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Nadal's low seeding gives Djokovic clear run to Wimbledon final

updated 7:21 AM EDT, Fri June 21, 2013
Great detail is taken as grounds crews prepare Centre Court for Sunday's historic match between Roger Federer and Andy Murray in the Wimbledon Championships at the All England Lawn Tennis and Croquet Club in London. Federer is seeking to tie the record for most men's singles titles at Wimbledon, and Murray is shooting to become the first British male to win his nation's major singles championship in 76 years. See the action as it unfolds here, and visit <a href='http://edition.cnn.com/SPORT/tennis/'>CNN.com/tennis</a> for complete coverage.<br/><br/> Great detail is taken as grounds crews prepare Centre Court for Sunday's historic match between Roger Federer and Andy Murray in the Wimbledon Championships at the All England Lawn Tennis and Croquet Club in London. Federer is seeking to tie the record for most men's singles titles at Wimbledon, and Murray is shooting to become the first British male to win his nation's major singles championship in 76 years. See the action as it unfolds here, and visit CNN.com/tennis for complete coverage.

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Wimbledon: The best photos
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Wimbledon: The best photos
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STORY HIGHLIGHTS
  • World No. 1 Novak Djokovic in opposite half of draw from rest of men's "Big Four"
  • Rafael Nadal and Roger Federer could meet as early as quarterfinals at Wimbledon
  • The winner of that match could then face last year's runner-up Andy Murray
  • Women's champion Serena Williams in opposite half of draw to Maria Sharapova

(CNN) -- Novak Djokovic's hopes of winning a second Wimbledon title were boosted Friday when the world No. 1 was drawn in the opposite half of the field from his three main tennis rivals.

The Serbian, who triumphed at the grass-court grand slam in 2011, cannot face defending champion Roger Federer, second-ranked Andy Murray or two-time winner Rafael Nadal before the July 7 men's final.

Nadal has been seeded a lowly fifth despite his successful comeback from long-term knee injury, which culminated in a record eighth French Open title this month.

He lost in the second round at London's SW19 a year ago, which turned out to be his last match until February.

Read: Friend's cancer trauma reveals the real Andy Murray

The 27-year-old faces the prospect of renewing his rivalry with Federer in the quarterfinals, and the winner of that match will possibly face Murray.

Murray inspired by friend's cancer fight
The Wimbledon greats
Wimbledon's wild card returns home
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Murray, last year's runner-up, is seeded to play France's world No. 7 Jo-Wilfried Tsonga in the last eight.

Murray will begin his bid to become Britain's first male champion since Fred Perry in 1936 when he takes on Benjamin Becker.

He defeated the 32-year-old German -- as well as Tsonga -- on the way to winning the title at Queen's Club on Sunday, having missed the French Open due to injury.

Federer, seeded third, will start against Romania's Victor Hanescu in Monday's opening matches as he seeks to win his 18th grand slam title and a record eighth Wimbledon crown.

Read: French Open champion Nadal 'scared' by masked protester

Nadal, on a 22-match winning streak, will play 113th-ranked Belgian Steve Darcis in the first round while Djokovic takes on Germany's Florian Mayer.

Djokovic could play world No. 6 Tomas Berdych in the quarterfinals ahead of a possible match against Spanish fourth seed David Ferrer -- who could face eighth-ranked Argentine Juan Martin del Potro in the last eight.

Ferrer reached his first grand slam final at Roland Garros this month, but had no answer to an in-form Nadal -- who had beaten Djokovic in an epic semi encounter.

In the Wimbledon women's draw, defending champion and top seed Serena Williams cannot face Maria Sharapova or Victoria Azarenka until the final.

The American, who beat Sharapova in the French Open final, could face a rematch of last year's title match with fourth-ranked Pole Agnieszka Radwanska in the semis.

Read: Brand Max - The man behind Maria's millions

The 31-year-old will first take on Luxembourg's 77th-ranked Mandy Minella, who lost in the first round last year.

Radwanska is drawn to meet China's former French Open champion Li Na in the last eight.

Sharapova, seeded third after dropping below Azarenka in the rankings, having failed to defend her title at Roland Garros, will start against 20-year-old Kristina Mladenovic of France.

The Russian, who won the tournament as a 17-year-old in 2004, is seeded to face Italian No. 5 Sara Errani in the quarterfinals before a possible clash with Azarenka -- who she beat in the Paris semis.

Australian Open champion Azarenka, who starts against 112th-ranked Maria Joao Koehler of Portugal, is drawn to play 2011 Wimbledon winner Petra Kvitova in the last eight.

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updated 8:48 AM EDT, Thu September 11, 2014
French Tennis player Rene Lacoste, one of France's 'Four Musketeers' who won the Davis Cup in 1932, at Wimbledon. He is wearing his embroidered crocodile motif. Original Publication: People Disc - HH0434 (Photo by Topical Press Agency/Getty Images)
His distinctive crocodile logo is seen on clothing all over the world, but Rene Lacoste also left a lasting legacy in the development of tennis.
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Serena Williams is without peer in the modern women's game and now she is on a par with two American tennis legends from the past.
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American tennis player and golfer Althea Gibson (right) receives a kiss from compatriot Darlene Hard, whom she beat in two sets to become the first black woman to win the Women's Singles Finals at Wimbledon.
Over the course of her remarkable life, Althea Gibson was many things to many people -- but it was tennis where she really left her mark.
updated 7:45 AM EDT, Wed August 27, 2014
Canada and tennis? Really? Yup. The North American tennis power balance is swinging away from the States.
updated 8:52 AM EDT, Thu August 21, 2014
As a player he was as fiery as his hair -- and as Novak Djokovic's coach, Boris Becker says he has to battle to keep his emotions in check.
updated 7:02 AM EDT, Wed August 20, 2014
Tennis great Boris Becker says he was stunned by the level of criticism he received after being appointed as Novak Djokovic's coach.
updated 7:01 AM EDT, Fri July 25, 2014
"I didn't cry once when I practiced in front of the mirror," says Martin Emmrich. But the nerves kicked in when he got down on one knee on court.
updated 7:35 AM EDT, Mon June 30, 2014
When Agnieszka Radwanska refused to look her opponent in the eye after losing at Wimbledon, it raised more than eyebrows.
updated 9:14 PM EDT, Sun June 22, 2014
It's 10 years since a teenage Maria Sharapova became the darling of Wimbledon's hallowed Center Court, launching herself as a star.
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He's regularly voted France's favorite famous person, but many of the nation's youth have "no idea" about his glorious sporting past
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Five-time grand slam champion Martina Hingis has followed her mom into a coaching role, setting up a new tennis academy in Barcelona, Spain.
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