Andy Murray’s Wimbledon seeding of fourth has once again made it impossible for tournament organisers to “cut through all the boring shit” and start at the semi finals.
With Novak Djokovic, Rafael Nadal and Roger Federer taking the first three seeded places, it was widely felt that if a suitable fourth seed could be found, the tournament might as well just begin at the last four. With no other tennis players capable of winning a match against the top three, this approach was hailed as a chance to “avoid hours of sweaty, fist-pumping inevitability”.
The Wimbledon seeding system means it is impossible for the top four seeds to meet any earlier than the semi finals. But when Murray was declared the man fourth most likely to win the tournament, whole swathes of players in his half of the draw suddenly saw their chance to lose in a semi final to Djokovic - meaning hundreds of unnecessary games will now be played.
The “straight to the semis” approach was first seen at Wimbledon in the golden era of Borg, McEnroe, Connors and Nastase, when countless rows of empty seats made it embarrassingly obvious that the crowds had no interest in watching the British number three lose in straight sets to a Columbian schoolboy on court 51.