The French Open made news on Sunday announcing that they would not bump up Rafael Nadal’s seed to if he falls outside the top 4 in the ATP rankings. There is much discussion if Nadal could drop to #5 in the ATP rankings as he has 1600 points to defend in the upcoming Madrid and Rome Masters. However, with this many points to defend, I thought it would be important to predict how likely it would be that he falls out of the top 4.
In order to estimate this I first had to compile a list of players for the remaining ATP level tournaments before the French Open. This is straightforward for the tournaments currently in progress (Munich, Estoril, Istanbul) but a little more difficult for the upcoming tournaments (Madrid, Rome, Nice, & Geneva). For these, I took the players confirmed to play including removing Djokovic from the Madrid Open. Based on the player lists, I produce a randomized draw in the same method that these tournaments use. The #1 seed is at the top, the #2 seed is seeded on the bottom of the bracket. Then seeds #3 & #4 are randomly placed on opposite sides of the bracket. This continues with seeds #5 through #8 placed in various quarters, and so on until all seeded players are placed in the bracket. Then the rest of the players are randomly placed throughout the bracket.
From this, I use my Riles Clubhouse Serve & Return Ratings to predict the likelihood of each player progressing through the bracket. This concludes with a percentage chance for each player. I utilize a Monte Carlo simulation method to vary the tournament draws and likelihood for each player progressing through the bracket. From this, I am able to estimate the range of ATP points for each player obtaining over the next 3 and half weeks before the start of the French Open. Based on this and the corresponding expiring ATP points, the prediction for ATP rankings going into the French Open is estimated.
The results are below for the top 8 ATP rankings.
The top 3 seeds are almost completely set, with Djokovic, Federer, and Murray, respectively. Likewise, David Ferrer has a strong chance at the #8 seed. The seeds #4 to #7 are most interesting as there are chances are mixed.
The strongest chances for the coveted #4 seed are either Kei Nishikori or Tomas Berdych. And for Nadal, his most likely seed isn’t #4 or #5, but actually seed #7. Differences in seeds #5 to #8 don’t really matter in the bracket, but Nadal’s chances are >90% that he will placed in this range. Not only will this be an uncomfortable position for Nadal, it will also be an unwelcome draw for any of the top 4 seeds to see Nadal placed in their quarter.