GRAND SLAM TENNIS ARCHIVE
GRAND SLAM TENNIS STATISTICS


OTHER STATISTICS PAGES

No. 1 DO THE TOP MALE PLAYERS HAVE EASIER MATCHES IN THE FIRST WEEK OF GRAND SLAMS THAN THEY DID IN THE PAST?

No. 2 HOW WELL DO HOME PLAYERS PERFORM IN THEIR GRAND SLAM EVENTS?

No. 3 WHAT WAS THE CHALLENGE ROUND?

No. 4 WHO LOST IN GRAND SLAM FINALS?

No. 5 WHAT ARE THE MEN'S SINGLES GRAND SLAM RECORDS?

No. 6 WHAT IS A TRIPLE BAGEL?

No. 7 WHAT ARE QUALIFIERS, LUCKY LOSERS AND WILD CARDS?

No. 8 WHO LOST IN GRAND SLAM SEMI FINALS?

No. 9 WHICH GREAT HAD THE BEST RECORD AGAINST OTHER GREATS?

No. 11 WHO WERE THE MOST AND LEAST DOMINANT CHAMPIONS?

No. 12 WHO WERE THE MOST SUCCESSFUL TENNIS FAMILIES?

No. 13 WHAT IS A DEFAULT?

No. 14 WHAT NATIONALITY ARE GRAND AND PRO SLAM CHAMPIONS?

No. 15 WHAT IS A RETIREMENT?

No. 16 WHO WERE THE MOST SUCCESSFUL CHAMPIONS ON EACH SURFACE?


In the tenth article of the series, the results on this website, displayed as statistics, answer the question:

WHAT IS SEEDING?

Seeding is a system of placing players in the draw to ensure that the highest ranked players play against each other in the latter stages of the event. Bill Tilden and Bill Johnston faced each other in the last 16 of the 1921 U. S. championships, much to everyone's dismay. This was the only occasion from 1919-25 when the two Bills did not contest the final. This led to a form of seeding being introduced. Wimbledon introduced a form of seeding in 1924. From 1927 Wimbledon and the U. S. introduced proper seeding. Wimbledon had eight seeded players. The U. S. split the seeding between U. S. seeds and foreign seeds, usually eight of each, though during World War 2 the number of foreign seeds reduced. The Australian and French seeded in the same way as Wimbledon. The number of seeds sometimes fluctuated. For instance, at the French in 1939 there were just three seeds (there had originally been four but one of the seeds pulled out before the tournament began). Sometimes there were twelve or sixteen seeds. The U. S. adopted the seeding system of the other Grand Slams in 1956. Before the open era, few outsiders won Grand Slam men's singles titles. The only champions seeded 9 or below were Don McNeill (unseeded winner of 1939 French when there were only three seeds), Marcel Bernard (13th seed at 1946 French), Jaroslav Drobny (11th seed at 1954 Wimbledon), Mal Anderson (unseeded at 1957 U. S.) and Fred Stolle (unseeded at 1966 U. S.)

When the open era arrived sixteen seeds became the norm, though there were still Australian men's singles events with eight or twelve seeds right up until 1977. At Wimbledon in 1996 Richard Krajicek became the 17th seed when one of the top 16 seeds pulled out before the tournament began and Krajicek's position in the draw was moved to a seeded position. Ironically Krajicek ended up winning the tournament, causing some confusion as to whether he was actually seeded or not (major sources now list Krajicek as having been seeded 17, not unseeded). It became common practice in Grand Slams over the next five years to have a seventeenth seed if one of the top 16 pulled out before the tournament began. Since Wimbledon 2001 there have been 32 seeds. If any seeds pull out before the tournament starts there are seeds lower than 32 that replace the seeds that have withdrawn. In Grand Slam mens singles events from 1982 until 2004 there were a lot of unseeded or lowly seeded champions. From the French in 2004 for more than a decade, the only time that a Grand Slam men's singles champion was not seeded in the top four was at the 2009 U. S. Open, when Juan Martin Del Potro won when he was seeded sixth. At the 2014 US Open both finalists were outside the top 8 seeds.


SEEDING POSITIONS OF OPEN ERA GRAND SLAM MEN'S SINGLES CHAMPIONS

The graphs below show the seeded position of the champion at the French, Wimbledon and U. S. Championships in the open era. Before 1983 the Australian did not contain top class international fields, so the seeded players were very different from the other three slams. The seeding positions of Australian champions in the open era are: Number one seed 18, two 13, three 4, four 5, five 1, six 2, eight 2, nine-sixteen 2, seventeen-thirty two 1, unseeded 1. Although the winners of the French from 1970-72 and Wimbledon from 1972-73 are shown in the graphs, the events contained depleted fields. The winner of the French in 1970 was seeded 7, in 1971 was seeded 1 and in 1972 was seeded 6. At Wimbledon 1972 the winner was seeded 1 and in 1973 the winner was the second seed.


Seeded position of all open era French championsSeeded position of all open era Wimbledon championsSeeded position of all open era U. S. champions

The French, Wimbledon and U. S. winners seeded 9-16 were Jim Courier (9th seed at 1991 French), Sergi Bruguera (10th seed at 1993 French), Carlos Moya (12th seed at 1998 French), Andre Agassi (13th seed at 1999 French), Michael Chang (15th seed at 1989 French), Pat Cash (11th seed at 1987 Wimbledon), Andre Agassi (12th seed at 1992 Wimbledon), John Newcombe (10th seed at 1973 U. S.), Pete Sampras (12th seed at 1990 U. S.), Pat Rafter (13th seed at 1997 U. S.) and Marin Cilic (14th seed at 2014 U. S.). The winners seeded 17+ were Albert Costa (20th seed at 2002 French), Richard Krajicek (17th seed at 1996 Wimbledon) and Pete Sampras (17th seed at the 2002 U. S.). The unseeded winners were Mats Wilander (1982 French), Gustavo Kuerten (1997 French), Gaston Gaudio (2004 French), Boris Becker (1985 Wimbledon), wild card Goran Ivanisevic (2001 Wimbledon) and Andre Agassi (1994 U. S.). At the Australian Yevgeny Kafelnikov won seeded 10 in 1999, Thomas Johansson won seeded 16 in 2002 and Mark Edmondson (in 1976) was the only unseeded winner. It is close between the top two seeds as to who won most open era Grand Slam titles with the top seed having the edge. Most male winners of Grand Slams are either seeded 1 or 2.


MOST TIMES SEEDED IN GRAND SLAM MEN'S SINGLES EVENTS (excluding seeds 17+)
10 or more seeded appearances are shown

Australian

Jack Crawford 17 (1927-1949)
Roger Federer 16 (2002-2017)
John Newcombe 14 (1962-1976)
Adrian Quist 13 (1933-1951)
Tony Roche 13 (1964-1978)
Ken Rosewall 13 (1952-1978)
Roy Emerson 12 (1958-1971)
Harry Hopman 12 (1928-1946)
Ivan Lendl 12 (1980-1994)
John Bromwich 11 (1937-1954)
Novak Djokovic 11 (2007-2017)
Stefan Edberg 11 (1984-1995)
Andy Roddick 11 (2002-2012)
John Alexander 10 (1970-1982)
Boris Becker 10 (1985-1997)
Rafael Nadal 10 (2007-2017)

French
Andre Agassi 14 (1988-2005)
Roger Federer 14 (2002-2015)
Rafael Nadal 13 (2005-2017)
Budge Patty 13 (1946-1959)
Ivan Lendl 12 (1980-1993)
Nicola Pietrangeli 12 (1957-1968)
Pete Sampras 12 (1991-2002)
Jimmy Connors 11 (1972-1989)
Pierre Darmon 11 (1957-1967)
Novak Djokovic 11 (2007-2017)
Roy Emerson 11 (1959-1969)
Jan Kodes 11 (1967-1977)
Guillermo Vilas 11 (1975-1986)
Michael Chang 10 (1989-1998)
Jaroslav Drobny 10 (1946-1959)
Stefan Edberg 10 (1985-1994)

Wimbledon
Jimmy Connors 17 (1973-1989)
Roger Federer 17 (2001-2017)
Ivan Lendl 13 (1980-1993)
Pete Sampras 13 (1990-2002)
Andre Agassi 12 (1991-2005)
Boris Becker 12 (1986-1997)
Stefan Edberg 12 (1985-1996)
Roy Emerson 12 (1959-1970)
John McEnroe 12 (1978-1991)
Novak Djokovic 11 (2007-2017)
Rafael Nadal 11 (2005-2017)
Bunny Austin 10 (1930-1939)
Jaroslav Drobny 10 (1947-1956)
Andy Roddick 10 (2002-2011)
Ken Rosewall 10 (1953-1975)
John Newcombe 10 (1965-1978)

U. S.
Jimmy Connors 18 (1972-1989)
Frank Parker 17 (1933-1949)
Andre Agassi 16 (1988-2005)
Roger Federer 16 (2001-2017)
Ivan Lendl 14 (1980-1993)
John McEnroe 14 (1978-1992)
Gardnar Mulloy 14 (1939-1954)
Arthur Ashe 13 (1964-1978)
Roy Emerson 12 (1959-1970)
Bill Talbert 12 (1942-1954)
Boris Becker 11 (1985-1995)
Rafael Nadal 11 (2005-2017)
Ken Rosewall 11 (1952-1974)
Pete Sampras 11 (1990-2001)
E. Vic Seixas 11 (1947-1957)
Sidney Wood 11 (1930-1944)
Novak Djokovic 10 (2007-2016)
Stefan Edberg 10 (1985-1994)
Vitas Gerulaitis 10 (1975-1984)
Goran Ivanisevic 10 (1990-2001)
Rod Laver 10 (1959-1975)
Guillermo Vilas 10 (1974-1983)

TOP 5 ALL GRAND SLAM SEEDING APPEARANCES
1. Roger Federer 63 (2001-2017)
2. Ivan Lendl 51 (1980-1994)
3. Andre Agassi 50 (1988-2005)
4. Jimmy Connors 48 (1972-1989)
5. Roy Emerson 47 (1958-1971)


The seeded players at the Australian before 1983 were very different from the other Grand Slams, so it is unsurprising that many home players were seeded many times. With the exception of Lendl's debut seeding appearance, all foreign players listed on the Australian list were seeded after 1982. As with any record of Grand Slam longevity, a certain Mr. Connors' name appears. He holds the record for most matches played and won at both Wimbledon and the U. S. and was also seeded most times at both events. Jack Crawford played in most Australian championships and was seeded most times. Andre Agassi was seeded most times at the French (Connors didn't play in the French for several years when at his peak). The most remarkable record for seeding is held by Ken Rosewall. Despite spending eleven of his best years in the pro ranks he was still seeded 10 or more times at the Australian, Wimbledon and the U. S. His span of seeding at the Australian was twenty six years! Rosewall was seeded at the U. S. in 1952 aged 17 and was seeded in every Grand Slam event he played from then until 1977 (when he was 42). In combined seeding at Grand Slams Roger Federer tops the list with most seeding appearances. Jimmy Connors would have topped the list if he'd played more at the Australian and the French. Connors was first seeded when he turned twenty and was seeded in every Grand Slam event he entered until after he had turned thirty seven.

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