French Open 2022 Odds: Novak Djokovic heads the betting for the year's second major
The tennis clay season is well and truly underway which can only mean that Roland Garros is just around the corner. Now that qualifying is done and the draw has been made, the odds are set and we’re looking at what should be a historic French Open for many reasons.
Reason number one, we’ve got the hottest prospect in tennis at the moment, Carlos Alcaraz coming in not just with a great chance, but according to some bookmakers, the favourite to win the whole thing. His rise has been nothing short of unbelievable and just to sort of tell you how good he has been, on his way to winning the trophy in Madrid, he beat Nadal, then Djokovic, and then Zverev in the final, it’s just an absurd achievement.
Reason number two, we’ve got the return of Djokovic at a Grand Slam. Now we all know about the drama surrounding his exit from the Australian Open and that’ll most likely follow him all the way to France. But he’s looking to put all that aside and rival Rafael Nadal for that GOAT status in the tennis world and join him on 21 Grand Slam wins.
Djokovic is currently on 20 joint with Roger Federer. Novak is the favourite/joint-favourite with most bookmakers thanks to his recent run of games. He’s fresh off an Italian Open win and a semi-final run in Madrid.
And another reason, Rafael Nadal on clay at the French Open. It’s as simple as that, this man has 13 French Open titles, do I need to say anymore?
Yes! Yes, I do! Because the bookmakers have got him as a 4/1 shot to win the tournament, and to be honest, you can see why. Nadal is coming back from an injury and whilst he didn’t look too fatigued in his loss against Alcaraz, something was definitely off, and his collapse against Shapovalov was just painful to watch.
In previous years we’ve seen Rafa odds on for this tournament and now he’s the third favourite, but be careful, write him off at your own peril, he’s still the king of clay, he’s still the man with the most Grand Slam titles, he’s still Nadal.
I could go on with a bunch of reasons why this will be a great tournament, but we’ve got to get into outright market and see what value we can find. My first value pick would have to be Andrey Rublev at 50/1.
Before I get fully into Rublev I’ll need to explain the difference in playing on a clay court. Clay courts are typically a lot slower. When playing on a clay court, the surface grabs the ball a lot more slowing down the shots, which ultimately can mean big servers who are typically slower movers, are punished a lot more. Typically you are given a lot more time to return on the clay court which is why the likes of Nadal has always been a great player on the surface, due to his speed and movement to position himself better.
I used to think Rublev would struggle on clay but he has proved a lot of people wrong with his title win Serbia beating Novak Djokovic in the final in his home country. Rublev’s forehand has been key in the clay season. He’s getting that extra time to position himself you don’t normally get and hitting winners for days. On top of that his serving has been exceptional. Recently he played Jack Draper and recorded 15 aces which is nothing to look past on a clay surface.
Rublev has already proved himself to be one of the best players on the tour, and many people do believe he has a Grand Slam in him, so why not clay? The draw is perfect for him, he’s managed to avoid Djokovic, Nadal, Alcaraz and Tsitsipas. The toughest on his side will be Jannick Sinner who he has actually recently lost to but I would favour him in the rematch, he also finds himself on Medvedev’s side of the draw but the less said about him the better when it comes to clay-court tennis.
Another player who has benefited from a good draw is Alexander Zverev, a player I just seem to always be backing. Zverev in my opinion is almost guaranteed a spot in the quarter-finals and that should be against none other than Carlos Alcaraz.
Yes he just lost to Carlos in Madrid but the final was a shell of the match it should have been thanks to some seriously bad scheduling from the event organisers. Zverev said it himself in the press conference after, he barely had any sleep the day before the final because of the matches he was playing which ultimately did result in the final being a fairly one sided win for the young Spaniard.
I do think that it’ll be a different ball game in a best of five format. In Grand Slams, experience goes a long way, and Zverev has got heaps of that. Although he may still be young himself, Zverev has been in two Grand Slam semi-finals and one Grand Slam final. This experience will be priceless when it comes to grinding out those long games. The furthest Carlos has ever gone in a slam is the 3rd round. These experienced players just find more in general when push comes to shove and I really can see Alcaraz struggling a little bit as he gets deeper into the tournament.
Including all of this, I just think in general Zverev is easily cementing himself as a top five clay player in the world these days. People used to think he was strictly a hard court player with his US Open final on his record, but he really offers so much on clay. He stays in the long rallies so well these days and his backhand has just become one of the best on the tour.
I think the slowness of the French Open surface will really benefit Zverev the way he’s playing at the moment. He’s rallying a lot longer and hitting more winners and less double faults than he was about a year ago. I think it’s inevitable that he wins a Grand Slam one day and I can see a French Open in his future.
One last thing, his best surface statistically speaking is clay where he has a 71.1% win ratio on the surface, his next best is hard where he has a 68.4% win rate so 28/1 for him to win the title here at Roland Garros could be some serious value.
At the end of the day, the bookies are correct most of the time, so don’t be surprised if Djokovic wins this one.
I just don’t see the value in backing 19 year old Carlos Alcaraz to win a Grand Slam in the best of five format.
I don’t think Nadal is worth a bet considering his current injury problem and Djokovic at 15/8 on a surface which isn’t his favourite just doesn’t sit right with me.
If I was to pick from them I would go with Nadal at 4/1 because I do think he still has it in him to win another slam or two. But I’d stay clear of the others.
Zverev would be my best bet with the current draw. One last thing on the draw, Nadal and Djokovic are set to meet in the quarter-final which will be interesting, it’ll also mean that one of them is set for an early exit, the draw is strange this year and you’ve got to go for the plays that make the most sense!