Below is my analysis of Nadal’s questionable draw. My hypothesis is that the draw was rigged by the organizers of the Australian Open to increase the chance of Nadal facing #17 Kyrgios (an Australian) in the semifinals, then Federer in the final. Federer, Del Potro, Djokovic and Wawrinka are all on the other side of the draw. All the currently active players who have won a grand slam are on Federer’s side of the draw, with the exception of Nadal and Cilic, who should meet in the Quarterfinals. However, Nadal is 5-1 against Cilic and that one loss came 9 years ago in 2009. Berdych, Fognini, Goffin, Querrey, Raonic, Thiem, Verdasco and Zverev are also on the opposite side of the draw from Nadal; this is notable because all of those players, with the exception of Zverev, have recent wins over Nadal. My point is that the draw is heavily in Nadal’s favor, to the point that one really has to wonder whether this is a rigged draw. Nadal has a clear path to the semifinals, where he will play Dimitrov/Rublev/Kyrgios/Shapovalov/Tsonga/Pouille/Sock. There doesn’t seem to be much of a possibility of him losing before the semis. Here are the scores from some of Nadal’s recent defeats on hardcourt, to players not named Roger Federer: 2017 ATP World Tour Finals: Goffin d. Nadal 6-7, 7-6, 6-4 2017 Canadian Open: Shapovalov d. Nadal 6-3, 4-6, 7-6 2017 Cincinnati Masters: Kyrgios d. Nadal 6-2, 7-5 2017 Acapulco Open: Querrey d. Nadal 6-3, 7-6 2017 Brisbane: Raonic d. Nadal 4-6, 6-3, 6-4 2016 Cincinnati: Coric d. Nadal 6-1, 6-2 2016 US Open: Pouille d. Nadal 6-1, 2-6, 6-4, 3-6, 7-6 2016 Rio Olympics: Del Potro d. Nadal 5-7, 6-4, 7-6 2016 Indian Wells: Djokovic d. Nadal 7-6, 6-2 2016 Australian Open: Verdasco d. Nadal. 7-6, 4-6, 3-6, 7-5, 6-2 2016 Doha: Djokovic d. Nadal 6-1, 6-2 2015 Paris Masters: Wawrinka d. Nadal 7-6, 7-6 2015 Shanghai: Tsonga d. Nadal 6-4, 0-6, 7-5 2015 Beijing: Djokovic d. Nadal 6-2, 6-2 2015 US Open: Fognini d. Nadal 3-6, 4-6, 6-4, 6-3, 6-4 2015 Miami Masters: Verdasco d. Nadal 6-4, 2-6, 6-3 2015 Australian Open Quarterfinal: Berdych d. Nadal 6-2, 6-0, 7-6 Nadal lost to Federer in all three of their hard court meetings in 2017. However, in the past two years (2016 and 2017 seasons) Nadal has also lost to current world #7 Goffin, #12 Del Potro, #13 Querrey, #14 Djokovic, #17 Kyrgios, #18 Pouille, #23 Raonic, #40 Verdasco, #47 Coric and #50 Shapovalov. Nadal also lost to current world #9 Wawrinka in the 2015 Paris Masters, #27 Fognini in the 3rd round of the 2015 US Open and #20 Tomas Berdych in the Quarterfinals of the 2015 Australian Open. Out of those thirteen players with recent hard court wins against Nadal, and all with current rankings well outside the top 4, only world #47 Coric is in Nadal's quarter of the draw. Nadal beat Coric by the score of 6-1, 6-2 when they met most recently just five months ago in Cincinnati in 2017. Nadal is very vulnerable on hard court and there are players throughout the top 50 that could take him out in the first week, if only they were seeded as potential opponents in his quarter of the draw! I really think the draw was intentionally rigged so that Nadal can face #17 Kyrgios (an Australian) in the semifinal, then Federer in the final. Those are the two blockbuster matches that the Australian Open organizers want to happen. How can it be coincidence that all the players, currently ranked outside the top 5, that pose a serious threat to Nadal on hard court, players like Del Potro, Djokovic, Wawrinka, Goffin, Querrey, Fognini, Raonic, Verdasco and Berdych, are all at a safe distance on the opposite side of the draw? Here are Nadal’s results at the Australian Open from the past six years: 2017 Australian Open Final: Federer d. Nadal 6-4, 3-6, 6-1, 3-6, 6-3 2016 Australian Open 1st Round: Verdasco d. Nadal. 7-6, 4-6, 3-6, 7-5, 6-2 2015 Australian Open Quarterfinal: Berdych d. Nadal 6-2, 6-0, 7-6 2014 Australian Open Final: Wawrinka d. Nadal 6-3, 6-2, 3-6, 6-3 2013 Australian Open: Nadal did not play in 2013 due to injury 2012 Australian Open Final: Djokovic d. Nadal. 5-7, 6-4, 6-2, 6-7, 7-5 Note that every single one of his former conquerors (Berdych, Djokovic, Federer, Verdasco, Wawrinka) at the Australian Open the past six years is on the other side of the draw. For Federer, this makes perfect sense; as the #2 seed, he’s supposed to be on the opposite side of the draw, as the #1 (Nadal) and #2 (Federer) seeds can’t meet until the final. However, Wawrinka (#9) Djokovic (#14), Berdych (#20) and Verdasco(#40) all have rankings outside the top 4, which means that any one of them (or two, or three) could have showed up in Nadal’s quarter. Perhaps it is just luck of the draw, but if so, that is some truly spectacular luck. I’m not buying it. I read in a separate thread that the draw was done by computer this year; it would have been very easy to "fix" the draw, so as to meet certain desired constraints, via computer. I think the organizers were dismayed by Nadal’s 1st round defeat to Verdasco in 2016 and decided to fix the draw so that they could have their big superstar of the game make it to the second week. In conclusion, my hypothesis is that the draw was rigged by the organizers. PART 2 (Updated on 1/19/18): Analysis of Draw with respect to Nadal's Losses at Hard Court Slams Here are Nadal’s losses at hard court majors (AO and US Open) to active players currently ranked/seeded outside the top 4: 2017 Australian Open: loss to current world #2 Federer 2016 Australian Open: Verdasco d. Nadal. 7-6, 4-6, 3-6, 7-5, 6-2 2015 Australian Open Quarterfinal: Berdych d. Nadal 6-2, 6-0, 7-6 2014 Australian Open Final: Wawrinka d. Nadal 6-3, 6-2, 3-6, 6-3 2013 Australian Open: did not play in 2013 due to injury 2012 Australian Open Final: Djokovic d. Nadal. 5-7, 6-4, 6-2, 6-7, 7-5 2011 Australian Open Final: Ferrer d. Nadal. 6-4, 6-2, 6-3 2010 Australian Open: loss to not currently active Andy Murray 2009 Australian Open: wins tournament (d. Federer) 2008 Australian Open Semi: Tsonga d. Nadal 6-2, 6-3, 6-2 2007 Australian Open: loss to not currently active Fernando Gonzalez 2006 Australian Open: did not play in 2006 due to injury 2005 Australian Open: loss to not currently active Lleyton Hewitt 2004 Australian Open: loss to not currently active Lleyton Hewitt 2017 US Open: wins tournament (d. Anderson) 2016 US Open: Pouille d. Nadal 6-1, 2-6, 6-4, 3-6, 7-6 2015 US Open: Fognini d. Nadal 3-6, 4-6, 6-4, 6-3, 6-4 2014 US Open: did not play in 2014 due to injury 2013 US Open: wins tournament (d. Djokovic) 2012 US Open: did not play in 2012 due to injury 2011 US Open: Djokovic d. Nadal 6-2, 6-4, 6-7, 6-1 2010 US Open: wins tournament (d. Djokovic) 2009 US Open semifinal: Del Potro d. Nadal 6-2, 6-2, 6-2 2008 US Open: loss to not currently active Andy Murray 2007 US Open 4th round: Ferrer d. Nadal 6-7, 6-4, 7-6, 6-2 2006 US Open Quarterfinals: Youzhny d. Nadal 6-3, 5-7, 7-6, 6-1 2005 US Open: loss to not currently active James Blake 2004 US Open: loss to not currently active Andy Roddick 2003 US Open: loss to not currently active Y El Aynaoui That’s 10 currently active players that Nadal has lost to in a hard court slam. Here are those players and their current seedings/rankings: Wawrinka (#9 seed), Del Potro (#12 seed), Djokovic (#14 seed), Tsonga (#15 seed), Pouille (#18 seed), Berdych (#19 seed), Fognini (#25 seed), Ferrer (#33 ranking), Verdasco (#40 ranking), Youzhny (#90 ranking). Now let’s look at which quarters of the draw these ten players landed in: #1 seed (Nadal) quarter of the draw: Youzhny (#90 ranking) #3 seed (Dimitrov) quarter of the draw: Tsonga (#15 seed), Pouille (#18 seed), Ferrer (#33 ranking) #4 seed (Zverev) quarter of the draw: Wawrinka (#9 seed), Djokovic (#14 seed), Verdasco (#40 ranking) #2 seed (Federer) quarter of the draw: Del Potro (#12 seed), Berdych (#19 seed), Fognini (#25 seed) So the result of the supposedly random draw, which was done on computer and took place behind closed doors, is that, out of 10 active players with rankings/seedings outside the top 4 and a win against Nadal in a hardcourt slam, only one landed in Nadal’s quarter of the draw: world #90 Mikhail Youzhny, who beat Nadal in the US Open 12 years ago, and whose last victory against Nadal came 10 years ago in 2008. This is either spectacular “luck” for Nadal, or this year’s AO draw was fixed, on computer and behind closed doors, in Nadal’s favor. I should be forgiven for coming to the logical conclusion that this year's Men's AO draw was blatantly rigged so that a superstar of the sport can make it to the second week of the tournament. I don't want to see tennis go the way of WWE wrestling, where the emphasis on superstars and storylines takes precedence over the purity of the sport. The question is: is this a random draw that somehow ended up looking totally rigged? Or a rigged draw that can still come across as seemingly random? I obviously don't know whether or not this year's AO draw was rigged, but neither do you; not one of us saw the draw being made. The draw should be demonstrably random, with a live broadcast of some impartial celebrity pulling names out of a hat. I don't like the fact that the AO draw takes place behind closed doors using a computer program that can be designed to meet certain constraints while still seeming quasi-random.