Thursday 22 February 2018

Nadal's Wimbledon seeding raises eyebrows

Rafael Nadal of Spain celebrates defeating Novak Djokovic of Serbia in their men's singles semi-final match during the French Open tennis tournament
Rafael Nadal of Spain celebrates defeating Novak Djokovic of Serbia in their men's singles semi-final match during the French Open tennis tournament

Wimbledon's clinical procedure for determining its men's seeds has been called into question as Rafael Nadal was afforded scant grace for his epic career record on grass or his world-leading seven titles this year.

Instead, Nadal found his seeding unmoved from his world ranking of fifth, arguably a false position caused by a seven-month injury lay-off from which he returned in February.

At number four in the seedings stands David Ferrer, a fellow Spaniard who has reached one Wimbledon quarter-final and never won a major.

Nadal has won the grass court Grand Slam twice, in 2008 and 2010, and been a runner-up in south-west London three times, and has made a mockery this year of suggestions his career could be on the wane following a knee injury.

Brad Gilbert, the former coach of Andy Murray and Andre Agassi, said Wimbledon's decision was a "100pc joke."

A mathematical formula was adopted by Wimbledon after liaison with the ATP tour in 2002 to determine seedings .

World ranking is the first factor taken into consideration, points gleaned from the grass court events played in the past 12 months another, and 75pc of the points collected in the previous year is the final criteria used to calculate seedings.

IRELAND'S hopes of avoiding relegation from Division 1 of the European Team Championships in Morton Stadium this weekend took a third hammer blow when Derval O'Rourke was ruled out with a chest infection, writes Cliona Foley.

O'Rourke had tweeted earlier this week about needing to visit her doctor, prompting fears she could withdraw and she joins two other marquee athletes – Fionnuala Britton and Mark English – on the sidelines as Ireland host the biggest international T&F event on these shores for years, with 12 countries involved and two to take the drop.

O'Rourke will be replaced by rising Limerick sprint hurdler Sarah Lavin (Emerald AC), who broke her Irish junior record this summer with a time of 13.45 seconds in Geneva, but her loss means Ireland will be represented by a particularly young and inexperienced side.

Ireland's hopes of qualifying for next year's World Cup hang by a thread after a 6-3 quarter-final loss to Belgium at the World League in Rotterdam, writes David Medcalf.

Ireland netted through Chris Cargo, John Jackson and Paul Gleghorne, but efforts from Thomas Briels, Loick Luypaert, Tom Boon, Irish captain Ronan Gormley's own goal, and Sebastien Dockier's brace settled the issue.

The result leaves Andrew Meredith's men scrapping for 5th-8th place in the eight-team tournament, with only the top five guaranteed a spot at the World Cup.

Irish Independent

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