French Open CEO Gilbert Ysern ended speculation today that 7-time champion Rafael Nadal might have his seeding bumped up in Paris later this month by confirming that Spaniard would be seeded based on his ranking.
Guy Forget, who serves on the French Open committee, said last month that he supported an improvement to Rafa’s seeding to reflect his dominance at the event and to prevent him from meeting a rival in the quarters. Uncle Toni also wanted a change.
Ysern said the tournament looked into the merits but decided in the end against it and leave Rafa’s seeding in the hands of the ATP computer.
As it looks, Nadal, who never personally requested any adjustment, will enter the French Open at best a No. 4 seed but more likely a No. 5 seed or possibly lower, which could place him in the quarters against a Novak Djokovic.
All four Grand Slams are allowed to seed as they choose, but only Wimbledon, because of its specialized surface, takes advantage of the rule. The US Open tried it in 1996 but faced with rising player unrest the tournament quickly re-did the draw.
The French Open has never seeded on its own and wisdom suggests that if they did it now for Nadal they’d have to do it for other players in the future, a move that would prompt the creation of a clay rankings formula, akin to Wimbledon’s seeding formula. And that would be a weighty precedent.
The French Open begins three weeks from tomorrow.
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