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Beyond the Baseline

John McEnroe says Rafael Nadal should be No. 1 seed at French Open

Rafael Nadal Rafael Nadal has won seven French Open titles and lost one match at Roland Garros. (Claude Paris/AP)

John McEnroe doesn't think the French Open will adjust its seeding system to bump up seven-time champion Rafael Nadal. But he does believe  it's the fair thing to do, not just for Nadal but also for his primary competitors.

Nadal, ranked fifth, is racing to secure the No. 4 seed by the time the French Open sets its seeds on May 20 after the Rome Masters. He trails Novak Djokovic, Roger Federer, Andy Murray and David Ferrer, whose opening-match loss at the Barcelona Open on Wednesday improved Nadal's chances of overtaking the fellow Spaniard for No. 4 at Roland Garros. If Nadal isn't among the top-four seeds, he could face any of those four players in a potential quarterfinal.

“Let me put it to you this way: I guarantee you that none of those four guys, as great as they are, want to see him in the quarters,” McEnroe told Tennis.com. “Quite honestly, I would seed him number one. ... [I] think he deserves that. I think the other players deserve it.”

McEnroe said Djokovic is the only player who merits consideration to be seeded ahead of Nadal. Djokovic, who is seeking his first French Open title, defeated Nadal in Sunday's final of the Monte Carlo Masters.

I recently debated the issue of Nadal's French Open seeding with Ben Rothenberg of The New York Times. My take: The French tennis federation should not alter its system to boost Nadal's ranking.

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