Tennis-Weighted seeding at Grand Slams would create chaos, says Swiatek

  • Tennis
  • Friday, 24 May 2024

FILE PHOTO: Tennis - French Open - Roland Garros, Paris, France - June 10, 2023 Poland's Iga Swiatek in action during her final match against Czech Republic's Karolina Muchova REUTERS/Clodagh Kilcoyne/File Photo

(Reuters) -The return of a seeding formula at Grand Slams would create a huge mess in the draw, world number one Iga Swiatek said after record 14-times French Open champion Rafa Nadal was handed a tough first-round draw in the tournament.

Nadal has plummeted down the rankings during an extended spell on the sidelines and, unseeded for the French Open, will face fourth seed Alexander Zverev in his opening match.

In previous years, some Grand Slams employed a seeding formula based on past results, and there had been calls for Nadal to be included among the seeds at Roland Garros.

Until 2020, Wimbledon was the only one of the four Grand Slams that did not stick to the ATP and WTA rankings, opting to also factor in a player's past performances on grass.

Asked about the possibility of tournaments returning to that system, Swiatek told reporters: "No, I think it would create a huge mess in the draws.

"In the women's draw you have so many past Grand Slam champions that it would be -- you know, one of them would be seeded, one of them not because they won Wimbledon and not Roland Garros or they won Australian Open, not Roland Garros.

"I don't think it's a good idea. It's better to keep it that way, especially because you get seeded because of your past results. By 'past' I mean few months before. So it actually is showing your place in the rankings."

Her views were echoed by former world number one Andy Murray.

"I think it's fair," Murray said. "The Wimbledon thing was different because lots of players would arrive there having played no matches on the grass.

"Look, the way the draw worked out is bad luck for Rafa but the way the seedings work is appropriate."

Three-times winner Swiatek returns to the French Open as a firm favourite, with the Pole enjoying a 12-match winning streak during which she lifted trophies in Madrid and Rome.

She also won the Qatar Open and Indian Wells, with her form this year reminiscent of her dominance in the first half of 2022, when she won 37 matches and clinched five straight WTA titles.

The 22-year-old, who plays a qualifier in the first round of the French Open, said she was more proud of her current level.

"Two years ago it was all new for me, and I think I won so many matches also because nobody really expected it," she said.

"Now it's different. Now they are prepared, and I felt like I keep having a target on my back, because I'm No. 1.

"In 2022 it was a start for me, winning these big titles, but now I have proven that I can do this year by year."

(Reporting by Aadi Nair in Bengaluru, editing by Ed Osmond)

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