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Nadal gets tough draw at Wimbledon

WORLD No. 1 Rafael Nadal will begin the defence of his title at Wimbledon against Frenchman Arnaud Clement as long as his painful knees hold up.

He faces a likely second-round matchup against former No. 1 Lleyton Hewitt and Andy Murray possibly waiting in the semifinals.

Murray is coming off his first grasscourt title at the Queen's Club.

Five-time champion Roger Federer was placed in the same half of the draw as Novak Djokovic, and could face the Serb in the semifinals as he bids for a record 15th grand slam title.

Nadal lost an exhibition match to Hewitt on grass on Thursday and will play Stanislas Wawrinka in another two-set match before making his decision. He pulled out of the Queen's tournament to rest his knees after a fourth-round loss to Robin Soderling at the French Open -- his first defeat at Roland Garros.

Federer will begin his campaign against Lu Yen-hsun of Chinese Taipei. Murray takes on Robert Kendrick of the United States, and Djokovic plays Julien Benneteau of France. Roddick must get past Jeremy Chardy of France in the first round and could meet Nikolay Davydenko in the fourth.

Federer could face Soderling in the fourth round and either seventh-seeded Fernando Verdasco of Spain or No. 9 Jo-Wilfried Tsonga of France in the quarterfinals.

In the women's draw, the Williams sisters were placed in opposite halves of the draw, setting up a potential final matchup. Defending champion Venus Williams may first have to overcome top-ranked Dinara Safina in the semifinals, while Serena could play fourth-ranked Elena Dementieva for a spot in the final.

Safina was drawn against Lourdes Dominguez Lino of Spain in the first round. Venus Williams will take on Stefanie Voegele of Switzerland and Serena plays Neuza Silva of Portugal. Former women's champion Maria Sharapova, who is still trying to return to form after a lengthy injury layoff, starts against Viktoriya Kutuzova of Ukraine and could face Serena Williams if she makes it to the quarterfinals.

Safina, who is still looking for her first grand slam title, could come up against Svetlana Kuznetsova in the quarterfinals after losing to her fellow Russian in the French Open final.


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