Individual sports rankings have always been a confusing formula. No matter if it's golf, tennis or ping-pong, rankings put together an assortment of numbers and records to try and get the most accurate interpretation of the current state of that sport, the problem being that sometimes it can't see the forest from the trees.
That is the current case with the seedings of Wimbledon. Rafael Nadal, who on June 9 won his record eighth French Open title, his first Grand Slam victory since returning from a seven-month hiatus from the sport because of a knee injury, actually dropped in the ATP rankings following his Grand Slam win.
On May 27, Nadal was the fourth-ranked player in the world, and following his win, when the rankings came out on June 10, he had dropped to No. 5. I understand that rankings put together a cumulative list of records and wins and focus on the whole pie as opposed to the most recent slice, but if you are telling me your ranking system works after it drops a guy that just won a Grand Slam title down a peg, then you, my friend, aren't getting it.
Nadal is now ranked No. 5 in the world, getting jumped by fellow Spaniard David Ferrer, who Nadal handled quite easily in the French Open finals, and despite questions from tennis fans and experts alike, will be seeded No. 5 when Wimbledon kicks off next week.
Yes, that's right, Nadal, the hottest player in the world right now and a guy that is 43-2 this year after returning to the game, is not even one of the top-four seeds at the most famous tennis tournament in the world.
What does this mean?
Well, it first puts Nadal at an automatic disadvantage later in his rounds, forcing him to play Roger Federer, Andy Murray or Novak Djokovic in the quarterfinals, then drawing a formidable opponent in the semifinals only to most likely face one of those previous names in the finals on grass.
Nadal would most likely have to go through those guys anyway, but could you imagine having to slug out a five-set win over Djokovic only to come out two days later and get Ferrer, a man who is playing some great tennis right now, and then see Murray in the finals?
Nadal has won this event twice, making the finals in five of his last six starts at Wimbledon, yet his time away from the game because of injury is affecting his pole position, meaning he has to run through The Big Three well before one would expect.
It seems like a short-sighted way of ranking your players by Wimbledon, and will most likely ruin an incredible semifinals slate that could see the four names in men's tennis that we all want to see go against each other for the title King of the Grass.
The only good news for Nadal fans is the last time he got upset at a tournament for the scheduling, he went on to win the title. And as far as weird tennis rankings go, this isn't the first time we've run into something strange going on with the numbers.
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