Rafael Nadal was named fifth seed for Wimbledon yesterday, leaving his major title rivals to ponder meeting the 2008 and 2010 champion as early as the quarter-finals.
Nadal, the holder of 12 Grand Slam titles, and fresh from his record-breaking eighth French Open triumph in Paris, was seeded behind compatriot David Ferrer who takes the fourth seeding.
Novak Djokovic, Andy Murray and Roger Federer take the top three places. Wimbledon uses recent grasscourt performances as well as the world rankings to seed players and Nadal was not promoted after he suffered a stunning second-round defeat to Lukas Rosol at the tournament in 2012.
Ferrer, meanwhile, was a quarter-finalist last year, having already claimed the title at the s’Hertogenbosch grasscourt event in the run-up to London.
As a consequence, Nadal could face 2011 champion Djokovic, seven-time winner Federer or Murray, bidding to become Britain’s first men’s champion since Fred Perry in 1936, in the last-eight.
“I’d sign up to be in the quarter-finals against Rafa if someone offered me that,” Murray told the BBC. “You could say if I get through that match, then the semi-final might not be as tough but if you want to win the biggest tournaments you have to beat the best players in the world.
“It doesn’t really matter where they are in the draw.” In the women’s singles, World No 1 Serena Williams, the five-time champion, takes top seeding, followed by Victoria Azarenka, the Australian Open champion.
The top 10 seeds
> Men: Novak Djokovic (1), Andy Murray (2), Roger Federer (3),
David Ferrer (4), Rafael Nadal (5), Jo-Wilfried Tsonga (6), Tomas Berdych (7), Juan del Potro (8), Richard Gasquet (9), Marin Cilic (10)
> Women: Serena Williams (1), Victoria Azarenka (2), Maria Sharapova (3), Agnieszka Radwanska (4), Sara Errani (5), Li Na (6), Angelique Kerber (7), Petra Kvitova (8), Caroline Wozniacki (9), Maria Kirilenko (10)