Wimbledon Drops Grass Court Seeding Formula For 2021

The AELTC announced that the grass specific seeding formula in use since 2002 is no longer required.

The Wimbledon Championships for 2020 were sadly cancelled on April 1 due to the coronavirus pandemic, but there are still plenty of things happening around SW19.

Alongside news of the prize money distribution for 2020, the All England Lawn Tennis Club also announced they were scrapping the grass seeding formula for the Gentleman's Singles in 2021.

The statement reads as follows:

Since last year’s Championships, we have also taken the time to give consideration to the evolution of the sport and the mechanisms of allocating seeding for The Championships. Given the quality of competition, entertainment and modern grass courts, following detailed discussion with the player groups, the AELTC has decided that the grass court seeding formula used since 2002 has served its time, and from The Championships 2021 seeding for the Gentlemen’s singles draw will be based solely on ranking. There will be no change to the method of seeding for the Ladies’ singles draw. The AELTC Announcement

The Wimbledon Seeding Formula Explained

Fed Cilic Wimbledon Quarters 2016

Since 2002, Wimbledon has calculated the 32 seeds using the following formula:

ATP Entry System Position points + 100% points earned for all grass court tournaments in the past 12 months + 75% points earned for the best grass-court tournament in the 12 months before that.

The ‘bonus' points were added to the regular ATP points from other tournaments to arrive at a revised total point tally. Before that, the tournament used a seeding committee.

So Why The Change for 2021?

Alex Poem Wimbledon 2016

The seeding formula first came to use due to the differences between clay and grass. With players historically falling into the category of ‘surface specialist', having a different rule for grass (either by committee or a formula) was clearly a sensible move. 

For example, in 1996, Thomas Muster would have the #1 seed at Wimbledon given his form on clay. Yet in his previous four Wimbledon's he had not been able to get out of the first round.

However, given an increasing homogenisation of the surfaces and a change of playing style due to strings, the execs at Wimbledon have decided that the formula is no longer required.

Is it the right move? There's long been the argument that Wimbledon should respect the standard rankings as players have earned the right to be seeded according to their performances on all surfaces during the year.

However, I quite like the uniqueness of a seeding formula for grass, but overall I don't think it matters a whole lot. All the change does is remove a talking point that divided opinion, and we know that having the wrong opinion on anything in 2021 isn't very desirable.

But were any serious contenders ever left out if you seed 32? Not really, in a worst-case scenario, they were a couple of spots out from where they'd have sat without any seeding adjustment.

What do you guys think? Does this move make a difference? Should they have kept it?


Huge fan of Roger Federer. I watch all his matches from Grand Slam level right down to ATP 250. When I'm not watching or writing about tennis I play regularly myself and have a keen interest in tactics, equipment and technicalties of the sport.

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    1. Like you said, given the homogenization of the surfaces it makes almost no difference using a formula instead of the rankings. What I find hilarious is that some people are saying they are doing this because Roger will retire and needs help to keep his records. They are just dumb! The formula was put in place before Roger won his first Wimbledon!


  1. Does it mean Roger will be screwed for next year, though, if you can’t use your protected ranking to get a seeding? (I’ve never been quite sure how that worked – seemed there was no point in top players protecting a ranking at all?)

    1. Idk know but didnt the AO announce Murray would bizarrely be seeded 3 for 2020 because of protected ranking?

    1. Same here. Wish that S & V would become mainstream again. So much fun to watch. Much better than these baseline grinders who are becoming more and more common.

  2. Just confirmation from the AELTC that Wimbledon is no longer as special as it once was. As another person said, why not speed up the court, lower the bounce and “make Wimbledon great again”?

    1. You mean, make it play like an actual *grass* court? What a strange idea 😉
      It’s been interesting watching the trips down memory lane over the past few weeks instead of “proper” Wimbledon. Among the TV commentators’ comments I recall was something along the lines that when Roger beat Sampras in 2001 he was serving and volleying something like 90% of the time, but a couple of years later (maybe when he won the title?) that percentage was down to something nearer 10% (I may not be absolutely accurate on the figures, but it was certainly a very significant difference. They also showed a comparison of Federer’s serve on the old grass and on the new surface, which confirmed that the ball skidded through much lower and faster prior to the change of grass.

  3. I will miss the discussions around it but can see it’s no longer value. Grass is slow and higher bouncing and racquet and string tech enable most non grass players to cope better. Grass favours heavy servers and always will. Querrey, Muller, Isner, Anderson, Berdych etc hv all performed better here than anywhere else. No surprise.
    In the scheme of things it’s prob the least important thing in tennis right now.

    Interestingly we are developing hybrid grass courts at our club weaving in a tiny % of artificial grass at baseline level to stop wear and tear. Remains to be seen if it plays any faster which it cld given the nature of Astro.
    Will let you know! 😁

  4. Has there ever been a special seeding formula for clay tournaments? I’m asking this out of sheer ignorance on the subject.

    1. I believe the French Open is also entitled to adjust its seedings accordingly – I don’t think it’s ever done so, though.

  5. It’s funny that they make this decision after the very last Wimbledon showed that one of their more controversial seedings by their unique system was exonerated in spades when Federer – after losing to Nadal on clay – beat him solidly on the grass at WB 19.

  6. Hey guys, what’s up? What’s new? Sorry that I keep appearing & disappearing now and then, but as you all may know…. No Roger… No Tennis… No Tennislife…. actually…. No life at all 🙂

    I asked my manager for a week off in the first week of the Olympic Games. You know to see Roger win the gold one (the one Agassi is so proud of), but…. look what Corona did…

    Stay safe all, stay healthy and stay believing in the Goat 🙂 25 GS coming up 🙂

  7. Hey Jon, how are you? How is Boris? How is your country? Sorry to hear about all the new cases.
    But… funny you did a post about a GS that didn’t happen last year 🙂 🙂 🙂

  8. Hey Sweet Dolores, how are you? I hope your health is very well. Please don’t take chances in this time. And sorry that you live in Trumpland. That guy will be the end of…

    But I just wanted to wish you very happy next 10 days as a 94 year old person. 🙂
    You know what happens on 27th July right? 🙂
    Stay healthy and stay safe and please take care of yourself.
    95 coming up very soon 🙂 Are you already counting down??

    1. Katyani, dear one,
      Just to hear from you reading your humorous comments is a real treat to all of us on Jonathan’s Page. Yes, Katyani, July 27, will be my 95. birthday, good Lord willin’. Thank you so kindly for remembering. My utmost wish is for our Roger to win another GS. We are both Leos and we ROAR…..We all miss Tennis, we all miss Roger, the Greatest…..need to say no more.
      Will come back on July 27th, Katyani.

  9. Good news seem on the way – Luth tells training is on and playing comes on mid august – I wouldn’t think of tour already then, no? But still – our man is on roar – soon 😊

      1. Lüthi to Swiss press: ““He has resumed physical training with Pierre Paganini. The next step will be mid-August, he’ll start practising again.”

  10. No. Cincinnati is planned to be played in New York, together with USO. No other tournaments around – maybe some invitation tournament in Switzerland?
    Bu I think, it’s rather about fitness training just started and and starting hitting planned after 2-3 weeks. It’s routine after longer pause or in pre-season. Nobody starts with hitting after longer pause. Would you?

    1. Haha Sue, I hope that someone made that happen for Dolores.
      And I also hope that someone has asked Roger if he has been living under a rock all this time…
      why isn’t he wearing a mask??? Come on Roger…. protect yourself !!!

  11. Hey Very Very Very Sweet Dolores, Happy 95th Birthday 🙂
    You are a very nice and sweet woman and a wonderful FedFan. But you are not the oldest fan, I think in Mexico or something there was a fan of Roger who was 100 years old. So… you still have a lot of years to go 🙂

    May you live an exciting, happy and above all a very healthy life. May all your dreams come true… ESPECIALLY those about Roger 🙂 Have a fabulous birthday celebration and party today… even with Corona….
    Has it already been 5 years since Ru-an’s site?? I remember congratulating you there on 90 and Ru-an specifically congratulated you in his next post… (I miss Veronica).
    Oh My God… you have been through it all… you have seen it all… 95 years old… I cannot even imagine…. My God, you were born in 1925…. in 1925…. You really have lived through it all.

    Now… you HAVE to go for 100 years old, but ofcourse with a good health. Roger needs you and so do we 🙂
    All the love, respect and good health. Take care Sweet Dolores. 95….. wow 🙂

    1. Well Katyani,
      A few of us remember Ruan. And yes, I remember Veronica. I think he had a crush on her. As we all know, he became an abusive bully to anyone who would dare to disagree. And anyway, he went to the dark side.
      Don’t worry, I’m sure Roger is being careful.
      Dimitrov is having a hard time recovering. I wonder who will show up at the USO? That is the question of the day.

      1. Thanks for nice comments from Dolores, Katyani, Sue and others. Getting very hungry for tennis news. But still maybe no or very few news are good news at the moment.

      2. I think, many will. Not Nadal, but most others from the top just preparing on hard. The only real problem seems to be potential quarantines when coming back from US. But I think, it’s quite easy to resolve by ATP/WTA, because everyone coming back from USO, will not really come from the US, but from the USO closed camp. And if necessary, they will get exemptions, like Halep did for Palermo. It’s something easy for tournament’s managements plus ATP/WTA, because they all must be handled as workers, not as tourists. Covid-regime is not nice, but GS is still GS, some millions and 2000 ranking points is still worth the effort at the same risk, you have, during daily shopping in your own location

      3. Hey Sue, thanks for your comment. Actually the very last time I was on Ru-an’s site, was to wish Dolores a happy 90th birthday. At that time I used to leave a comment on Jon’s site and then copy paste it also on Ru-an’s site because… well… they were both Roger Federer Fan sites 🙂
        I also used to do it the other way around. But to be honest the last few months I didn’t like where Ru-an’s site was heading too. It was too much Djoko and if there is one truth in my life then that is that I don’t like Djoko AT ALL, I dislike him (not hate him) and I don’t think he deserves the GS and titles he got with using gamesmenships. Ru-an and I used to disagree about that 🙂 But it was his site and I was happy for him that he found Djoko. Unfortunately there wasn’t much for me there to comment on as I was not a Djoko fan. I hope Ru-an is happy with all Djoko’s accomplishments and yes… I do miss Veronica and I hope she comes here.

        Hoping Dolores had a nice day 🙂

        Sue, just like here in Holland it is also not obligated in Suisse to wear a mask all the time (only in public transport), but that doesn’t mean you don’t have to do it.
        Roger needs to be careful, but also for his parents and that of Mirka. They are older and are in the risico group. You never know. Look at Grigor…. I soooooo hope Roger is careful and wears a mask…

      4. Oh and isn’t USO for the one who… just shows up??
        Maybe this time Isner or some other American will win it. If so, then I will root for Sam Querry 🙂
        Do you know that if Rafa decides to play it, he will win USO and RG and… just like that overtake Roger??
        What happens when Djoko plays it and wins??
        I think both will play USO no matter what they say… they will not let an opportunity like this go.

        Serena is playing USO, I can understand why, but I wish she wouldn’t play it…

  12. Well,how dull it all is without tennis.
    Sick of my own cooking,hate facemasks that raise my temperature and make my glasses steam up and reduce spatial awareness😡Now we can’t go on holiday,unless we enjoy a camp site or caravan site packed to the gunnels
    with inadequate toilet facilities.

  13. Bugger! I was just about to post that!
    Be careful with balls dropping from the rooftops… one might be signed.

  14. I see NK out of the USO. Blasting Djoker and Zverev…teehee. He just might be a force in the years to come.

    1. I am soooooo loving Nick 🙂 He is one of the few people that I don’t mind when they beat Roger 🙂

      Nick is not perfect and he is convienently forgetting that he did some things himself, but with what he is saying he is absolutely right…

    2. Kyrgios is talking nonsense. I am not sure if it is lame virtue signaling or he’s just not very clued up like the vast majority of people on social media. Maybe the latter judging by the fact that the Aussie government seems as incompetent as several others with these new lockdowns.

      Corona panic still reigns across the globe. If it bleeds, it leads.

  15. Looks like Nadal decided to defend his title. Any word on Monfils? Who else is pulling the plug? Roger practicing his yodeling for a while longer.

    1. New winner, – yes agree – but who? For me tennis is out at the moment. Yes I like NK too. And some others – Goffin – is he on, or doing like NK? NY is not worth risking your health…is Paris?

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