21 Jun 2009

Nadal's absence from Wimbledon forces draw reshuffle

6:50 am on 21 June 2009

There will be no top men's seed at Wimbledon this year now that world tennis number one and defending champion Rafael Nadal has confirmed his withdrawal.

The Spaniard, who beat Roger Federer to win the title for the first time last year, has pulled out saying tendonitis means his knees could not survive the two week tournament.

Federer, the second seed, returns to competition after his debut French Open victory, which completed his set of Grand Slam trophies.

Nadal's withdrawal from Wimbledon has led to a major reshuffle in the men's draw.

His spot on the top of the draw has been taken by the Argentinian fifth seed, Juan Martin del Potro, whose first match will now be against the world number 49 Arnaud Clement of France.

Andy Murray, the British number one and third seed, had been drawn to meet Nadal in the semi-finals.

He is now the highest ranked player in the top half of the draw, as Federer is in the other half.

Nadal's absence also means Germany's Nicolas Kiefer is promoted to 33rd seed and Brazilian Thiago Alves has gained a place in the 128-strong draw.

Wimbledon starts next week.