French Open Early Odds: It’s Not All About Nadal

 The 2018 French Open is set to start on Sunday 27th May and with the tournament now just a couple of months away, the early ante-post betting chat is starting to increase. Here’s a look at the early odds and markets ahead of the major tennis competition.

The official logo for the French Open
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Nadal Aiming for Eleven Heaven

Over recent years, the men’s tournament has been dominated by one man. Spaniard Rafa Nadal has won 16 major titles during his career. 10 of those wins have come at Roland-Garros. The 31 year old comes into this tournament as the firm favourite with BetVictor offering a best price of 2.00 on him retaining the championship he won in 2017.

Rafa Nadal celebrating his 2017 French Open win
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Nadal has made the French Open his own tournament over the years. He has only failed to win it three times since his maiden victory back in 2006, establishing himself as the ‘King of Clay’.

On those few occasions when Nadal has failed to prevail as champion, it has either been injury or an exceptional performance from his opponent that has stopped him in his tracks.

Djokovic the Pretender

Serbian player Novak Djokovic has enjoyed an equally prolific career to Nadal. He has secured 12 major titles to his name but most of his success has been experienced in the Australian Open.

For Djokovic, it has been a case of so near, yet so far on many occasions in the French Open. The 30-year-old has only won the French Open once, in 2016. He has reached the Final in four of the last six editions.

Novak Djokovic celebrating a victory at the French Open
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Djokovic is being tipped by the bookies to be the biggest rival to Nadal. He is available at 8.00 with Paddy Power.

Unfortunately, Djokovic has struggled to recapture his form of 2015, which saw him win three of the four major titles in that calendar year. It will take a mammoth effort to de-throne Nadal this year.

Time for Thiem?

The French Open has not witnessed an Austrian champion since 1995 when Thomas Muster defeated American Michael Chang in straight sets. 24-year-old Dominic Thiem is looking to end that drought in his home nation.

The bookies are backing him to be in contention too – Betfair priced him at 9.00 to win the tournament.

Dominic Thiem, a rising star and potential champion of the French Open
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Thiem is very much an up and coming star of the sport. He has flirted with the prospect of winning this competition before, finishing as a Semi-Finalist for the past two years. On both occasions, he has lost to the eventual winner.

He might not be considered the standard of the elite of Nadal, Djokovic, Federer, and Murray just yet but time is on his side. Could this be the tournament that Thiem officially announces himself to the world?

Best of the Rest

The men’s singles tournament is packed with a number of dark horses that are worth backing.

Swiss player Roger Federer is available at 19.00 with Betfair. Not bad odds for arguably the greatest tennis player of all-time. Federer is an icon in his own right with 20 grand slam titles under his belt but he has only won the French Open once back in 2009.

Elsewhere, 2015 champion Stan Wawrinka is listed at a fair price of 23.00 with Paddy Power, while Spaniard Juan Martin Del Potro is 34.00 with Unibet to win his second grand slam title.

Controversial Australian Nick Kyrgios is 34.00 with William Hill.

Too Soon for Serena?

It might only be a matter of days since US legend Serena Williams returned to tour action after suffering a life-threatening pulmonary embolism whilst giving birth last year but she is already priced as the 6.00 favourite with Sky Bet to win the 2018 French Open women’s singles tournament.

Serena Williams posing with her French Open trophy from 2015
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Williams has conquered every challenge in her glittering career. Her 23 grand slam singles titles make her one of the greatest tennis players to grace the sport but she does return to a field of rivals that are determined to end her reign.

The 36 year old is entering the twilight of her career and she has only won the French Open three times before, with her most recent win coming back in 2015. It’s a short price for such a big gamble.

Over-Hyped Halep

World number one Simona Halep is being touted as the closest contender to Williams. The Romanian is still yet to win a major championship but she came close in 2014 when she lost to Maria Sharapova in straight sets. Could this be the tournament where she ends this barren spell? She is priced at 7.00 with Bet365. Again, it’s a small price for a player that lacks a decent track record in this tournament.

Gamble on Garbine

24 year old Garbine Muguruza is widely considered to be the next big thing in women’s tennis. The Spaniard has already sealed two major singles titles after winning the French Open in 2016 and Wimbledon in 2017. It is her success in this very tournament that makes her an ideal pick with Betfred at 9.00. Her aggressive style might be too much for the returning Williams if they came up against each other. It’s hard to argue against her chances.

The Dark Horses?

The women’s singles field is rammed with a plethora of talent. It’s no surprise that so many female players win at least one major title. The competition is insane and this year’s French Open is no different. Ukrainian player Elina Svitolina is valued at 13.00 with Betfred. She is labelled the giant-killer having earned five victories over world number one players.

Jelena Ostapenko, a potential dark horse for the French Open crown in 2018
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Other players to keep an eye on during the tournament include five-time grand slam winner Sharapova at 15.00 with Boylesports, former world number one Karolina Pliskova at 19.00 with Coral, two-time Australian Open champion Viktoria Azarenka at 21.00 with Unibet, and reigning French Open champion Jelena Ostapenko at 24.00 with 888Sport.