The Wimbledon Championships for 2020 were unfortunately dropped on April 1 due to the coronavirus pandemic, yet there are still a lot of things occurring around SW19.
Nearby updates on the prize cash circulation for 2020, the All England Lawn Tennis Club likewise declared they were rejecting the grass seeding equation for the Gentleman’s Singles in 2021.
Since 2002, Wimbledon has calculated the 32 seeds using the following formula:
ATP Entry System Position points + 100% points earned for all grass court tournaments in the past 12 months + 75% points earned for the best grass-court tournament in the 12 months before that.
The ‘bonus’ points were added to the regular ATP points from other tournaments to arrive at a revised total point tally. Before that, the tournament used a seeding committee.
So Why The Change for 2021?
The seeding formula first came to use due to the differences between clay and grass. With players historically falling into the category of ‘surface specialist’, having a different rule for grass (either by committee or a formula) was clearly a sensible move.
For example, in 1996, Thomas Muster would have the #1 seed at Wimbledon given his form on clay. Yet in his previous four Wimbledon’s he had not been able to get out of the first round.
However, given an increasing homogenization of the surfaces and a change of playing style due to strings, the execs at Wimbledon have decided that the formula is no longer required.
Is it the right move? There’s long been the argument that Wimbledon should respect the standard rankings as players have earned the right to be seeded according to their performances on all surfaces during the year.
However, I quite like the uniqueness of a seeding formula for grass, but overall I don’t think it matters a whole lot. All the change does is remove a talking point that divided opinion, and we know that having the wrong opinion on anything in 2021 isn’t very desirable.
But were any serious contenders ever left out if you seed 32? Not really, in a worst-case scenario, they were a couple of spots out from where they’d have sat without any seeding adjustment.