Reigning Wimbledon champion Novak Djokovic has offered words of support for rival Rafael Nadal after the Spanish star criticized the criteria used for Wimbledon that looks set to see him drop down the tournament’s seed list.
The world-famous grass-court tournament gets underway at the All-England Club on Monday, with Nadal set to suffer from the unique approach to the seedings taken by Wimbledon tournament organizers.
It is expected that Swiss star and eight-time Wimbledon champion Roger Federer will be seeded ahead of Nadal in this year’s Wimbledon seedings, despite the fact he sits one place and some 1,300 points behind the Spaniard in the ATP rankings.
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The official seedings are unveiled on Wednesday, and if Nadal is seeded at No.3, as expected, it would likely mean he will have to defeat both eight-time winner Federer and four-time champion Djokovic in order to claim his third Wimbledon title.
“Wimbledon is the only tournament of the year that doesn’t follow the ranking,” Nadal told Spanish TV station #Vamos on Tuesday.
“It’s their choice. Either way, being second or third seed, I have to play at the best level to aspire to the things I aspire to. It is better to be second than third, but if they consider that I have to be third I will accept.
“I don’t think it’s a good thing that Wimbledon is the only one with its own seeding formula.”
The Spanish star received backing from one of his biggest rivals, with Novak Djokovic saying he sympathized with Nadal’s views.
“It’s their rules and you have to respect it although it’s a little bit surprising, to be honest,” he told Reuters.
“Roger is the greatest of all time and has won the most Wimbledon titles of any player in history and if any player deserves it it’s him.
“But, at the same time, it’s Nadal that he is taking over (from as) the second seed so it’s surprising, to be honest.”
Wimbledon’s seeding process takes the world’s top 32 players from the ATP rankings, but organizers then apply a formula that places greater emphasis on performances in grass-court tournaments over the previous two years to adjust the order.
It’s a unique approach that doesn’t sit well with clay-court specialist Nadal, who feels Wimbledon’s seedings process should fall into line with that of the other major tennis tournaments around the world.
The only thing that doesn’t seem right to me is that it’s just Wimbledon that does it. If everyone did it, I think it would be appropriate or correct,” Nadal told #Vamos.
The women’s seedings follow the WTA ranking list but organizers have the latitude to adjust the seedings to ensure a “balanced draw”.
One example of this occurred for last year’s tournament, when Serena Williams headed into Wimbledon as the 183rd-ranked player in the world, but was seeded 25th.