sam Stosur, was back on the Women’s Tennis Association (WTA) Tour but edging her way up the rankings ladder after missing a large chunk of the season through a combination of Lyme disease and viral meningitis.

For next week’s Australian Open, Hewitt is currently ranked No.74 on the ATP world computer while Stosur has improved to No.46.

It will be the second year in a row Australia hasn’t had a female in the Australian Open seedings as Stosur missed the entire summer in 2008 due to the after-effects of her illness.

Last year Alicia Molik, who has now retired but a former world No.8, was the highest-ranked Australian at No.52.

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