With news that Roger Federer is pulling out of The French Open just six days before the start, it's all change in the betting markets ahead of the event which will run from May 22 to June 11. In a statement posted to Federer's website, the tennis star explained is turning his attention to tournaments he feels he is more likely to succeed:
"Regrettably, I've decided not to participate in the French Open. I've been working really hard, both on and off the court during the last month, but in order to try and play on the ATP World Tour for many years to come, I feel it's best to skip the clay court season this year and prepare for the grass and hard court seasons."
Okay, so Federer has never really taken to clay like some of his rivals, but with the 35-year-old enjoying an impressive return to form in 2017, there's no doubt he would be have been up there in the betting. However, with a trip to Roland Garros off the menu, it's left to his rivals to fight it out in one of the toughest tournaments of the year.
Naturally, when it comes to any professional tennis tournament, the margins between the top seeds are thin at best. With our best betting sites all offering similar prices on Andy Murray, Rafa Nadal and Novak Djokovic, sorting through the odds isn't easy but with our help and this guide, players are sure to find value betting the French Open!
Having said that, it's always fun to look forward and speculate on the potential winners and losers. With this in mind, we've put together a betting preview for The French Open that should sort through the potential hot-shots and double-fault failures.
Although you can never be 100% certain when it comes to online betting and tennis, this guide should give you a few tips and pointers when it comes to finding some value in a notoriously tough contest.
Starting with the men's singles title, the current feeling among our recommended betting sites is that the final will be contested between one of four players: Murray, Nadal, Djokovic and Stan Wawrinka.
The obvious strategy to adopt when it comes to any tennis tournament betting is to check the ATP rankings for the current position of the top picks. In this instance, Murray is the man to beat followed by Djokovic, Wawrinka and Nadal. Unfortunately, with Roland Garros proving a tricky surface for Murray in recent years, the odds aren't in his favour.
According to 888sport, the Scot is 9/1 to lift the title while world number two Djokovic is 5/1. Making up the numbers at this stage is Wawrinka at 10/1, which leaves Nadal as the betting favourite at odds of 7/10.
If we look beyond the current rankings and back through the history of The French Open, it's easy to see why Spain's Nadal is the bookies' top pick. With nine French Open titles under his belt since 2005 and a natural affinity for clay, the odds makers at LeoVegas and NetBet agree with 888sport. They have him at 7/10 and 10/13 respectively.
In fact, when you add to this the fact that he's only lost two matches from 74 played at Roland Garros, there's a lot to be said for his chances this time around. However, Nadal's form in finals hasn't been the best this year. After falling to Federer at the Australian Open and in Miami, there are some questions over his mindset at the moment.
If this does prove to be a deciding factor, the online betting markets suggest there could be some value in a player like Murray or Djokovic. For Murray, the 2017 comeback has had some bumps in the road and a recent defeat in the round of 32 at the Italian Open will certainly leave a bitter taste. But if there's one thing we know about Murray it's that he's at his best when he has to fight for it.
The French Open could be his time to come out swinging. With Ivan Lendl back on board, the Scot will be a tough match for anyone in Paris and could be worth a punt at 9/1 with 888sport. As for last year's winner Djokovic, many believe his form on clay is underrated. Although his 2016 triumph was his first at Roland Garros, he did look strong on his way to winning the Qatar ExxonMobil Open in January.
This year's French Open looks to be a toss-up between current form and past results. For the historians, Nadal will be a lock and where the best bets lay. For the modernists, the world number one and number two have both shown they have the form to win. With betting lines between 9/1 and 5/1 respectively, there's a lot of value in either.
The women will also be in action at The French Open and this year Simona Halep is the clear favourite. According to online betting site bet365, Halep is 9/2 for the title ahead of Garbine Muguruza (10/1), Angelique Kerber (11/1) and Karolina Pliskova (16/1). Comparing those odds to the current rankings, it's surprising to see Halep at the top of the pile.
Despite moving up four places this year, she's still ranked fourth in the world behind her French Open rivals. A look through her results shows that she's certainly knocking on the door of world domination, but her form has been patchy with semi-final appearances being watered-down by a selection of early exits. Perhaps the odds makers at our top tennis betting sites are latching onto her recent win at the Madrid Open.
Her performance on clay against Kristina Mladenovic was impressive, but was it enough to make her a clear favourite for The French Open? For last year's champion Muguruza to be a distant second at 10/1 with bet365, the experts must be confident in Halep's chances. However, when you break it down, that discrepancy in odds might be a little too tempting to ignore.
Even if Halep has shown she's tough to beat on clay, betting on the 2016 winner at 10/1 can't be a bad move. When you have a proven talent like Muguruza out at that price, it's certainly worth considering a bet. Whichever way you waver, the 2017 French Open is sure to be another impressive spectacle.
With plenty of contenders in the mix, both the pre-tournament and live odds from our top online betting sites should be juicy enough to give you some extra entertainment when the balls start to fly. To place your first bets on the French Open today, head over to 888sport now!
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