Thursday, 17 June 2010

Why that’s an outrage!



-- Roger Federer seeded #1 at Wimbledon.


Scandalous I know. Why anyone in their right mind would want to confer a #1 seeding on a guy that’s won 6 of the last 7 titles here and had a complete stranglehold on the #1 ranking during that time is beyond me.


Never underestimate the audacious logic espoused by Neanderthals in sufficiently high numbers.


By the amount of hot air this issue has generated you’d almost think that Fed had received a bye to the final.


For better or worse, Wimby has for many years now, chosen to distinguish itself through use of a seeding formula that rewards grass court prowess.


You can, indeed,  argue that seedings for a surface that exposes the utter uniformity of the majority of hard court players and the unique adaptive ability of a select few, should, in some way, reflect that distinction - a distinction I’d be prepared to extend to clay.


You can argue that Venus Williams ought to be seeded #1.


You can even argue that Nikolay Davydenko should be seeded outside of the top 50.


Of course you can choose to bin all of that, and argue, instead, that it’d be perfectly valid for Wimbledon to simply mirror the rankings the way the other Slams do.


And that’d be fine too.


Once you choose to go with the formula, however, continuing to argue in favour of your favourite player on the basis of a H2H begins to make you look petty, paltry and confused.


Verdict: There’s clutching at straws and there’s clutching at toothpicks. Not an outrage.


-- #342 ranked Brit, James Ward went out of the QFs of Eastbourne today


To reach that point he put out both Feli and Scheuttler. Back to back.


You’d think such an audacious feat on home turf would be enough to earn him a wildcard at Wimbledon.


The LTA’s top 250 cut off point (for affording WCs) and an illness at the end of last year that saw him drop out of that range (a position he’d previously held for 18 months) means you’d be wrong.


All of which has put us in the slightly laughable position of not having a single English player in the Wimbledon draw - a historical first, though hardly the kind of history to aspire for.


I understand the LTA are focused on “creating an environment where more British players aren't just in the first round because of a wild card, but on merit…”.


I also understand their position is a little “damned if you do damned if you don’t”.


How often, after all, have we seen them burnt at the stake for a spate of first round losses from “undeserving” Brits that were afforded WCs?


I don’t, however, understand the sheer lack of imagination that sees The-Powers-That-Be doggedly stick to “policy” and artificial cut off points at the expense of a fine BRITISH run of form.


What precise “metric” do you need to tell you that a Brit getting to, say, the third round of Wimbledon would represent a fine thing for British Tennis?


Verdict: Not simply an outrage. A scandal.


-- Thomas Muster. Comeback. 42. No really.


Verdict: Not an outrage. Simply outrageous. And yet I’m keen to see how this plays out.


-- SUI(24) d. ESP(2) 1-0



The equivalent of say Stan Wawrinka knocking out Rafael Nadal.


Verdict: Outrageous. On every imaginable level. And some unimaginable ones too. And yet I believe it would have played out rather differently on clay.

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