Roland Garros, Paris – MAY 25 – JUNE 8, 2014
Rafael Nadal is still many people’s favourite to win at Roland Garros but he has shown signs of vulnerability on clay this season. A title in Madrid and a final in Rome have helped him to retain the number one spot but it has been a poor start to the season by his usual high standards. In Monte Carlo, he lost to David Ferrer for the first time on clay since 2004 and he lost his first match in Barcelona since 2003 when he was beaten by Nicolas Almagro – also for the first time.
Nadal has certainly never arrived in Paris with such a poor lead-in record. However, there’s no doubt that the Spaniard loves this court and surface, and the 5 set format also suit him much better. Despite his shaky form, he will not let this title go easily and it is hard to back anyone else at current prices. As a result of his recent form, many bookies have Djokovic as favourite but Nadal can be backed at 6/4 with Sporting Bet.
Novak Djokovic is in fine form but has only managed one Grand Slam title in the last two seasons. If he could win this title for the first time it would be a significant milestone for the Serb. He certainly looks up for the challenge and this is perhaps his best ever chance of victory in Paris considering the form of his rivals. If you fancy him to do it, the 7/5 on offer from Coral is the sensible bet.
Outside of the top two, there is a huge gulf to the third favourite David Ferrer, who is currently available at 18/1 with Bet365. His win over Nadal in Monte Carlo would have given him a huge confidence boost and he always seems capable of producing the odd big performance. He made the final here for the first time last year and is a decent outside bet at 23/5 with Betfair to achieve this feat again.
Aussie Open winner Stan Wawrinka suffered a shock first round defeat and disappointed those that were hoping for a semi-final showdown between the No. 3 seed and Rafa Nadal.
Roger Federer has worked his way back up to fourth in the ATP rankings and has had a solid start to the season. A recent break to be with his wife during childbirth may have had a slight impact on his momentum going into this tournament and it is hard to see him winning a second Roland Garros title this year.
Andy Murray seems to have suffered from a dip in form since his energy-sapping exploits of 2013 and no doubt his back surgery and the loss of Coach Ivan Lendl will have contributed towards that. His unremarkable performances have certainly lowered expectations and that could play to his advantage as he arrives in Paris fully-fit for the first time since 2011. One thing is sure, 25/1 with Unibet is a big price for a player who won a Grand Slam less than 12 months ago.
In the women’s event, the two favourites will be Maria Sharapova, who recently won in Stuttgart and Madrid; and Serena Williams, who really should win here providing she is in the right frame of mind – and fit. Unfortunately, those two will meet before the final so there will be a chance for someone else to grab the spotlight. The best value bets based on recent form are: Ana Ivanovic to reach the final at 3/1 with Betfair or – for a bigger price – place the same bet on Rome finalist Sara Errani at 17/2.