Mumbai: Defending champion Rafael Nadal was on Wednesday named as the top seed in Wimbledon this year ahead of five-time champion Roger Federer.
Wimbledon traditionally employs a unique seeding system where they take into account previous results at the grass court championships and there was a strong case for Federer to be named the top seed because he has reached the last six finals.
But the elevation of Nadal and sundry other changes indicate that the All England Club may be moving towards a uniformity in the game which perhaps brings in the paying public but takes away much of the character of tennis.
The International Tennis Federation has long been trying to tamper with the pressure in the ball to make it slower through the air and ensure more service returns.
In other words, players with a booming service game, such as three-time champion (1985, '86, '89) Boris Becker or 2001 winner Goran Ivanisevic will now become a rarity.
The reduction in pressure, which can vary between two to five per cent of what used to be the norm, has already resulted in more and more clay court specialists making it to the last four at the Mecca of grass court tennis.
There are more rallies than ever and baseline grinders stand a much better chance of progressing into the second week, not because they are adaptable or better than past generations but because it is so much easier.
And as if tampering with the balls is not enough, the grass at Wimbledon, which used to be lightning fast and aided the classic serve and volley tennis, has been made considerably slower.
After last year's men's singles final, when Nadal defeated Federer in one of the best matches in the history of tennis, nine-time Grand Slam champion Leander Paes had told DNA that "the grass at Wimbledon had become very slow."
And not only Leander, former world No.1 from Australia, Patrick Rafter, had said after Nadal's win last year: "I didn't see the Wimbledon final but it's incredible how slow the grass is now. Goran (Ivanisevic) spoke to Federer about it and told me that's why Federer doesn't serve and volley. It's just too slow.
"I think Wimbledon needs to change its grass and make it quicker because, to me, watching grass court tennis from the baseline is not how it should be played.
"It's fine for clay but not for grass. They should make it quicker."
Another factor that is sure to play a part this year is the retractable roof on the Centre Court. Though designed to defeat the famously fickle English weather and aid uninterrupted play, it can end up reducing the breeze and make the game even slower.
With the 2009 edition beginning Monday, the question is, is the game better served with variety and character or is monotonous uniformity the future of tennis?