The AELTC has released the seedings for the 2009 Championships. They follow the ranking almost exactly, except Maria Sharapova has been seeded #24 despite her current ranking of 59. There is no disputing Sharapova’s grass court prowess, having won the title in 2004 and made the Semifinals on other occasions, and the All England Club clearly wanted to reward her for her past success. Why then, was the same criteria not applied to other players?
Venus Williams has won the Wimbledon title 5 times, and Serena Williams has won it 2 times, and yet they were not elevated and are both seeded behind Dinara Safina, who has never been past the third round at Wimbledon in 6 attempts. And what of Amelie Mauresmo? She has nearly identical grass court credentials to Sharapova, having won the title herself in 2006, but her seeding was not elevated from #17.
Personally, I don’t think that rankings should be changed at all for seedings. Players earn a ranking over the course of 52 weeks, which should not be able to be changed on a whim. At the same time, if they are going to alter seedings, then they should apply the same criteria to all players. They should not pick and choose which players they want to reward. This will certainly be a major topic of contention as the Championships get underway this Monday.