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Nadal unimpressed as seeding system pits him below Federer

 

Ranking row: Rafael Nadal has been seeded third
Ranking row: Rafael Nadal has been seeded third

By Eleanor Crooks

It may be five days before Wimbledon starts but the first row of the tournament has already erupted after Roger Federer was seeded above Rafael Nadal.

Despite sitting a place below his great Spanish rival in the ATP rankings, Federer's 10th Halle title confirmed he would rise above Nadal courtesy of Wimbledon's controversial seeding formula.

While the other Grand Slam events seed players based on the men's and women's rankings - barring extraordinary circumstances - Wimbledon's formula rearranges the top-32 ranked male players.

As a consequence, Nadal - who would have been the second seed at any other major - is now seeded third, meaning he could meet world No. 1 Novak Djokovic in the semi-finals.

Federer, by contrast, would have been guaranteed to meet one of his 'Big Three' rivals in the semi-finals but could now potentially avoid both, while it's guaranteed he won't meet Djokovic before the final.

An unimpressed Nadal has questioned Wimbledon's seeding system, saying: "The only thing that does not seem right to me about this story is that it is only Wimbledon that does it, only one tournament.

"It has not only happened to me, it has happened to other players. They do not respect the status that some players have earned throughout the season. 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."

South Africa's Kevin Anderson is seeded fourth, well ahead of his ranking of eight, after reaching the final for the first time last year, with Dominic Thiem, Alexander Zverev and Stefanos Tsitsipas all bumped down one position.

Kei Nishikori, John Isner and Karen Khachanov round off the top 10 while British number one Kyle Edmund is seeded 30th, one place above his ranking.

The women's seedings are the same as the rankings, with French Open champion Ashleigh Barty top of the pile for the first time at a grand slam ahead of Naomi Osaka. Defending champion Angelique Kerber is seeded fifth, Serena Williams 11th and British number one Johanna Konta 19th.

Meanwhile, Liam Broady edged closer to the main draw with a hard-fought three-set win against Holland's Tallon Griekspoor in the second round of qualifying. Broady, who beat Slovakia's Andrej Martin 6-3 6-1 in the first round, won 6-4 6-7 (2) 6-2 against Griekspoor in just under two hours.

The British number eight will face Frenchman Gregoire Barrere for a place in the main tournament, which starts next Monday.

Sam Murray, number 362 in the women's world rankings, followed up her first-round win against China's Peng Shuai by reaching the third round.

The 31-year-old from Altrincham beat Spain's Cristina Bucsa 7-6 (4) 6-4. However, Gabi Taylor lost 6-4 7-6 (5) to Belgium's Ysaline Bonaventure.

• John McEnroe remains cautious about Andy Murray's hopes of a successful singles comeback.

The former world number one made a brilliant return to the match court at Queen's Club last week following a second hip operation in January, winning the doubles title with Feliciano Lopez.

McEnroe said: "Doubles is obviously a completely different animal than singles. Best of five (sets) is totally different than best of three. But it was nice to see him eager and into it and looking like he was relatively healthy. You can't really determine it until he starts playing singles matches and how the body reacts if you're on a hard court, for example, as opposed to grass."

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