Roger Federer has welcomed the latest rule change which will see only the top 16 players in the ATP rankings being seeded for the four marquee events, compared to 32, the norm till date. He believes that it is a step in the right direction as it will make the earlier rounds of Grand Slams more attractive for both fans and players alike.
The rule, which will come into force in 2019, means the top four can face competition from a few big hitters in the early rounds, which is set to make the showpiece events of the year more interesting. On current rankings, Federer could be drawn against World number 22 Kei Nishikori in the first round, making the tournament more interesting right from the outset.
On the flip side, former world number 1 Andy Murray is currently sitting on 16th and should he fail to regain his form in 2018 and drop any further back in the table, he will have to face the top dogs in the early rounds, which will make it more difficult for him to progress into the later stages. The same fate awaits the likes of Milos Raonic and others who had a stuttered 2017 campaign through injuries.
Federer referred to how the draws will be more volatile and have big games in the opening rounds. Till now, the higher ranked players would meet later in the tournament which would make the earlier stages a bit disappointing for the audience.
"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," the 19-time Grand Slam champion said, as quoted by Tennis World USA..
"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. 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."