Come shower or come sun, it’s one of the signs that the English summer is here — but Wimbledon would not be Wimbledon without strawberries, cream, all whites and the UNIQUE SEEDING SYSTEM.
Wimbledon starts in just a few days and all eyes were on the player seedings for this year’s event. The grass court major always works on a different pattern as compared to the other majors/grand slam events where the ATP rankings are directly incorporated to seed the players. The event takes into account the fact that grass as a surface is distinctive as compared with clay and hard courts and aims at making the major as unbiased as possible when it comes to draw.
The ATP rankings dictate the entry into the 3rd major of the year and used as a yardstick for qualifying as usual but the 32 seeds are decided by a proper mathematical formula created for Wimbledon. This unique has created some noteworthy changes for the top seeds in the recent years.
Last season, it was Wawrinka would was the biggest victim of the exclusive seeding system as Murray and Federer who were both ranked below him as per the official rankings leapfrogged the Swiss into the prized top 4 positions. In 2013, there was a huge uproar over Nadal’s seeding as he was seeded 5th with Ferrer seeded above him. This had annoyed the Spaniard’s fans and let everyone bemused and infuriated. He had made a strong comeback that season after being out for 7 months. The formula put forward the All England Club makes you realise that the seedings are more or less justified.
This year all eyes were on 2008 and 2010 champion Rafael Nadal seedings. The Spaniard is currently ranked 10th (first time since 2005) after failing to defend his title in Paris (lost to Djokovic in QF). Some expected last year’s Semi-Finalist Grigor Dimitrov to leapfrog Rafa in the seedings (he gained 720 points from making the SF last year + 250 points for winning Queens Club). He was a candidate overtake Nadal for the 10th seed although Rafa was always going to stay between 9 and 12 grouping. Exciting times are ahead as the whole tennis world is awaiting the draw to come out on Friday. Perhaps A NIGHTMARISH DRAW for the Mallorcan Matador awaits.
Poland’s Jerzy Janowicz is a fascinating case. Down at 47th in the ATP Rankings, he can count 75% of his 720 points from his 2013 SF finish. That is a 540 point boost which could have launched him into being seeded for the 2015 championships. However, taking into account his recent poor form, he has been dropped out of the top 32 seeding.
Nick Kyrgios shocked World No.1 Rafa last year in the 4R before bowing out in the QF. The brash Aussie is currently ranked 29th but is seeded at 26.
One major drawback of the seeding system is that only the men are seeded based on the above formula whereas the women are seeded based on the WTA rankings. This is a huge disadvantage for the women as their grass court record and performances at Wimbledon are not taken into account. This biased rule creates quite an imbalance and leaves plenty of room for debates and controversy.
The seeding system of the AELTC can therefore be termed far more transparent for the men as compared to the women. At this point the sport of tennis is making a huge attempt towards ensuring utmost commonality and parity for both its male and female contenders (equal prize money at majors), this ambiguous factor of the All England Club needs to be re-evaluated in the better interests of the sport.
All eyes will be on the DRAW this Friday!!
- A simplified form of seeding was introduced in 1924 when up to four representatives of a nation were drawn in the four different quarters of the draw.
- In 1927 full seeding was carried out and competitors were selected according to ability, irrespective of nationality.
- Seeding has been based on computer rankings since 1975.
- Since 1927 only two unseeded players have won the Gentlemen’s Singles – Boris Becker in 1985 and Goran Ivanisevic in 2001 (In 1985 there were only 16 seeds and Becker was ranked 20th; Ivanišević was ranked 125th when he won as a Wild Card entrant). In 1996, the title was won by Richard Krajicek, who was originally unseeded (ranked 17th, and only 16 players were seeded) but was promoted to a seeded position (still with the number 17) when Thomas Muster withdrew before the tournament.
- No unseeded player has won the Ladies’ Singles. No unseeded player has captured the Ladies’ Singles title; the lowest seeded female champion was Venus Williams, who won in 2007 as the 23rd seed; Williams was returning from an injury that had prevented her playing in previous tournaments, giving her a lower ranking than she would normally have had.
- Eleven unseeded players have reached the final of the Gentlemen’s Singles and four unseeded players have reached the final of the Ladies’ Singles. Mark Philippoussis was the last unseeded men’s finalist (2003; lost to Federer); Billie-Jean Moffitt was the last unseeded ladies’ finalist (1963; lost to Margaret Court-Smith).
- Today there are 32 seeds in Gentlemen’s and Ladies’ singles.