Men’s French Open 2014 – Betting Preview & Tips
In the not-too-distant past Rafael Nadal was an indomitable force on a clay court and would go into the French Opens as the odds-on favourite.
Now, however, the formerly undisputed King Of Clay’s crown is starting to slip. Unquestionable are his desire and champion qualities, but there have been some deficiencies in his game in recent months that are being exposed not only by the top players, but by some lower ranked players that the Spaniard would previously have breezed past without breaking sweat.
In Rome a fortnight ago he dropped sets against Giles Simon and Mikhail Youzhny before Andy Murray pushed him all the way, and perhaps should have beaten him, in the quarter-finals and Novak Djokovic claimed the title in the final. Previously Nadal had lost to David Ferrer (in Monte Carlo) and Nicolas Almagro (in Barcelona) before Kei Nishikori had dominated in the final in Madrid only for injury to put pay to the Japanese’s chances.
Djokovic himself has had limited clay court preparation following a recurrence of the wrist injury that has littered his career. The Serb enjoyed a run to the semi-finals of the Monte Carlo masters, then sat out events in Barcelona and Madrid before returning to the court to claim the Rome title. The injury may turn out to be a blessing in disguise as he arrives here fresh and clearly in good form
Roger Federer has also had an interrupted preparation for the second Grand Slam of the year. He was a finalist in Monte Carlo – where he lost to Stanislas Wawrinka – then sat out the Madrid and Barcelona Masters as his wife gave birth to their second set of twins. He came back for the Rome Masters a fortnight ago but lost in the second round to Jeremy Chardy.
Wawrinka himself has had a peculiar run of form. Having defeated Federer to claim the Monte Carlo title he has since gone on to lose to qualifier Dominic Thiem in the second round in Madrid, then lost in the third round to veteran Tommy Haas in Rome.
Finally a word on Andy Murray, who has also recently returned from injury. The Scot was fairly uninspiring in Madrid where he lost in the third round to Santiago Giraldo after coming through a tricky match-up with Nicolas Almegro; then in Rome he looked to be in a lot better shape. Straight set wins against Marcel Grannolers and Jurgen Melzer set up a quarter-final with Nadal. Murray took the first set in dominant fashion, 6-1, then battled all the way to the line in the deciding set, eventually losing 7-5 in a match that could have gone either way.