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I've been screaming about this for years to anyone who'll listen: the seeding system used at pro tournaments is a joke. Here's apparently how the seeding committees do their jobs: "Let me see the latest rankings. Ok, we're done." Takes nothing into account like surface, past results at that tournament, recent results on any surface, etc. The idea behind seedings is to get the best matchups late in the tournament. So why seed David Ferrer according to his #4 ranking at, say, an event on carpet or grass (ignore reported recent changes to the grass used for a minute), when he's just not the fourth-best player in the world on those surfaces? Or why seed Andy Roddick number six at Roland Garros (if it started today) when he's made it past the second round once? At least Wimbledon attempts to do it right.

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nadal's seeding is justified - last 2 Wimbledon finals, queens title, playing well = #2 seed. my old buddy ferrer is again misplaced - he wont make it to the 2nd week. mario ancic will beat him in the 3rd rd if ferrer makes it that far! GOD, i hate Ferrer!! ;) lleyton should be higher than the jump they gave him to 20th. karlovic should be in the top 16. roddick's should've been fifth but no higher - playing ok but not well enough to eclipse the big 3 and that way he and davydenko wouldve fought it out in the quarters anyway. speaking of davy, bjorkman could give him a rough time in the 2nd rd. mardy fish could upset gasquet.
ok, ferrer just will not conform to my theories on him! (won ordina today)
This is an interesting argument but perhaps you're only looking at this from only one angle. The tournament organizers and directors have a BUNCH of other things to worry about besides all the factors that would go into a seeding formula. Remember, if they were to utilize your theory, the seedings would have to be changed WEEKLY and I don't know if there's enough time for that. Furthermore, they want to make sure above else, the players are comfortable and treated fairly throughout the duration of the event. Everyone knows that Federer draws crowds like Tiger Woods but if the tournament sucks and pisses off Federer, chances are Federer will not return to the tournament which would diminish attendence and most importantly, revenue. I worked at a local tournament during my teen years (the Hamlet Cup in LI, which would become the TD Waterhouse Cup) and they had great line-ups then. However, as the years went on, they got better players but the hospitality stunk and less elite players started to come until attendence dwindled down so much that the tournament doesn't exist anymore. Besides, standing by the rankings is the only fair way to seed players. Federer should be ranked #2 at Roland Garros? #1 in the world, #1 at GS tournament. You have to be fair across the board.
> organizers and directors have a BUNCH of other things to worry

i disagree. yes, they do, but calculating the seedings wouldnt take THAT long. maybe if the ATP created a formula that all tournaments could use, then you could just plug 'em in, run the formula, and voila! and it wouldnt be hard. look at how complicated any of the jeff sagarin sports rankings are that are used in various sports rankings, both official and unofficial - it wouldnt have to be nearly as bad as any of that.

> the seedings would have to be changed WEEKLY and I don't know if there's enough time for that

so what? sure there is.

> if the tournament sucks and pisses off Federer, chances are Federer will not return to the tournament

federer wont cry if he's seeded a lowly #2 at RG behind nadal after getting beaten 3 yrs in a row by him there. players reject events the following year because their appearance fees werent as good as another tournament's, not because they got seeded #7 instead of #5. do you know why seedings exist? to provide the best match-ups for fans. thats why they pit the #1 versus #16 or #15 in the round of 16 and 1-vs-8 in the quarters, etc because they want the best player there at the end. so why not help ensure that by awarding seedings based on performance at that event or on that surface?

> You have to be fair across the board.

no, you dont. thats the beauty and leverage we're allowed by a seeding system. i'll point to my standing in the bracket challenge. i spent a couple hours looking at the matchups and considered grass court history, wimbledon-specific history, mid-2008 performance, head-to-head matchups, injuries, and more. the same stuff i'd use in calculating seedings. and right now i'm #17 out of 409 and was #8 of 300+ for roland garros. YEAH!
Whoa there Mikiendo! Do yourself a favor before you blow a gasket. Grab an ice cold brewsky and take a couple good gulps......mmmmmmm! Now belch, count to ten and take a deep breath, let it all out, let it all out. Ok you gotta feel better already.

Now lets get on to next years seeding. Jie Zheng will be seeded (4) Sharapova (wc) and so on. Seeding is a REWARD for working hard throughout the the year, not a PREDICTION of who some joker on a seeding committee thinks will do well. There is a difference between odds making and seeding.

In my opinion, which by the way is the greatest in the world. A more legimate complaint can be made about the ranking system itself. New year everyone has 0 points! LETS GET IT ON!
> Do yourself a favor before you blow a gasket.

you're right. i do get worked up over this! i think i WILL have a beer!

> Jie Zheng will be seeded (4) Sharapova (wc) and so on.

you are a funny person.

> Seeding is a REWARD for working hard throughout the the year, not a PREDICTION

no. i just posted this to the above post too, but seedings were created to provide for the best matchups in later stages of a tournament. to further my point, two words: nikolay davydenko.

> New year everyone has 0 points!

they do. it's called the ATP Race.
you know what, don, you're also right: seeding is BOTH a reward and a prediction. case in point, boris becker at wimbledon 1987. he'd won the two previous years, had beaten #1 lendl in the '86 final, was ranked a solid #2, and was playing well. yes, he suffered the biggest upset in wimbledon history that year, but still, they obviously not only were rewarding him for past results, but they also expected him to fulfill the seeding and win a third time. anyway, my two cents...

i see that since no one's replied, that everyone agrees that i'm right. ;)
hey mike, i hear you! i do agree with you with one minor clarifiaction. I believe that the main reason for the seedings is to prevent 2 strong players meeting in the early rounds, thereby being fair to them AND making it exciting for the fans. So, the slams should take experience on that surface into account. Roddick and Blake should not be seeded high at roland garros, or maybe any other tournament from now on.... c'mon boys!
I just stumbled across this old NY Times article about the seeding uproar at the 1996 US Open:

Almost every popular player on the tour was crowded around a table yesterday, slicing into the United State Open seeding policy. At the same time, Agassi was swinging away on a practice court. He was noticeably absent when the players announced they were protesting the tournament that, on the surface, appeared to place the guy who makes the young girls swoon, the one who can pop out more television ratings than a ball machine, into a higher seeding than his computer ranking out of favoritism to him. So it seemed unlikely that Agassi would argue with the seedings, or stand with the rest of the players for a protest that was really centered on him.

''I think the bottom line is that there was a potential that Andre and I would play in the quarterfinals,'' top-seeded Pete Sampras said at the National Tennis Center, referring to the fact that Agassi, if seeded eighth as he is ranked, might have faced him before the final weekend. ''If that's the case, and the U.S.T.A. wanted to put us on opposite sides of the draw, I don't agree with that.''

And this was Agassi's friend talking. Others came forward to issue more unflattering remarks.

''Agassi is a guy where if you said it was red, he would say it was black,'' said Thomas Muster, who is ranked second, but seeded third. ''And that's the problem.''

Agassi was one of the winners of the Open seedings, but others who were in line to benefit still supported the player protest. Michael Stich was present and he was the one almost seeded 16th when Yevgeny Kafelnikov withdrew Saturday, upset with his No. 7 seeding. But after an hour meeting with the ATP, officials backed down and awarded the spot to Felix Mantilla, who was next in the computer ranking.

Wimbledon officials have always seeded at their whim -- a fact the players tend to address -- but the United States Open hadn't veered from the rankings to seed its players in more than a decade.

''The way the Open was seeded here, it's tampering with the ranking system,'' said Todd Martin, president of the players' counsel. ''It has tarnished the image and reputation of this tournament in the minds of the players.''

Most players, that is. What Agassi really thought was unclear, calling out, ''I can't talk about it right now,'' as he left for the day. But his coach, Brad Gilbert, dismissed the idea that favoritism guided the seedings.

''If there was favoritism, he would have been seeded second,'' Gilbert said. ''The only person who got jobbed was Yevgeny Kafelnikov, falling like he did in the seedings.''

And no matter how many players disagree with Gilbert, the U.S.T.A. was sticking by its system.

''When you make the seedings, it's how you think the players are going to finish,'' said Les Snyder, the tournament director. ''I promise that there was only the highest level of integrity behind what we did.''

Here's a link to the full story:


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