32 in the first round are listed as "Bye" (not counting lucky losers). Is this normal or something happened?

I found http://www.tennisabstract.com/blog/category/withdrawals-and-retirements/ but it doesn't seem to explain such a number.

-- I'm just starting to look at tennis tournaments so my questions might be naive.

  • 2
    Isn't it just that every seeded player is being given a bye into the second round?
    – Philip Kendall
    Mar 8 '17 at 16:11
  • @PhilipKendall, this might be the case. 32 is exactly half the 64 matches in the round. And I see exactly 32 seeds. Mar 8 '17 at 16:37
  • If you check a few draws from the past years, you will see that this - at least in the recent years - it was the same in both American masters. For example, 2016 Indian Wells or 2015 Miami. You may also notice that this are the only two masters with 96 players in the draw, other master tournaments have less players - see Wikipedia.
    – Martin
    Mar 9 '17 at 9:56

It's simple math, really. Tournament draws like the one you linked to in your question must have a total number of slots that are a power/exponent of 2. So numbers like 16, 32, 64, 128, 256, 512, etc. The total number of players included in the draw however, can be any number. If you look above the draw bracket you'll see this year Indian Wells has 96 singles players and 32 doubles teams.

In order to accommodate 96 singles players, you have to have at least 96 places in the draw - but the number still has to be a power of 2 - so you get a draw with 128 places in it (because 64 isn't enough). But with a draw size of 128 and only 96 players, you have a ragged number of first-round matchups. How do you resolve this issue?

Seeds and Byes.

Take that 128 (draw size) and subtract 96 (singles players) to get the number of seeds you need to apply. Each seed gets a first-round bye. After 32 first round matches that will leave exactly 64 players left (32 seeds + 32 first round winners) - so both first and second rounds will be comprised of 32 matches. The seeds are also used to determine how to distribute the players evenly into the draw spaces.

Professional tennis also does this with smaller tournaments (Indian Wells is a large tournament, almost the size of a major).

Let's say you have a draw size of 32 with 24 players entered. No problem. Apply seedings to the top 8 highest ranked players in the draw and give them a bye into the second round.

Not every tournament gives seeded players a bye, though. Some tournaments might have, say, a draw size of 64 with 56 players. In cases like this, they sometimes seed 16 players, but give only the top 8 seeds a bye. They would still seed an additional 8 players (for a total of 16) in order to somewhat-evenly distribute them throughout the draw, so that they don't end up with a first-round match between two highly seeded players.

  • Thank you, your answer contains useful information. I don't think the reason for the "bye"s is number of players applied. There are a lot of qualificants that could have been used to fill in the gap. Thus in my opinion @Philip Kendall answer in the question comments makes more sense - they just decided to let seeds skip the first round. That's why only +1 and not marking as accepted answer. Mar 9 '17 at 18:12
  • If you look at the draw, many qualifiers were added to the draw - as well as some wild card players. The total number of players is capped at 96 for several reasons including, but not limited to, total purse (prize money), scheduling, and the level of event - Indian Wells is a Masters Series 1000 level event. Most Masters Series 1000 events only have a draw size of 64, but Indian Wells and Miami have a larger pool of players they include (96) because those events have more financial support than other Masters 1000 events do.
    – jamauss
    Mar 9 '17 at 19:09
  • If Indian Wells had a draw size of 64 you would not see 32 seeds and most likely not every seed would receive a first round bye. For example - look at this draw from the Monte Carlo Masters 1000 event where there were 16 seeds but only the top 8 received a bye. atpworldtour.com/en/scores/archive/monte-carlo/410/2016/draws
    – jamauss
    Mar 9 '17 at 19:09
  • Agreed to last two comments. More useful information. I think it proves the point that it is not number off applicants but the decision of the organizers as to how many of them to allow. Mar 9 '17 at 19:38

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