Friday, April 17, 2015

Roland Garros Seeding Projections

It's deja vu all over again. Just like in 2013, Rafael Nadal has had his ranking slip because of an injury and he is going to be seeded dangerously low at this year's Roland Garros, where he is five-time defending champion.

How low he will actually be seeded is still unknown though. The highest he can possibly be seeded is No. 4 which would not guarantee that he is on the opposite side of the draw as Novak Djokovic and the lowest he can possibly be seeded is about No. 10, which means he could run into Djokovic, Roger Federer, or Andy Murray as early as the quarterfinals.

Here is a list of how things stand now. This is the "Race to Roland Garros" Rankings. It's the same idea as Race to London, but applied to Roland Garros. The formula is simply the current 52-week ranking points total with the points from this week added. Then take away all the points they have to defend before Roland Garros seedings are released, which is following Rome.

Race to Roland Garros Rankings
1. Novak Djokovic 12,845
2. Roger Federer 8,525
3. Andy Murray 5,940
4. Tomas Berdych 4,690
5. Milos Raonic 4,620
6. Kei Nishikori 4,480
7. David Ferrer 4,130
8. Rafael Nadal 3,790
9. Stan Wawrinka 3,395
10. Marin Cilic 3,270
11. Grigor Dimitrov 2,625
12. Feliciano Lopez 2,235
13. Gilles Simon 2,120
14. Gael Monfils 2,110
15. Jo-Wilfried Tsonga 1,910
16. Kevin Anderson 1,870
17. Roberto Bautista Agut 1,840
18. David Goffin 1,750
19. Tommy Robredo 1,710
19. John Isner 1,710
21. Pablo Cuevas 1,582
22. Richard Gasquet 1,480
23. Ernests Gulbis 1,470
23. Ivo Karlovic 1,470
25. Philipp Kohlschreiber 1,445
26. Bernard Tomic 1,365
27. Lenardo Mayer 1,352
28. Adrian Mannarino 1,248
29. Guillermo Garcia-Lopez 1180
29. Fabio Fognini 1,180
31. Viktor Troicki 1,155
32. Nick Kyrgios 1,130
Jack Sock 1,102
Lukas Rosol 980
Martin Klizan 950
Jeremy Chardy 930
Santiago Giraldo 735

All that really matters for Nadal is if he is in the top four or not. It is extremely unlikely that either Wawrinka or Cilic will outplay Nadal over the course of the clay season leading up to Roland Garros by enough to surpass him. So the real question then is: can Nadal surpass Milos Raonic, Tomas Berdych, Kei Nishikori, and David Ferrer?

Nadal would have to outplay all four of them during the clay season by a significant amount to reach the No. 4 seed. Raonic will be one of the tougher ones to surpass, because he nearly holds a 1000-point advantage over the Spaniard. However, Raonic suffered a right foot injury in Monte Carlo, which could end up making him the easiest to surpass.

Mathematically, David Ferrer will be the easiest for Nadal to pass, but even that isn't a given. Ferrer remains in the draw in Barcelona affording him a great chance to extend his lead over Nadal.

Kei Nishikori is the next one Nadal must pass. Nishikori showed he is capable on clay with what he did in Madrid and Barcelona last year. The Japanese has been solid but not spectacular in 2015. He remains in the Barcelona draw and also has a great chance like Ferrer to extend his lead over Nadal. The worst case scenario for Nadal would be if Ferrer and Nishikori meet in the final.

Tomas Berdych poses the biggest threat to Nadal earning a top four seed. He has a 900-point lead over Nadal in the Race to Roland Garros Rankings and is on fire in 2015. Berdych reached the final in Monte Carlo, where he fell to Djokovic. Berdych has never been ranked in the top four in the world, but that is now a very real possibility when the rankings come out the Monday after Rome if not sooner.

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