World No.2 Rafael Nadal is the runaway favorite to clinch the Roland Garros title this season across betting platforms, tipped in minus money on the tennis odds board he’s the only player to be so favorably priced.
That Nadal is the hot commodity on the market’s catwalk of ATP players set to ply their wares in Paris in September is really no surprise, despite the new dates. Nadal is gunning for an incredible 13th Roland Garros triumph and 20th overall major title.
Roland Garros has long been the Spaniard’s beloved Kingdom, a principality he’s ruled mercilessly. Bookmakers simply can’t go against the established status quo that has, in no certain terms, Nadal widely accepted as the greatest clay-court player to have ever played the game.
Form is crucial to the measure of any player’s odds ahead of a major because it adds credibility and speaks to a player’s confidence.
Winning the Abierto Mexicano Telcel title this year before the shutdown, which marked Nadal’s first title in 2020, also saw him make history on two fronts: firstly, by becoming only the second player after David Ferrer to win the tournament on both clay and hardcourt; and secondly, by becoming the tournament’s youngest and oldest champion at the same time, winning his first title in Acapulco as a teenager in 2005 and at 33 years of age fifteen years later.
That Nadal is the rightful claimant to the Parisian throne brooks no argument. By that same token, he is the best bet to consider, bar none. Underpinning his market value is the 12 titles and a 93-2 win-loss record overall at the French Open. The two defeats Nadal endured came in 2009 when he lost to Robin Soderling in the R16 and in 2015 when he lost to Novak Djokovic in the quarterfinals.
Obviously, losses at the French Open for Nadal have been rare; so few and far in-between to make betting against Nadal an option that carries a low probability of success when upsetting the ‘King of Clay’ in the best-of-five scenario has – time and time again – been proven nigh impossible. However, bookmakers have identified two players that are potential threats to Nadal’s bid at the French Open and they are Novak Djokovic and Dominic Thiem, both jointly priced at +300 and the only two players that are priced in triple-digit plus money (i.e. under +1000, where the rest of the field of hopefuls hobnobs)
Even the impossible is possible. The unthinkable can happen. For those bettors looking beyond Nadal these two top ATP players are arguably the best of the bunch to spot for early tennis picks.
World No.1 Novak Djokovic is the only active player in today’s game that has pulled off the feat on clay, albeit in the quarterfinals. That feat nevertheless makes the Serbian a tempting alternative for tennis bettors to consider, particularly after he just announced (ironically) his intention to attempt to go undefeated for the entire season following his victory in Dubai last week.
Djokovic won the first major of the season and 17th overall Down Under and recently augmented his credentials by winning the ATP Dubai Duty-Free title. Djokovic strikes a tempting pose as the +300 bet to win Roland Garros with most top-rated sportsbooks, thereby thwarting Nadal and closing the gap on the Spaniard and Roger Federer in the history books.
Now, it’s worth noting one caveat here and that is Djokovic hasn’t seen into the French Open final since his lone triumph in 2016. In the last three installments, he’s reached the quarterfinals twice (2017 and 2018) and the semi-finals once (2019). On two occasions, the player that has gotten the measure of the Serbian starlet is none other than the newly-minted World No.3, Dominic Thiem.
Indeed, the Austrian has reached the French Open final twice, both times losing to Nadal. In the last four years, Thiem has reached the semis or better of the French Open, a run of form in Paris that has earned the 26-year old the same favorable outlook as Djokovic, the second-best bets to claim the French Open title in 2020. In Thiem’s case it would mark his maiden major title.
It’s early days yet and a bit of a way to go before the French Open dawns. A lot can happen before then that could very well impact the French Open markets. However, for the time being, it’s really hard to look beyond Nadal as the best bet along with Djokovic and Thiem as the most viable threats to hedge one’s bets on to thwart the Spaniard’s bid in Paris.