Nadal right to be angry at Wimbledon seedings
The first day of Wimbledon. The exciting start of one of the most iconic sporting events of the year. Hundreds of players will feature on court today, which for some of them, will be the highlight of their careers.
One man who is use to playing on the grass of SW19 is Rafael Nadal. The Spaniard won the coveted Gentlemen’s Singles Trophy back in 2008, and again in 2010. However, even though he is yet to play his first match, it has not been the start Nadal would have wanted. Due to the shortness of the grass court season, Wimbledon seed the top players slightly different to other events, by including previous grass court performances to the players world ranking. This means that the world number two is seeded below Roger Federer, as the number 3 player. It is only a drop of one spot, no big deal right?
In may ways it doesn’t make much of a difference, if you’re going to be the champion of the tournament, you need to win all your matches anyway, plus Nadal and Federer, regardless of who is the second and third seed, would meet each other in the Semifinals anyway. In reality though, if the results go as planned, Nadal will face Shapovalov (29) in the 3rd Rnd, then Cilic (13) in the 4th, and Thiem (5) in the Quarters, before Federer in the Semis. Not an easy run at all, especially when you compare that to Federer, who will face Pouille (27) in the 3rd Rnd, then Berrettini (17) in the 4th, and Nishikori (8) in the Quarters. Obviously those are all good players, but Nadal will certainly have preferred the alternative route.
There may be another reason as to why Nadal is upset at his 3rd place seeding, which has nothing to do with who he is playing. Rafa Nadal is a superstitious person to put it mildly, so when we look back at how 3rd seed players have performed at Wimbledon, it is not good reading. In the last 15 years, the Mens Wimbledon title has been won by the 1st or 2nd seed, 12 times. The 3rd seed has only won it twice, Federer in 2012, then again in 2017, and in that year number 2 seed Novak Djokovic retired in the Quarter finals. Apart from in those 2 years, the 3rd seed has never even made it to the final, and has actually been knocked out in the 2nd Rnd 4 times, more than in any other major.
Nadal starts his Wimbledon journey tomorrow against Yuichi Sugita of Japan, and he will hope he will be able to repeat his performance at Roland Garros to claim his 19th Major title, only 1 behind Federer.