LONDON (Reuters) - Spaniard Rafael Nadal received support from Wimbledon champion Novak Djokovic on Tuesday after criticising the unique seedings formula used by the grasscourt Grand Slam which gets underway at the All England Club on Monday.
Nadal looks set to fall victim to the formula which tweaks the seedings based on previous form on grass, with the 33-year-old expected to be seeded third behind top-ranked Djokovic and Roger Federer despite being world number two.
Wimbledon, which will announce the seedings on Wednesday, is the only one of the four Grand Slam tournaments not to stick rigidly to the ATP and WTA rankings.
With Nadal, seeking a first Wimbledon title for nine years, seeded three it would mean he would most probably have to beat eight-time champion Roger Federer and four-time winner Djokovic to get his hands on the trophy for a third time.
“Wimbledon is the only tournament of the year that doesn’t follow the ranking,” the 33-year-old 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.”
Nadal lost a semi-final epic to Djokovic last year but in his previous five appearances he never got past round four.
Wimbledon top seed Djokovic said he could understand Nadal’s frustration.
“It’s their rules and you have to respect it although it’s a little bit surprising to be honest,” the Serb told Reuters after playing at the Boodles exhibition event on Tuesday.
“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.”
The top 32 players on the ATP ranking list, who are present at Wimbledon, will take the seeded places, but a formula using results on grass for the past 24 months can change the order.
“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 can be tweaked to produce “a balanced draw”.
Serena Williams was ranked 183rd ahead of last year’s tournament but was handed a seeding of 25.
Reporting by Emma Pinedo-Gonzalez; Writing by Martyn Herman; Editing by Hugh Lawson and Ken Ferris