RAFAEL NADAL blasted Wimbledon chiefs for relegating him down the seeding list.
The Spaniard is expected to be announced today as the third seed behind world No1 Novak Djokovic and world No3 Roger Federer – even though he is second in the rankings.
The All-England Club employ a different system to seed players compared to the Australian, French and US Opens with greater focus on grass-court displays.
It means Nadal, 33, could find himself in the same half of the draw as defending champion Djokovic.
And the two-time Wimbledon champion said: “It doesn’t seem right.
“It’s just Wimbledon that does it. If everyone did it, I think it would be appropriate or correct.
“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.
“It’s not only about my particular case. There have been many occasions when players have played well all year on all surfaces but Wimbledon does not respect the ranking they have earned. And for this reason they get more complicated draws.”
Djokovic, 32, backed Nadal, revealing his “surprise” at the news his fellow sparring partner would be demoted – even for Federer.
Latest tennis news
He said: “Look, Roger is the greatest of all time, of course, he has won the most Wimbledon titles of any player in history. And if anyone deserves respect it’s him.
“But at the same time, it’s Nadal that he is taking over as the second seed. It’s surprising to be honest.”
The Serb began his grass-court season with a gentle 6-2 6-4 victory over Chilean Cristian Garin at The Boodles at Stoke Park.