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Beyond the Baseline

Roger Federer says Rafael Nadal deserves higher seed at French Open

Roger Federer Roger Federer debuted a new kit in his first match since mid-March on Tuesday. (Andres Kudacki/AP)

The French Open won't be bumping Rafael Nadal's seed. Roger Federer doesn't necessarily agree with that, but he's happy the decision was set three weeks ahead of Roland Garros.

"We all know he would deserve it," said Federer, who beat Radek Stepanek 6-3, 6-3 to make the third round in Madrid on Tuesday. "I mean, he's been so successful there in the last eight, nine years that everybody knows that he deserves it."

Federer wins first match since March in new kit

The French Open announced last week that it would not reseed Nadal, who is currently ranked fifth, even though he has won the tournament seven times in the last eight years. Reseeding Nadal into the top two or four would have allowed him to avoid a meeting against Novak Djokovic, Federer or Andy Murray in the quarterfinals.

"Is it really going to make a huge difference if he's five or one?" Federer said. "Not a whole lot, I don't think, at the end of the tournament. If I were to play him in the quarters or in the semis or any other player, it's not the finals yet. So the best is going to win. Rafa obviously has a great chance because of the great player he is on clay."

Nadal can still earn a top four seed depending on his (and David Ferrer's) results over the next two weeks, in Madrid and Rome. Nadal could pass Ferrer for the No. 4 spot in the rankings, but he cannot reach the top three.

"I'm happy that they took a decision regardless of which one was the right one, just to go with something," Federer said. "Now there is peace and quiet around it again."

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