Guest article written by Paul Micelli
Having established in part 1, part 2 and part 3 that the type of tournament, draw and previous form will all be vital components in selecting the outright winner from a particular competition, the next final factor that needs to be studied before laying a bet is that of tournament seeding.
Seeding operates in the same way for all major tennis competitions from Grand Slam tournaments to World Tour events. Irrespective of the number of individuals taking part in a tournament, the assembly of players will be given a seeding number based on their current world ranking. This effectively means that the Number One seed will be the top-ranked player in the world; the Second Seed will be the second-ranked player in the world and so on.
The seeding system ultimately has an effect on the draw itself and the standard format in tennis competitions will see the Number One, Number Three and Number five seeds put together in top half of the draw while the Number Two, Number Four and Number Six seeds will be put together in the bottom half of the draw. Other seeds will be split in equal numbers throughout both halves of the draw and this will provide the final framework that a tournament is built around.
There will occasionally be other influencing factors that might see some slight changes in the draw, such as a player receiving a higher seeding due to previous performances or a preference for a particular playing surface. Even so, the draw is usually evened out so that the best players will eventually begin to meet around the quarter-final and semi-final stages of a tournament.
However, sports betting enthusiasts should be immediately discouraged from letting the seeding system make decisions for them. Indeed, the seeding system can be one of the worst indicators of potential outright tournament winners and acceptance of the ranking system can promote an incredibly risky betting strategy.
The seeding system gives no consideration to other important factors, particularly those of form, preference of playing surface and other players involved in the draw. Although a top-ranked seed might not meet other major seeds until the later stages of a tournament, there is still the possibility of meeting dangerous opponents in the earlier rounds of a competition and this must be factored in to all potential selections.
During the first twenty tournaments of 2010, only four ATP tour winners were ranked as top seed before the tournament started. This represents a figure of just 20%. Four second seeds and five third seeds also won during the same opening twenty tournaments, representing figures of 20% and 25% respectively. However, five ATP tour winners from those same tournaments were actually unseeded. This tells us that an unseeded player is actually more likely to win a high profile tournament and dispels the idea that the seeding system can actually help to select an outright winner.
Seeding may be useful in providing a guideline but should never be used as the basis for betting action. Choice of tournament, splitting the draw and establishing form are the only methods that consistently produce results in tennis betting and when these factors are used together, the potential for success is significantly increased.