Timing is Almost Everything

Yesterday—all my columns seemed… Sorry, I got carried away there. Let me try again.


Yesterday, as tennis’ most major tourney, known as Wimbledon, started its 2013 play, I wrote a column about how the powers-that-be seeded the players incorrectly and compounded that with cluelessness in the way that they matched those seeds in the draw.


Yes, this felt like a burning issue at the time. What were you thinking about?


The crux of my argument—and perhaps this is only interesting to tennis fans (and a small percentage of them, at that—revolved around Spain’s Rafael Nadal and peripherally, around Roger Federer. In brief, Rafael Nadal was seeded #5, even though his relatively low ranking is mostly due to a seven-month layoff to recuperate from a kne injury. By all indications, he should have been seeded fourth or higher, as he has beaten the man awarded the four seed (compatriot David Ferrer) the last nine times in head-to-head play (including a thrashing just a few weeks ago in the finals of the French Open) and has made five Wimbledon finals to Ferrer’s zero. On paper, it’s not really close between them.  Are you still there?


Where does Federer come in? Federer is seeded number three, which is about right, behind the top seeds Novak Djokovic and Andy Murray. The second part of my rant was that even if one accepts that Nadal should have been seeded fifth (which was already a mistake), why would Federer be matched up with Nadal for a meeting in the quarterfinals—assuming that there would be no upsets? It makes no sense, as the quarters should be 1 v. 8; 4 v. 5; 3 v. 6 and 2 v. 7.  Are you with me? The seeds per each match-up in the quarters should add up to 9. In the round of 16, they should add up to 17.  That’s the premise with any kind of seeded tourney; think about March Madness, before upsets blow apart our brackets. Tennis, for some unknown reason, does things differently.


For two compelling reasons (at least to me, they were), there is no way that Nadal and Federer should have been slated to meet in the quarters. If they were to meet at all, a three and a four (or even a mis-seeded  five) should only meet in the final—assuming they could get past the 1 and 2 seeds. Hence, much as I wanted to see another chapter of this enduring rivalry, I wanted to see it in the finals. Only. Okay, I'd watch these two all-time greats play at almost any time, but it was unfair for them to have to meet this early in the draw.


Little would I know that my column would appear to get ripped apart a few hours later by a shocking result. Rafa would end up losing his first-round match in straight sets to a Belgian player named Steve Darcis. Who?! Exactly.


While the logic of all my points remain(ed) intact…I did add a short note at the bottom of the piece to acknowledge the results…the timing of it was somewhat unfortunate.


Of course, the great majority of the readers didn’t really comment on my points, anyway. They were too busy spouting off about their feelings (pro and con) toward Nadal. Interesting, if almost predictably silly and idiotic. Nuance and objectivity aren’t exactly hallmarks of the internet in 2013.


For a read of the piece (courtesy of Bleacher Report), you may check it out right here. Yeah, it’s just a little late, but still timely and perhaps equally crucial to the metaphysical puzzles of life.


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