(Corrects number of grand slams won by Nadal in para three)
LONDON, June 19 Rafa Nadal could face world number one Novak Djokovic, defending champion Roger Federer or home favourite Andy Murray as early as the Wimbledon quarter-finals after being announced as fifth seed for the tournament on Wednesday.
Djokovic was named number one, with Murray second and Federer third in seedings that followed the world rankings.
Spaniard Nadal, twice a winner at the All England Club and a 12-times grand slam champion, is working his way back up after a seven-month layoff due to a knee injury.
The Wimbledon seeding reflects Nadal's current ranking, with the Mallorcan behind fourth-ranked compatriot David Ferrer whom he beat to win an eighth French Open title this month.
John McEnroe, the retired three-times Wimbledon champion, said on Tuesday that it would be 'totally wrong' for Nadal to be seeded outside the top four for the tournament starting on Monday.
Wimbledon organisers can bump players up the seedings, higher than their rankings, to reflect their pedigree on grass.
However Ferrer reached the quarter-finals last year while Nadal lost in the second round.
"I know there will be a lot of interest in the draw this year as Rafael Nadal looks like being seeded fifth but as a player you can't get too obsessed about the draw," Murray had said in a column for the BBC website on Monday.
"I'd sign up to be in the quarter-finals against Rafa tomorrow if someone offered me that."
Serena Williams is the top seed in the women's draw, with Victoria Azarenka and Maria Sharapova second and third in accordance with the rankings.
The draw takes place on Friday. (Reporting by Alan Baldwin, editing by Clare Fallon)