John McEnroe has called on Wimbledon chiefs to take action and seed Serena Williams – at the expense of the 32nd seed.
McEnroe insisted that his compatriot – a 23-time Grand Slam champion – should be seeded somewhere between 1st and 10th in an ideal world, but, at worst, 16th.
Williams, who has only recently returned to the sport after giving birth to her first child Alexis Olympia, will use a protected ranking to enter the tournament but All England Club chiefs face a decision over whether to seed her or not.
The French Open decided against it and received waves of criticism, though many offered a defence that it would be unfair on the player who had worked all year to position herself as the 32nd seed only to be booted out and miss out on a spot.
But McEnroe doesnt think there would be one player that would complain and insisted that de-seeding seed No. 32 would make sense in this scenario.
Whats her name? McEnroe quipped. No offence. Youre talking about Serena Williams.
Our ratings on NBC, the day she played [against Kristyna Pliskova at the French Open last month], were 50% more than it was a year ago. Its like Tiger Woods when he came back. All of a sudden its top of the ratings.
Forget the fact that she has won 23 majors and what she brings to the table. You cant tell me – Im sorry, I apologise to the 32nd player in the world. Thats just the way it goes sometimes.
I just dont think its right to think that way. Thats me coming from a different viewpoint.
Wimbledon chiefs will make a decision on Tuesday after a gathering of the All England Club committee.
While seven-time Grand Slam champion McEnroe would feel for the 32nd seed, he believes its equally unfair for one of the other seeded players to be forced to play Williams – a seven time champion in these parts – in the opening stages of the tournament.
I dont think there would be one player that would complain, especially the top ones, if she was one of the top eight [seeds], McEnroe added.
Why in the world would they want to play her in the first, second or third round? Nor should they, in my opinion.
In normal circumstances, there would be no changes in seeding from the WTA rankings but the Wimbledon rulebook offers an exception where, in the opinion of the committee, a change is necessary to produce a balanced draw.
Slovakias Dominika Cibulkova occupies the 32nd seed spot and the former world No. 4 may well find herself dropping out.
In the mens draw, Tomas Berdych has been forced to withdraw from Wimbledon.
The Czech reached the semi-finals last year but announced he had to pull out on Sunday, having pulled out of his doubles match at Queens following a singles exit.
I am disappointed to inform you that I was forced to pull out of the Wimbledon championship which will start next week, he posted on Twitter.
I have been struggling with back pain for a couple of months now and have tried every possible treatment and medical solution in order to be able to keep on competing.
Unfortunately things have not gotten better and all my attempts to be ready and healthy for the grass season were not successful.
Out of respect to my fellow competitors and to the Wimbledon Championship I will not be able to compete in good shape and in good health and I had to take a tough decision and give my back the necessary rest and treatment for the next couple of weeks.