David Nalbandian appeared poised to win the 2012 AEGON Championships on Sunday, as he led Marin Cilic by a set in the championship match. However, despite the lead and the opportunity to win the title, Nalbandian lost the final against Cilic by default when, in frustration, the former Wimbledon finalist caused a minor injury to a linesman.
After suffering a break of serve, the Argentine kicked a sign on the side of the court, and it struck the linesman. The match referee then had no choice but to default Nalbandian, and the impact could actually be very significant.
As a result of the unsportsmanlike conduct, Nalbandian loses all of the ranking points he had earned in the tournament, and he also forfeits any prize money he would have won. While the AEGON Championships are only at the 250 level on tour, the ranking point loss is quite significant, especially if Nalbandian had in fact won the title.
Currently ranked 39th in the world if Nalbandian had won the title, he would have picked up 250 ranking points. That would have given him enough points to leap over 12 players as of June 18th's update, and as a result, he would have been ranked 27th.
The difference between 27th and 39th is immense with Wimbledon looming. The seeds for the All England Club are to be announced on June 20, and only 32 seeds are awarded. The seeds are never official until announced; however, players definitely want to be in the Top 32 as typically a ranking that high earns a seed.
In order for his ranking to imply a seed, Nalbandian would now need seven players ranked higher than him to withdraw from Wimbledon. That is highly unlikely to happen, and the Argentine has to be kicking himself right now as a result.
If he had a seed, it would guarantee that he could not face any other seeded player in the Top 32 until at least the third round at Wimbledon. But without the seed, he could be placed down right beside Novak Djokovic or Rafael Nadal in the first round.
An unseeded Nalbandian would be a dangerous floater at Wimbledon 2012. The seeded player nearest him in the draw could definitely claim bad luck, as the Argentine's grass court form is not off at this point; only his composure is.