The tennis season began with an entertaining Australian Open, with Novak Djokovic and Naomi Osaka winning the individual titles. The attention now shifts to Roland Garros and the beginning of the French Open on the 26th of May.
Between 2014 and 2016 many tennis fans thought they had seen the end of Rafa Nadal as he failed to make it past the quarter-final stage of any Grand Slam. However, the Spaniard is back, and back to his best if the Australian Open is anything to go by.
Nadal performed excellently for six matches down under as he won 18 sets and dropping none. There were no signs of the injuries that have plagued him in recent memory, as he glided around the courts in the sunshine on centre court. The only question mark that remains over the 32-year-old is his fitness. He didn’t spend much time on-court throughout the championship, while fans’ were quick to notice that he was trying to shorten points, ensuring that he put as little strain on his body as possible.
This tactic worked perfectly as he eased to the final, but he came unstuck against Novak Djokovic in the final. The Serb was in excellent form; only making eleven unforced errors in three enthralling sets.
Djokovic’s best on hard and lawn surfaces is better than Nadal’s, and the Spaniard’s ability to compete in the latter stages of Grand Slam competitions are crucial aspects that punters should take away from the competition.
Few would bet against Nadal winning his 12th French Open title.
It is almost impossible to give a plausible reason that Nadal won’t win this. The Australian Open provided punters all the confidence that they needed in regards to his fitness, while his record of winning the last two French Opens only increases the feeling that he will make it three in a row.
If punters are looking for an outsider with a realistic chance then they will get good value with Dominic Thiem or Alexander Zverev. Both of these players are priced at 12/1 with William Hill.
Rafael Nadal To Win The French Open- 5/6 With William Hill
The Australian Open proved that Naomi Osaka is here for the long haul. The 21-year-old won her second Grand Slam in Australia, only four months after winning her first at the US Open. She will enter this Grand Slam again as one of the favourites; although, it’s a more even playing field in the women’s market.
Simone Halep entered the opening championship as the top-ranked player in the world, despite losing five straight matches before her opening game in Australia. However, she made it to the fourth round before losing in a tight match to the early-favourite Serena Williams. Halep did look back to her best and should be taken seriously in the market, as she likes the surface at Roland Garros.
Williams herself had an uncharacteristic Grand Slam game against Karolina Pliskova in the quarter-finals as she blew a 5-1 third-set lead. It’s impossible to rule the legendary player out of it, but she has fallen short in three straight competitions now, so the form isn’t on her side.
Halep enters the competition as the reigning champion, but that counts as very little. No woman has won back-to-back championships since Justin Henin in 2006 and 2007 while nine different women have won the French Open since 2008.
It becomes a very open tournament when it’s considered that both Osaka and Williams don’t favour playing on clay. One player that stands out is Elina Svitolina, who excels on clay. She is currently priced at an excellent 10/1 with William Hill. She has reached at least the quarter-finals in three of the last four major competitions. Furthermore, Svitolina has won the clay warm-up tournament held in Rome for the past two years.
Elina Svitolina To Win The French Open- 10/1 with William Hill