The jury is out on Wimbledon’s controversial seeding system, after Rafael Nadal’s gripe about being bumped from No.2 to No.3 for Roger Federer.
Using a special criteria that factors in previous grass-court results, officials have promoted eight-times champion Federer from third in the rankings to second seed behind men's World No.1 and titleholder Novak Djokovic.
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Federer's elevation means he will be on the opposite side of the draw to Djokovic, who could well run into Nadal in a rematch of their epic five-set semi-final from last year.
Wimbledon is the only one of the four annual grand slams not to follow world rankings and Nadal, fresh off winning his 12th French Open crown, believes the controversial system is disrespectful.
"Whether I'm two or three (seed), I'll have to play my best. I will accept being three if they see it that way and I will fight to try and win my matches," said the Spanish great as he chases a third title on the famous London lawns.
"The thing that does not seem right to me about this story is that it is only Wimbledon that does it, only one tournament.
"It has not only happened to me, it has happened to other players. They do not respect the status that some players have earned throughout the season."
South African Kevin Anderson, runner-up to Djokovic last year after eliminating Federer in the quarter-finals, has been seeded fourth in 2019 despite being ranked eighth.
That means demotions for world No.5 Dominic Thiem, who was runner-up to Nadal at Roland Garros this month, as well as Alexander Zverev, Stefanos Tsitsipas and Kei Nishikori, who have also all been seeded one spot below their ranking.
Djokovic ‘surprised’ by Nadal’s demotion
The controversy has divided the tennis world, Djokovic saying he could understand Nadal's frustration.
"It's their rules and you have to respect it although it's a little bit surprising to be honest," the Serb told Reuters.
"Roger is the greatest of all time and has won the most Wimbledon titles of any player in history and if anyone deserves it, it's him.
"But at the same time it's Nadal that he is taking over (from as) the second seed so it's surprising to be honest."
A number of other pundits and former players have also spoken out.
Patrick McEnroe, Greg Rusedski and Darren Cahill are firmly in Nadal’s camp, while a number of journos pointed out that Nadal’s recent record at Wimbledon isn’t exactly worthy of a No.2 seed.
Nadal should be seeded No.2 at Wimbledon this year. You cannot have surface rankings.If we did Federer would be No.1 on grass ,Djokovic No.1 hard,Nadal no.1 Clay. Every surface is medium slow these days with the ball combination. You earn your ranking thru our the year!— Greg Rusedski (@GregRusedski1) June 26, 2019
The Wimbledon seeding formula came about when there was a clear distinction between clay court specialists & fast court tennis. Many clay courters even skipped the grass. That is not the case now. Players adapted, grass is slower and the game is played similar. I agree with this. https://t.co/hPh1qZkBAj— Darren Cahill (@darren_cahill) June 26, 2019
In 2018, world number two Federer was moved ahead world number one Nadal in Wimbledon seedings.— José Morgado (@josemorgado) June 26, 2019
Can’t remember people being so mad over this. Ever. https://t.co/6rCqduYpUT
why do people not understand that Wimbledon seeding is a MATHEMATICAL FORMULA?— Ricky Dimon (@Dimonator) June 26, 2019
It’s not a question if Nadal “should” or “shouldn’t” be #2. He IS #3.
That’s fine if you dislike the formula. But saying Nadal “should” be #2 when we’ve had this formula for YEARS is ridiculous.
#Wimbledon formula bumping Federer over Nadal is getting attention. Can't say I object to whatsoever.— Ben Rothenberg (@BenRothenberg) June 26, 2019
Nadal has only made one (1) grass court final in the last eight years, which was at ATP 250 Stuttgart in 2015. Federer has made thirteen (13) grass finals in that stretch.
LEADING SEEDINGS FOR WIMBLEDON:
1.Ashleigh Barty (AUS)
2.Naomi Osaka (JPN)
3.Karolina Pliskova (CZE)
4.Kiki Bertens (NED)
5.Angelique Kerber (GER)
6.Petra Kvitova (CZE)
7.Simona Halep (ROM)
8.Elina Svitolina (UKR)
1.Novak Djokovic (SRB)
2. Roger Federer (SUI)
3.Rafael Nadal (ESP)
4.Kevin Anderson (RSA)
5.Dominic Thiem (AUT)
6.Alexander Zverev (GER)
7.Stefanos Tsitsipas (GRE)
8.Kei Nishikori (JPN)