Of Nadal, the NBA, and the French Open Draw
People have ridiculed the NBA by saying with modest exaggeration that the entire, regular season is played simply to eliminate the Cleveland Cavaliers and Philadelphia 76ers, before seemingly the entire rest of the league makes the playoffs.
Tennis, in some ways, is worse.
More, lower-ranked players enter the Grand Slams than the supposedly less-significant Masters events, severely diluting play. For example,Rafael Nadal made this year's Roland Garros quarterfinals by beating four players with an average ranking of only 121 in the world, none of which had ever won a ATP clay-court title. Rafa didn't have to beat a single, clay-court specialist until, arguably, the quarterfinals against David Ferrer. That's not Rafa's fault; you can only play who shows up.
Some of the qualifiers had to beat more, higher ranked players to get into the tournament than Nadal had to beat to make the quarter finals. That's simply wrong. It's bad for tennis, and it's not necessary.
There, I've vented :(