Should Rafael Nadal be seeded at the French Open? The debate in full – and cast your vote

Rafael Nadal could be back at the French Open this year
Rafael Nadal won his 14th French Open title in 2022

Few people have come to define any event in sport as much as Rafael Nadal defines the French Open.

The Spaniard’s numbers at the second Grand Slam of the year are extraordinary, with a historic 14 titles to his name – and just three defeats.

Having won the last of his 14 titles in 2022, injuries scuppered Nadal’s chances of defending his crown 12 months ago.

But Nadal finally returned to his beloved clay courts this season at the Barcelona Open and – should he stay fit – a tilt at Roland Garros looks likely.

Currently 664th in the rankings, Nadal is all but guaranteed a Wildcard for the event – but could he also be seeded at the French Open if he plays?

We look at the pros and cons of making Nadal a seed at Roland Garros – and then you get to cast your vote as to whether it would be the right or wrong decision.

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Yes – Rafael Nadal should be seeded at the French Open

Nadal’s French Open dominance will stand the test of time, with it all but impossible that anyone will ever come close to winning a Grand Slam event on 14 separate occasions.

Because of that, some would argue that it would be hugely unfair if Nadal is unseeded at the event – and ends up drawing one of Novak Djokovic, Carlos Alcaraz, and Jannik Sinner in round one.

Such a draw would mean that one of the biggest stars in the men’s game would be out in round one, something that could be seen as a disaster by tournament organisers and the watching public.

Even the possibility of Nadal being close to any combination of those three could leave the draw significantly unbalanced, affecting the chance of any of them going deep.

There is also precedent in adjusting the seedings at Grand Slams previously.

Wimbledon used to factor in past grass-court performances to help aid the men’s singles seedings at the Championships, with Novak Djokovic promoted to 12th seed before winning the title in 2018.

While Serena Williams was promoted to 25th seed in the women’s singles draw that year in what was seen as a way to fairly balance the draw; she would go all the way to the final.

If he is fit and playing well, shouldn’t Nadal be handed a fair chance to prove his worth at Roland Garros?

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No – Rafael Nadal should not be seeded at the French Open

Rankings are earned over 12 months, not two weeks of the year.

That is the argument many make and, while Nadal cannot help being injured, it could be seen as hugely unfair if any player is given such a significant advantage while on the comeback trail.

Wherever Nadal would be seeded, the person in line to have been the 32nd seed would be at huge risk of drawing a Djokovic, Alcaraz, or Sinner in their opening match or the second round.

Considering they would have been seeded at any other Slam in their position, some would say it would be hugely unfair for them to not benefit from their ranking at this major.

There is also the question of where exactly you would seed the Spaniard.

Wherever he is hypothetically put, there would be a chain effect of a player – or players – being negatively affected by being placed in a worse seeding bracket.

Nadal’s French Open history is extraordinary – but diverting away from the rankings is unfair to all of those who have grafted over the past season to get themselves into the position they are in.

Vote – yes or no?

We’ve laid out both sides of the argument above – now it is up to you to let us know whether you think Rafael Nadal should be seeded at the 2024 French Open.