Online tennis betting will look a little bit different in 2019, when the Australian Open, the French Open, the Wimbledon Championships, and the US Open go back to just 16 seeds. We don’t know about people who bet on tennis online, but living legend Roger Federer should certainly be pleased with the Grand Slam Board’s decision. “That’s how it used to be when I came up, way back when,” the Swiss Superman said. There’s definitely something intriguing about having 16 seeds. I do see the problem of the 32 seeds, plus you have eight seeds who get byes at Masters 1000 [events]. Guys like, Milos Raonic, among others, may be less ecstatic, though.
players who would be unseeded at the AO if the new rules (16 seeds) applied this year instead of next:
(Murray gets the last men's seed at No. 16)
— Ricky Dimon (@Dimonator) November 21, 2017
The move will mark the end of the 32-seed era, which started in 2001 as a means to protect clay-court specialists like Rafael Nadal who complained that the Wimbledon’s seeding committee tended to reserve the seeded spots for grass-court specialists like Federer. As a result, the top eight seeds were all but guaranteed what is almost a bye into the third round of tournaments, where they wouldn’t play anyone ranked higher than the world No. 25 to 32. And as a result of that, only three men not named Federer, Nadal, Andy Murray, or Novak Djokovic have won a Grand Slam since the 2005 Australian Open, making online tennis betting a tad too predictable. “You have these stairs that can make you feel safe and I feel like there’s too many to get to the top,” the Fed added.
“It’s hard to drop out and it’s hard to get into. Having 16 seeds? That might be interesting. The draw could be more volatile, [with] better matches in the first week. The top guys have made a habit of not cruising but getting through the first week quite comfortably for a long period of time. Playing against the Nos 17, 19 or 20 in the world is not something I really want to do, but it is what it is.” Other announcements made by the Grand Slam Board on Tuesday after two days of meetings in London last week include the following:
- A player who withdraws from a first-round match or “performs below professional standards” could be fined as much as the entire prize money due a loser in that round.
- A 25-second serve clock will be tested at the Australian Open in January, though not during main-draw matches.
- Players could be fined up to $20,000 for violating “strictly enforced” pre-match timing, which will allot them 60 seconds to meet at the net after walking on court, five minutes for warm-ups, and one minute to be ready for the beginning of play.
Seven players retired from the first round at Wimbledon this year, making officials wonder whether that was a disservice to fans. In addition to fining such players, the return to 16 seeds should also make the sport more competitive, since the World No. 1 could face No. 17 in the opening round, and thus an online betting upset suddenly becomes more feasible.