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John McEnroe says Rafael Nadal should be No. 1 seed at French Open

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Rafael Nadal

Rafael Nadal has won seven French Open titles and lost one match at Roland Garros. (Claude Paris/AP)

John McEnroe doesn’t think the French Open will adjust its seeding system to bump up seven-time champion Rafael Nadal. But he does believe  it’s the fair thing to do, not just for Nadal but also for his primary competitors.

Nadal, ranked fifth, is racing to secure the No. 4 seed by the time the French Open sets its seeds on May 20 after the Rome Masters. He trails Novak Djokovic, Roger Federer, Andy Murray and David Ferrer, whose opening-match loss at the Barcelona Open on Wednesday improved Nadal’s chances of overtaking the fellow Spaniard for No. 4 at Roland Garros. If Nadal isn’t among the top-four seeds, he could face any of those four players in a potential quarterfinal.

“Let me put it to you this way: I guarantee you that none of those four guys, as great as they are, want to see him in the quarters,” McEnroe told Tennis.com. “Quite honestly, I would seed him number one. … [I] think he deserves that. I think the other players deserve it.”

McEnroe said Djokovic is the only player who merits consideration to be seeded ahead of Nadal. Djokovic, who is seeking his first French Open title, defeated Nadal in Sunday’s final of the Monte Carlo Masters.

I recently debated the issue of Nadal’s French Open seeding with Ben Rothenberg of The New York Times. My take: The French tennis federation should not alter its system to boost Nadal’s ranking.

  • Published On Apr 24, 2013
  • 14 comments
    mymy
    mymy

    Paralysis by analysis!!!!!!!!!Djokovic will not even reach the finals of the French Open

    mymy
    mymy

    Paralysis by analysis!!Djokovic  will not even reach the french finals.

    LJRich
    LJRich

    Leave the seeding's alone; with any luck, Nadal will lose in the first round. I used to enjoy his play; now just a lot of repetitive motions that distract and annoy.

    maria_pashova
    maria_pashova

    You have  1-year ranking system for which the players are working very, very hard. And their ranking is their prize. They shouldn't favor players in such a way at all. If Nadal is number 5 so what. Big deal. If he is to be the champion this year he has to beat all the opponents on his way. End of story. By the way Wimbledon shouldn't do this either. The real champions don't need that kind of support. And also this adds some kind of unpredictability to the finalists which I enjoy very much (I don't want to watch the same players all the time, I want some kind of surprise). Actually in tennis the year ranking is very important because it shows who is the best for the season. And when someone is out because of injury that's just part of the game. 

    Emineau
    Emineau

    If you are the defending champion of a grand slam event you should be the number 1 seed period.

    GeorgeLovell
    GeorgeLovell

    I agree with McEnroe.  It's not as if it hasn't been done before.  Wimbledon has done this before in seeding players.  The guy has won this event 7 times and even if they're not willing to seed him #1 he should at least be ahead of Ferrer and Murray.... 

    shelley
    shelley

    No, David Ferrer's loss at Barcelona won't do much to improve Rafa's chances of getting to #4 because Ferrer has several 250 tournaments in his Non-Countable category that he can move up to replace his Barcelona points. At most he'll drop 50 points.  Meanwhile, Rafa is being punished for being injured and has two zero point penalties counting against him.  He has 150 points from Vena del Mar and 45 points from Halle that he can't count because of those penalties. Doesn't seem fair to me.

     

    rikj
    rikj

     @maria_pashova You are missing the point.  It makes it no harder or no easier for Nadal whether he is seeded 1 or 5.  It's not about the "prize" of your seeding.  It's that someone ranked in the top 4 will have to play against Nadal, the best clay court player in the world, in an earlier round instead of in the semis or the finals.  It's about the effect it has on the other players, not Nadal.

     

    He is the favorite to win the tournament.  To me, that means he is the "top seed", regardless of whatever silly ranking system you want to use.

     

    IdaAnnaTaylor
    IdaAnnaTaylor

     @Emineau

     Gee, Emineau, maybe you think majors should go back to the days when the defending champion only had to show up for the final??  I know it used to be that way at Wimbledon many moons ago.

    barjona
    barjona

    That's a ridiculous point, so you think Sharapova should be the #1 in the women's draw? How about Andy Murray being #1 at the US Open? That's a stupid rule designed only to fit this 1 particular situation.

    barjona
    barjona

    Wimbledon does it because typically people play 2 grass court tournaments per year, Wimbledon and a tune up, so if you're particularly good on grass it doesn't really affect your overall ranking. Wimbledon seedings will reflect how you've done there in the past- they don't just randomly throw people around. And why should he be ahead of Ferrer and Murray? They've both played more tournaments and acquired more points than Nadal, why should Ferrer have to play a higher seed in the quarters because Nadal's been hurt?

    GeorgeLovell
    GeorgeLovell

     @barjona Like you said...Wimbledon did it based on how you did there in the past.  Nadal is by far the most dominant clay court player of his time, if not ever.  Ferrer has never even made a major final.  And Murray's clay court record isn't worthy of being the second or third seed.  It's not going to happen but in my opinion it should.  I can understand keeping Djokovic and Federer 1-2 but Nadal should at least be #3

     

    IdaAnnaTaylor
    IdaAnnaTaylor

     @barjona  @GeorgeLovell

     You are absolutely right, Barjona. Wimbledon has a set calculation.  It is not subjective.  And it's done for a very good reason - a lack of grass tourneys throughout the year.  That is not the case for clay or for RG.  No way should they change Nadal's seeding.  It's match-fixing.

    barjona
    barjona

     @GeorgeLovell  @barjona There are plenty of points to be had during the clay court season, Nadal's prowess on clay is well reflected in the rankings. It's not Ferrer's fault that Nadal lost all his other points because he's hurt. It's Nadal's problem and he should have to deal with the consequences.