Rafael Nadal has his task cut out if he is to win Wimbledon for the third time. The two-time champion was seeded No. 10 for Wimbledon on Wednesday, his lowest seeding ever at the All England Club.
The seeding means Nadal could face top contenders as early as the fourth round, and one of the top four seeded players in the quarterfinals.
The All England Club stuck mainly to the rankings in its list of seedings for the grass-court Grand Slam, which starts Monday.Defending champion and top-ranked Novak Djokovic is seeded No. 1, with five-time winner and top-ranked Serena Williams No. 1 among the women.
Nadal, who won Wimbledon in 2008 and 2010, has slipped to 10th in the rankings after injuries and poor results.
The Spaniard lost in the first round of Queen's Club last week, after winning on grass in Stuttgart the previous week.
Nadal's previous lowest seeding at Wimbledon was No. 5 in 2013. Other than that, he's always been among the four, except when he was unseeded in his first appearance at Wimbledon in 2003.
Until 2002, the All England Club had its own seeding committee and used its discretion to seed players outside the rankings.
Since then, it has used a "surface-based system" in agreement with the ATP that reflects grass-court results, and doesn't veer much from the rankings.
Djokovic is followed in the men's seedings by seven-time champion Roger Federer, 2013 winner Andy Murray, French Open champion Stan Wawrinka, and Kei Nishikori. Rounding out the top 10 are Tomas Berdych, Milos Raonic, David Ferrer, Marin Cilic and Nadal.
In a minor change, Raonic and Ferrer switched places, with the Canadian moving up a spot to the No. 7 seeding and Ferrer dropping one to No. 8.
Despite his drop in form and low seeding, Nadal is still considered among the top group of title contenders, behind Djokovic, Murray and Federer.
There are also dangerous floaters outside the top 10, including No. 11 Grigor Dimitrov, No. 13 Jo-Wilfried Tsonga, No. 17 John Isner, No. 18 Gael Monfils, and No. 23 Ivo Karlovic
Wimbledon stuck strictly to the WTA rankings for the women's seedings.
Following Williams in the top 5 are defending champion Petra Kvitova, Simona Halep, Maria Sharapova, and Caroline Wozniacki.
The rest of the top 10 are Lucie Safarova, Ana Ivanovic, Ekaterina Makarova, Carla Suarez Navarro, and Angelique Kerber.
Last year's losing finalist, Eugenie Bouchard, is only at No. 12 after a season marked by early round losses.
The Wimbledon draw will be on Friday.