Armada’s mixed doubles team scuppered by ranking gaffe
Switch from Llagostera to Martínez relegates Spain to sub role
The leaden skies of London finally signed a temporary truce with Wimbledon on Wednesday, allowing the outer courts to host play for practically the first time this week. However, Nuria Llagostera, Spain's highest-ranked doubles player at world number 16, was in a belligerent mood after discovering that she would not be playing in the mixed doubles. In fact, no Spanish team will be participating in the event after team captains Àlex Corretja and Arantxa Sánchez Vicario elected to put forward a pair consisting of Marcel Granollers and María José Martínez — without realizing their combined doubles ranking was insufficient.
Individually, Martínez is ranked five places lower than Llagostera in doubles, while Granollers is the world number 19.
The last team that directly qualified for the mixed doubles was Germany's Sabine Lisicki and Christophe Kas, whose combined ranking is 37 points. A pair of Llagostera-Granollers would have totaled 35 points, while Martínez-Granollers' ranking is 45 points. The more points, the lower the doubles ranking, meaning that Llagostera and Granollers would have qualified automatically in place of the Germans, while the inclusion of Martínez relegates the Spain team to an alternate, to be called on in the case of a withdrawal, but none seems likely.
"The federation didn't think that Marcel and I would have qualified and therefore didn't enter us! Indignant!" Llagostera said on Twitter.
"The problem was that the rankings of the other pairs were kept secret until the draw was closed," said the Spanish Tennis Federation. "We couldn't know that Llagostera and Granollers would have qualified automatically because we didn't know where the cut-off point was. We did know that Llagostera would have qualified through rank paired with David Ferrer or Nicolás Almagro, but Ferrer is concentrating on doubles and Almagro has a shoulder complaint."
In fact, Llagostera would have qualified directly paired with world 15 Marc López, Granollers, Feliciano López or Fernando Verdasco. "It's true that we didn't know the rankings of the other teams, but in that case it would have been fairer to put forward the team with the best ranking possible, which is Marcel and me," noted Llagostera.
At SW19 on Wednesday, Spain bade farewell to the women's draw, with Martínez crashing out 6-1, 6-2 to world number one Victoria Azarenka. The elimination on Tuesday night of Anabel Medina and Arantxa Parra left Spain with no women's doubles representation after Martínez and Llagostera had earlier lost to China's Shuai Peng and Jie Zheng.
Almagro's shoulder, packed with ice on changeovers, did not stop the world number 10 defeating Belgium's Steve Darcis on Wednesday to reach the quarterfinals, where he will play Wimbledon finalist Andy Murray. Feliciano López fell later in the day to Jo-Wilfried Tsonga, who the previous day took part in the longest match in Olympic history with Milos Raonic.