May 13, 2009 / 7:19 PM / 11 years ago

Tennis-Nadal proposes change as Djokovic slams "cruel" rankings

MADRID, May 13 (Reuters) - World number one Rafael Nadal suggested a two-year system would be a fairer way to decide men’s tennis rankings after his Serb rival Novak Djokovic said on Wednesday the current 12-month system was cruel.

Djokovic lost his number three ranking to Andy Murray despite landing a second title of the year in Belgrade at the weekend and reaching the last three Masters Series finals.

Nadal said he had talked to Djokovic about the issue and agreed the current system of defending points won a year ago needed changing.

“I think a ranking based on two years would be much better in terms of being relaxed and, from my point of view, would allow me to lengthen my career,” Nadal said after crushing Austria’s Juergen Melzer at the Madrid Open.

“It’s an important change.”

Players on the ATP tour have to defend the points they earned during the same week a year earlier, so the reigning champion at an event can only maintain his points tally, not improve it.

“Playing three Masters Series finals in a row and winning a 250 event (in Belgrade) is incredible success and even then you are dropping a spot down in the rankings,” Djokovic said at a news conference.

“That shows how cruel the ranking system is in this sport.”

“Federer or Nadal have been winning four or five grand slams in a row and they haven’t won a single point,” Djokovic added after beating Spain’s Oscar Hernandez in the second round.

“I think this is an issue we have to talk about.”

Editing by Kevin Fylan; To query or comment on this story email sportsfeedback@thomsonreuters.com

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