Dubious honour for top seeds in Australian Open

January 15th, 2009 - 9:57 pm ICT by IANS  

Rafael NadalMelbourne, Jan 15 (IANS) World No.1 Rafael Nadal, as expected, is the top seed in the Australian Open men’s singles tennis championship. But it may well prove to be a dubious honour as only few top seeds in the past have gone on to win the championship.According to The Australian, in the 40 years of Open tennis, only 12 top-ranked male players have won the championship.

Among the illustrious names to lose when seeded to win are Rod Laver, John Newcombe, Ken Rosewall, Ivan Lendl (five times), Pete Sampras, who lost three as top seed and won two, and Lleyton Hewitt who infamously went out in the first round when he was world No.1 in 2002.

Even Swiss champion Roger Federer, who is the second seed this year, has twice failed when his name appeared on the top line of the draw. The women have done better with 17 top-seed winners in the past 40 years.

It remains to be seen whether being No.1 will assist Serbia’s Jelena Jankovic, who inherited the honour this year when Maria Sharapova pulled out.

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