MONTE CARLO, April 21 (Reuters) - The French Open should consider protecting Rafael Nadal with a higher seeding to avoid a potential quarter-final clash with Novak Djokovic, according to Roland Garros committee member Guy Forget.
Nadal, the defending French Open champion, has slipped to fifth in the world rankings after missing seven months of competition with a knee injury, and could be drawn in the same section as world number one Djokovic at next month’s claycourt grand slam.
“Since we can see them meeting in the finals of the biggest events in the next weeks, it would be a shame to have them in a quarter-final in Roland Garros,” Forget told Reuters in Monte Carlo on Sunday, where Djokovic ended Nadal’s eight-year reign as champion with a 6-2, 7-6 victory.
“The rules state the grand slam events have the right to change the seeding regarding the situation of the players. Wimbledon have done that in the past,” Forget added.
“I would not find it illogical to change the seeds.”
Nadal trails world number four David Ferrer in the ATP standings, and has few chances to bridge the points gap before the French Open begins on May 26.
Nadal, who will seek an eighth crown in Paris, won in Barcelona and the Rome Masters Series last season, meaning he cannot accrue additional ranking points in those events over the coming weeks. He can secure only 910 points in Madrid, where he lost in the last 16 in 2012.
Reporting by Eric Salliot; Writing by Gregory Blachier; Editing by Stephen Wood