# "Weak Draws" (and the like) - What's Your Solution?

#### RaulRamirez

##### Hall of Fame
I'm seeing all these threads - and replies - built around the idea of "weak draws".
Most of these have been directed against Nadal .
There also seems to be a line of thinking that the powers-that-be have somehow conspired against Federer - arguably, the most popular player ever on the ATP (trying to wrap my head around that one).

So, how do you propose draws be set up? I'm envisioning a positive, solutions-oriented thread. Here are some specific questions to guide your answers. Some may elicit obvious responses.
You can either answer the questions or just propose a sound solution - if you think it's a problem currently.

1. Do you agree that players should be seeded based upon ranking?
2. If players are seeded based on ranking - how many seeds should there be -- 16, 32, even more than 32 (possibly 64)...less than 16?
3. Do you subscribe to the theory (used in all sports I can think of) that if you've earned a higher seed, than you should face an easier draw (on paper, anyway)?
4. Do you want a completely random draw, where anyone can draw anyone (so you can, in theory, get 1 v. 2 in the first round!)?
5. Do you like the range of seeds that are done currently, or would you want it seeded mathematically with no randomness?
6. Any other aspects to consider?

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#### Im(moral) Winner

##### G.O.A.T.
Solution: When RAFA gets a weak draw the organizers just need to switch places with another seed in the same group (1-4, 5-8, 9-12 etc.) so that he'll get a proper one.

#### RaulRamirez

##### Hall of Fame
Solution: When RAFA gets a weak draw the organizers just need to switch places with another seed in the same group (1-4, 5-8, 9-12 etc.) so that he'll get a proper one.
I hope you're being sarcastic here, but seriously....

#### mike danny

##### Talk Tennis Guru
Honestly, Nadal getting weak draws should make Nadal fans stop spouting the weak era nonsense. It's only fair.

#### RaulRamirez

##### Hall of Fame
Honestly, Nadal getting weak draws should make Nadal fans stop spouting the weak era nonsense. It's only fair.
Mike, you're better than to engage in this "tit-for-tat" silliness.
Even if you believe in this tiresome trope, what would be your solution?

#### mike danny

##### Talk Tennis Guru
Mike, you're better than to engage in this "tit-for-tat" silliness.
Even if you believe in this tiresome trope, what would be your solution?
I don't think there's any solution really. You can only play who is in front of you.

#### tennis_pro

##### Bionic Poster
My solution is better players.

#### Tennis_Hands

##### Talk Tennis Guru
I'm seeing all these threads - and replies - built around the idea of "weak draws".
Most of these have been directed against Nadal .
There also seems to be a line of thinking that the powers-that-be have somehow conspired against Federer - arguably, the most popular player ever on the ATP (trying to wrap my head around that one).

So, how do you propose draws be set up? I'm envisioning a positive, solutions-oriented thread. Here are some specific questions to guide your answers. Some may elicit obvious responses.
You can either answer the questions or just propose a sound solution - if you think it's a problem currently.

1. Do you agree that players should be seeded based upon ranking?
2. If players are seeded based on ranking - how many seeds should there be -- 16, 32, even more than 32 (possibly 64)...less than 16?

3. Do you subscribe to the theory (used in all sports I can think of) that if you've earned a higher seed, than you should face an easier draw (on paper, anyway)?
3. Do you want a completely random draw, where anyone can draw anyone (so you can, in theory, get 1 v. 2 in the first round!)?
4. Do you like the range of seeds that are done currently, or would you want it seeded mathematically with no randomness?
5. Any other aspects to consider?

Apologies for the inconsistent use of bold print, due to system issues.

1. #1 and #2 definitely
2. Seeding dependent on the difference in ranking points> every player that has unsubstantial difference in point to the last seeded player can be seeded
3.1 No
3.2 Depending on what completely random means
4. I don't think that the choices given have the same purpose. What is your suggestion about the mathematical seeding?
5. Yes

#### RaulRamirez

##### Hall of Fame
My own answers to my Qs:

1. Yes, players should be seeded according to their rankings (here and there, exceptions can be made for special cases).
2. I think 32 seeds work. To me, it's always about fairness. Rankings are fluid, and there are rewards for earning a higher ranking.
3. Yes - fairly obviously.
4. Absolutely not.
5. I think the fairest way is to seed mathematically from the R of 32 on. I don't care for range of seeds, or even 1 v. 3 and 2 v. 4 in the semis. Why?
6. No. Upsets are a part of all sports, and have nothing to do with "weak draws" and other BS. It is impractical to re-so the draw mid-tourney.

#### RaulRamirez

##### Hall of Fame

1. #1 and #2 definitely
2. Seeding dependent on the difference in ranking points> every player that has unsubstantial difference in point to the last seeded player can be seeded
3.1 No
3.2 Depending on what completely random means
4. I don't think that the choices given have the same purpose. What is your suggestion about the mathematical seeding?
5. Yes

Sorry about the two Number 3s - since been edited.
I'm not exactly sure what you are proposing, but I really don't want randomness beyond the first two rounds.
My answers/opinions are right below your first reply. While others have argued against this, I see nothing wrong with knowing that 1 will (on paper, if no upsets) play 32, 16, 8, 4 and 2. #2 will play 31, 15, 7, 3 and 1 ....and so on. It may be boring, but rankings are fluid between "slams".
Unlike some sports where you can re-bracket between rounds (as in the NFL, where #1 plays the remaining lowest (worst) seed), there are way too many moving parts to do this in tennis. So, of course, I don't reject the randomness of upsets, and often embrace them.

#### Tennis_Hands

##### Talk Tennis Guru
Sorry about the two Number 3s - since been edited.
I'm not exactly sure what you are proposing, but I really don't want randomness beyond the first two rounds.
My answers/opinions are right below your first reply. While others have argued against this, I see nothing wrong with knowing that 1 will (on paper, if no upsets) play 32, 16, 8, 4 and 2. #2 will play 31, 15, 7, 3 and 1 ....and so on. It may be boring, but rankings are fluid between "slams".
Unlike some sports where you can re-bracket between rounds (as in the NFL, where #1 plays the remaining lowest (worst) seed), there are way too many moving parts to do this in tennis. So, of course, I don't reject the randomness of upsets, and often embrace them.
Effectively, seeding based on ranking is beneficial to players who already got their award in the form of money and trophies.

I would keep the seeding of the first two players, as a form of honouring their top effort, and to keep the possibility of the two most deserving players to meet in the finals, should they DESERVE that with their games in the tournament.

I am proposing that a points buffer for the purpose of seeding is created, thus eliminating the chance of two players being too close to one another to have vastly different oppportunities at the drawing.

For example, let's say that the buffer is 400 points.

If the difference between #2 and #3 is 350 points, the third ranked player will be also seeded, and could randomly draw one of the top 2 seeds.

If the number 4 is again at less than 400 points (or the buffer can be different for every other level) from #3, he will also be seeded. However, if he is at 600 points, he and all other players behind him will be randomly drawn.

The purpose is to eliminate differences between ranked players that are too small to seriously influence their fates in the tournament, and at the same time to acknowledge their work on the tour, as mostly the players behind the top dogs don't really win that many titles or money.

In other words> the harder you work, the better your chances are to be seeded, but if you are substandard compared to the top dogs, you will still get punished by being put in a random draw.

#### TripleATeam

##### Legend
Effectively, seeding based on ranking is beneficial to players who already got their award in the form of money and trophies.

I would keep the seeding of the first two players, as a form of honouring their top effort, and to keep the possibility of the two most deserving players to meet in the finals, should they DESERVE that with their games in the tournament.

I am proposing that a points buffer for the purpose of seeding is created, thus eliminating the chance of two players being too close to one another to have vastly different oppportunities at the drawing.

For example, let's say that the buffer is 400 points.

If the difference between #2 and #3 is 350 points, the third ranked player will be also seeded, and could randomly draw one of the top 2 seeds.

If the number 4 is again at less than 400 points (or the buffer can be different for every other level) from #3, he will also be seeded. However, if he is at 600 points, he and all other players behind him will be randomly drawn.

The purpose is to eliminate differences between ranked players that are too small to seriously influence their fates in the tournament, and at the same time to acknowledge their work on the tour, as mostly the players behind the top dogs don't really win that many titles or money.

In other words> the harder you work, the better your chances are to be seeded, but if you are substandard compared to the top dogs, you will still get punished by being put in a random draw.

So if #1 and #2 have 10000+ points, and #3 has 6000, there will be no seeding for #3.

The problem with your system is the fact that ranking points are bunched up at the top. The top 10 has many more ranking points than anyone else, and the differences between rankings is much more significant in the top 10.

The difference between our current #1 and #2 is as many points as the #13 has. Between the #2 and #3 it's as many points as #19 has. This likely means you either get only 2 seeds (or sometimes 3) or literally everyone will be seeded.

#### OldschoolKIaus

##### Hall of Fame
They should give Rafa a easy draw everytime he plays at AO!

It was hilarious how his fans went bat **** crazy about beating easy opponents and got all like "DOUBLE CAREER SLAM INCOMING!"

And then the final happend.

#### RaulRamirez

##### Hall of Fame
They should give Rafa a easy draw everytime he plays at AO!

It was hilarious how his fans went bat **** crazy about beating easy opponents and got all like "DOUBLE CAREER SLAM INCOMING!"

And then the final happend.
Do you have anything constructive to write? I'd rather not have this LCD infighting on a thread I started.

#### RaulRamirez

##### Hall of Fame
So if #1 and #2 have 10000+ points, and #3 has 6000, there will be no seeding for #3.

The problem with your system is the fact that ranking points are bunched up at the top. The top 10 has many more ranking points than anyone else, and the differences between rankings is much more significant in the top 10.

The difference between our current #1 and #2 is as many points as the #13 has. Between the #2 and #3 it's as many points as #19 has. This likely means you either get only 2 seeds (or sometimes 3) or literally everyone will be seeded.
I'll let TH reply to his proposal, but I'm curious if you'd make any changes to the status quo.

#### Tennis_Hands

##### Talk Tennis Guru
So if #1 and #2 have 10000+ points, and #3 has 6000, there will be no seeding for #3.

The problem with your system is the fact that ranking points are bunched up at the top. The top 10 has many more ranking points than anyone else, and the differences between rankings is much more significant in the top 10.

The difference between our current #1 and #2 is as many points as the #13 has. Between the #2 and #3 it's as many points as #19 has. This likely means you either get only 2 seeds (or sometimes 3) or literally everyone will be seeded.
If the top two are SO much better than the #3, and everyone behind, then these other players just don't deserve to be honoured the same way those two top players are!

That is not a problem, but a strength.

The system means to eliminate the special acknowledgment that the seeding represents, if the player doesn't have the results to add to the quality of the tour.

IMO, players that play on a lower level, but are constant are not an asset to the tour that should be awarded with a seeding.

Exception in some form can be made for injured players, but that is a technical rather than conceptual problem, if such correction is deemed necessary.

#### TripleATeam

##### Legend
If the top two are SO much better than the #3, and everyone behind, then these other players just don't deserve to be honoured the same way those two top players are!

That is not a problem, but a strength.

The system means to eliminate the special acknowledgment that the seeding represents, if the player doesn't have the results to add to the quality of the tour.

IMO, players that play on a lower level, but are constant are not an asset to the tour that should be awarded with a seeding.

Exception in some form can be made for injured players, but that is a technical rather than conceptual problem, if such correction is deemed necessary.

But the problem arises when there's a contingent of strong opponents, but the #1 and #2 are just so much better than the rest. You know how sometimes people call it the Big 3 + 1 because Murray is so much better than everyone else, but many still don't think Murray is on the level of the rest of them? Imagine that same circumstance in the rankings.

Ranks 3-10 can easily destroy everyone else, but not #1 or #2. Why should numbers 3-10 not get seedings? Why is it fair for someone that can destroy 99% of the tour to lose in early rounds (and lose out on plenty of cash) just because they drew another top 10 player in the second round?

Why should a seeding be awarded to only those that have a 10+% chance at a title? Seedings are supposed to make people make it to the round with the players "of that rank." I.e. If someone wants to prove they are a top 8 player, they must make the quarterfinals, because then they'll be in the top 8 of the tournament. Seedings aren't about providing easy draws to specific people so that they win the whole tournament, but trying to make the tournament more fair for everyone.

#### TripleATeam

##### Legend
I'll let TH reply to his proposal, but I'm curious if you'd make any changes to the status quo.
1. Do you agree that players should be seeded based upon ranking?
Yes, or another arbitrary system, as long as it rewards achievement. Wimbledon, for instance, has its own order for seeds, but the top 32 players in the world are still the seeds.​
2. If players are seeded based on ranking - how many seeds should there be -- 16, 32, even more than 32 (possibly 64)...less than 16?
32 definitely. Making 64 would not be beneficial. At that point, you aren't balancing for much more than random chance. Players ranked 33-64 aren't much different than others in the top 100, most of the time, as they typically have a couple far runs and they earn this new ranking. And with the number of upsets that keep happening in the R1, you can see that the top 33-64 don't really earn a seed. If I saw those ranked above 64 always beat those ranked less, then maybe. But I'd have to see data first.​
As for 16 seeds, that allows for certain dangerous players to physically tax a top player, possibly leading to an untimely loss. I wouldn't go for it.​
3. Do you subscribe to the theory (used in all sports I can think of) that if you've earned a higher seed, than you should face an easier draw (on paper, anyway)?
Not quite. It's complicated, but I believe that if they've done well enough to get there, there shouldn't be any added benefit to being #1. However, if someone needs to have it easier, it should be the highest seed, as I'd rather a new #1 need to be a little better to earn the #1 than be a little worse than the current top rank. Ideally, though, everyone has an equally difficult draw.​
4. Do you want a completely random draw, where anyone can draw anyone (so you can, in theory, get 1 v. 2 in the first round!)?
No. Seeds exist to promote fairness. A top player deserves to be in the later rounds of the tournament. Ideally, if you knew a "tennis number" for every player, and the one with the higher number would always win, then you could create a perfect bracket, where every match is as even as possible, but every player loses in the round they deserve to. (1 and 2 in finals, 3 and 4 in semis, 5-8 in quarters...) A #1 vs #2 in the 1st round could be fun in theory, but then the finals wouldn't be as good, and if the winner of that lost sometime during the tournament, it would be seen as unfair.​
5. Do you like the range of seeds that are done currently, or would you want it seeded mathematically with no randomness?
To stop talk of the weak draw, I'd consider a pre-built draw. Everyone knows which seed everyone else is and who they'll meet if the seedings persist. However, then it becomes a game of draw manipulation instead (Verdasco drops to 28 to meet Cecchinato in the R32 instead of Medvedev.) I think the range of seeds is just fine the way it is.​
6. Any other aspects to consider?
Probably, but I can't think of any right now.​

#### BGod

##### Legend
Fed may be popular but ATP learned from F1 the luster falls off if one man wins everything for too long.

The way to solve weak draws is pretty simply. Just copy team sports and seed accordingly from 1-32 and have a ball draw live figuring out 1st Round matchups

#### Tennis_Hands

##### Talk Tennis Guru
But the problem arises when there's a contingent of strong opponents, but the #1 and #2 are just so much better than the rest. You know how sometimes people call it the Big 3 + 1 because Murray is so much better than everyone else, but many still don't think Murray is on the level of the rest of them? Imagine that same circumstance in the rankings.

Ranks 3-10 can easily destroy everyone else, but not #1 or #2. Why should numbers 3-10 not get seedings? Why is it fair for someone that can destroy 99% of the tour to lose in early rounds (and lose out on plenty of cash) just because they drew another top 10 player in the second round?

Why should a seeding be awarded to only those that have a 10+% chance at a title? Seedings are supposed to make people make it to the round with the players "of that rank." I.e. If someone wants to prove they are a top 8 player, they must make the quarterfinals, because then they'll be in the top 8 of the tournament. Seedings aren't about providing easy draws to specific people so that they win the whole tournament, but trying to make the tournament more fair for everyone.
Murray is considered together with the big 3, because he was at one or another point part of those big 3 (or even 2), so he would get his fair share of seedings in that situation.

If ranks #3/10 could "easily destroy" the rest of the tour that means that they would get the relevant amount of points to keep them "afloat" and not lag far behind the top 2. The truth is that there never was a "solid" top ten, so such concerns are purely academical. It is "fair", because they are not on the level of the top 2 players either, so giving them the same privilege as the top 2 inflates their chances beyond their level. It is a self-supporting corrupt circle> earn the top 10 spot and be guaranteed that you will receive automatically better chances at keeping it further, without actually delivering top results.

I decidedly disagree that the structure of the tournaments should be such that it should lead to guarantees for the seeds to make it to players with similar rank. Basically you are saying that privileges should fuel privileges. I don't see how keeping easier opponents for the higher-seeded accomplishes conditions "more fair to everyone".

#### TripleATeam

##### Legend
Murray is considered together with the big 3, because he was at one or another point part of those big 3 (or even 2), so he would get his fair share of seedings in that situation.

If ranks #3/10 could "easily destroy" the rest of the tour that means that they would get the relevant amount of points to keep them "afloat" and not lag far behind the top 2. The truth is that there never was a "solid" top ten, so such concerns are purely academical. It is "fair", because they are not on the level of the top 2 players either, so giving them the same privilege as the top 2 inflates their chances beyond their level. It is a self-supporting corrupt circle> earn the top 10 spot and be guaranteed that you will receive automatically better chances at keeping it further, without actually delivering top results.

I decidedly disagree that the structure of the tournaments should be such that it should lead to guarantees for the seeds to make it to players with similar rank. Basically you are saying that privileges should fuel privileges. I don't see how keeping easier opponents for the higher-seeded accomplishes conditions "more fair to everyone".

Simple. If #5 and #8 draw each other early, then in the place where #8 would be in the quarters, we have a lesser player.

There's a simple solution to what you want. Just make it so the 500s and 1000s only have 4 seeds. Then each of them has a quarter of the draw to get through and it's almost a free-for-all. Whomever then becomes the top 10 did in on merit, and they deserve seedings in the slams- where it matters most.

However, I will always believe a tournament needs at least 4 seeds, because a quarter of the draw is a large amount to get through, and the #2 drawing the #4 player in the third round wouldn't be fun for anyone, as it deprives the people of a nice semifinal.

#### Tennis_Hands

##### Talk Tennis Guru
Simple. If #5 and #8 draw each other early, then in the place where #8 would be in the quarters, we have a lesser player.

There's a simple solution to what you want. Just make it so the 500s and 1000s only have 4 seeds. Then each of them has a quarter of the draw to get through and it's almost a free-for-all. Whomever then becomes the top 10 did in on merit, and they deserve seedings in the slams- where it matters most.

However, I will always believe a tournament needs at least 4 seeds, because a quarter of the draw is a large amount to get through, and the #2 drawing the #4 player in the third round wouldn't be fun for anyone, as it deprives the people of a nice semifinal.
Is there a streak of the #5-8 ranked players to the QFs of Majors that I am not aware of?

Because if what you say is true, there should be.

The truth is that the level of the said players is not a guarantee that there will be at least one top 8 player in every quarter (of a Major), and for a good reason> their level is never enough to guarantee them that, so inevitably the situation is exactly the same as when you draw two top 8 before the QF and somewhere a quarter has a player outside of the top 8.

Also, like I said, I am not opposed to having more than top 2 seeds> I just said that they should deserve it not simply by being ten points better than the next guy, but by being reasonably close in results than the guy who earned his seeding by playing higher level of tennis.

#### TripleATeam

##### Legend
Is there a streak of the #5-8 ranked players to the QFs of Majors that I am not aware of?

Because if what you say is true, there should be.

The truth is that the level of the said players is not a guarantee that there will be at least one top 8 player in every quarter (of a Major), and for a good reason> their level is never enough to guarantee them that, so inevitably the situation is exactly the same as when you draw two top 8 before the QF and somewhere a quarter has a player outside of the top 8.

Also, like I said, I am not opposed to having more than top 2 seeds> I just said that they should deserve it not simply by being ten points better than the next guy, but by being reasonably close in results than the guy who earned his seeding by playing higher level of tennis.

But then what's the arbitrary number, and what do you do in the case that #1 has 400 more points than #2 who has 400 more points than #3 and so on? The #1 almost always has a sizeable buffer compared to the #2 who has a sizeable buffer compared to the #3. It's just how the numbers work mathematically, even if their results are very similar.

#### Tennis_Hands

##### Talk Tennis Guru
But then what's the arbitrary number, and what do you do in the case that #1 has 400 more points than #2 who has 400 more points than #3 and so on? The #1 almost always has a sizeable buffer compared to the #2 who has a sizeable buffer compared to the #3. It's just how the numbers work mathematically, even if their results are very similar.
Like I said, the #1 and #2 would receive automatically their seeded positions as a recognition for their quality, so the difference between #1 and #2 wouldn't matter.

The buffer then can be decided on on any number of criteria, but I would favour that it is based either on a fixed number of points representing a significant achievement (for example the difference between #2 and #3 2000 points (equal to Major winner's points), between #3 and # 4 1000 points (M1000 title) etc etc, or some sort of statistical representation of the same differences for say the previous 5 years. Effectively that would mean that #1 wouldn't even matter as far as starting points are concerned, and even that the bigger his lead over #2, the greater the chance for the positions after #2 to get to a seeding.