x Abu Dhabi, UAEMonday 24 July 2017

Tennis: Plant the seeds such as Nadal and Djokovic in their proper allotments

The four grand slams are allowed to seed as they choose and are not required to follow the world rankings, writes Ahmed Rizvi.

Rafael Nadal should have faced Novak Djokovic in the French Open final. Philippe Wojazer / Reuters
Rafael Nadal should have faced Novak Djokovic in the French Open final. Philippe Wojazer / Reuters

As Rafael Nadal cruised through his French Open final against compatriot David Ferrer on Sunday, former player Brad Gilbert wondered if organisers should have listened to popular sentiment and seeded Nadal higher.

"If they seeded Rafa No 2 like he should have been, we would be watching Djoker vs Rafa today?" he asked on Twitter.

Nadal was seeded No 3 and met the world No 1 and top-seeded Novak Djokovic a round earlier in an epic semi-final. The final, by comparison, was a damp squib.

Ferrer, of course, had earned his right to play the championship match, reaching the final without dropping a set.

But the two best players deserve to contest the final, not the last four. And given his performance at Roland Garros – just one loss in eight previous years - Nadal deserved to be seeded in the top two.

Explaining his reasons, Gilbert Ysern, the chief executive of the French Open, said the organisers would have been accused of "rigging". But the four grand slams are allowed to seed as they choose and are not required to follow the world rankings.

Wimbledon is the only major that takes advantage of that exemption, so it will be interesting to see where they seed Nadal this month.

Given his history on grass, defending champion Roger Federer, seeded second in France, will almost certainly keep that spot at the All England Championships.

Djokovic, then, will be hoping he does not get Nadal in the same half of the draw once again.

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