Find out how French Open betting odds & public perception might shape up in a potential quarterfinal showdown between Nadal & Djokovic.
Nadal and Djokovic Get off to Winning Start
Nadal and Djokovic took one step towards a potential quarterfinal showdown on Tuesday, when the pair won their respective opening matches in fine style. On Thursday, they are set to take another significant step towards their highly anticipated showdown. As it is, odds makers appear to be supremely confident that the pair will advance. Nadal is the firm favourite at -1200 to advance into the third round at the expense of his compatriot, while Djokovic is the runaway favourite at ridiculous -20000 tennis odds to win his match against Luxembourg's Gilles Muller. Assuming the odds makers are right, and the pair come through on their respective tennis odds in the R64, they'll be two wins away from delivering the quarterfinal showdown all tennis bettors are gagging for.
Nadal and Djokovic Drawn Into The Same Quarter
The moment Nadal and Djokovic were drawn into the same quarter, trepidation spread amongst tennis fans, experts and odds makers alike. It was the outcome most dreaded: To have two of the best players in the game come across one another so early at a prestigious event is a bit of a blow. A matchup of that calibre is befitting of a final, when all is at stake and accolades follow. Where conclusive lines are drawn and a prize is won. All a quarterfinal offers up is the potential of advancement only. No glory or joy. Only to live another day in the tournament, which is, let's face it, somewhat unsatisfactory for all concerned, the players, fans and tennis bettors alike. Alas, that is the way the cards fall at the 2015 ATP French Open. So we must come to terms with it and make do with the reality as it is.
A lot of speculation abounds already about this matchup. It's so seductive. Alluring that early predictions are inevitable. Most are contemplating not only which player would win the match should it come about but also how the tennis betting market will take shape.
The Best Rivalry in Sport
Novak Djokovic entered the 2014 French Open betting markets as the odds makers' favorite to win outright. Matched at +138 tennis odds to win the 2014 French Open, Djokovic's tennis odds were underscored by convincing form, better form than the perennial favorite and eight time champion (then) Nadal. Djokovic had won the Rome final over Nadal in the lead up to the French Open and that result was the benchmark for the pre-tournament tennis betting outlook. At the time, Nadal also boasted his worst-ever (again, then) form ahead of the French Open with just one solitary European clay court title, the Madrid Open.
All in all, the lines were drawn so and the world eagerly anticipated what seemed to be an inevitable win by Djokovic. Nadal's obituary in Paris was penned. It needed but a rubber stamp.
Tale told, the Spaniard put paid on those notions. Although Djokovic's future odds continued to swell as he moved deeper into the tournament, Nadal's odds weren't too far behind. Going into the semi-final rounds, Djokovic remained the favorite to win. Even improving to -110 to win outright in futures betting markets. During this time, Nadal was nipping at his heels as the second favorite at +120 or thereabouts depending on your sportsbook of choice.
The 2014 French Open Final Showdown
As soon as the final was set and both Nadal and Djokovic emerged as the players to bid for the coveted crown on the red dirt of Roland Garros a very interesting thing happened: Nadal usurped Djokovic as the outright tennis betting favorite. Lo-and-behold, order was established once again across French Open betting markets. All Hail the King of Clay.
And so it proved to be as Nadal clinched his ninth French Open crown as the nominal -125 favorite over Djokovic. He also pulled off the feat in four sets as we'd predicted on our tennis picks 3-6, 7-5, 6-2, 6-4 .
The Wave Of Public Perception
Not unlike last year, Djokovic enters the 2015 French Open betting markets as the player to beat. A market outlook underscored by his form on the season which is frankly spectacular. A country mile better than his form ahead of the 2014 French Open.
If one European clay court title was bad and marked the worst form ever by Nadal ahead of the 2014 French Open, no European clay court titles ahead of the 2015 French Open title sees Nadal hit a new nadir. A low that is further exacerbated by his lowest ever ranking in over 10 years, which caused this whole draw mess in the first place.
Not surprisingly, therefore, odds makers went to press with the longest tennis odds on Nadal ahead of his beloved grand slam in recent history, at +400 tennis odds to win outright.
Last year, the wave of public betting probably had an impact on the tennis betting outlook for the French Open. Why else would odds makers, who'd doted on Djokovic all the way through, quickly jump fence before the ultimate round?
This year, that's not on the cards because they are to meet in the last eight. It's a shame that these two superstars of the game are set to collide in the quarterfinals [insert dramatic shiver] and that we're sure to lose one by the end of that round (sort of anticlimactic, don't you think?). One thing is certain, the winner of that quarterfinal will emerge as the player to beat from then onwards.
How Will The Quarterfinal Showdown Shape Up
It'll be interesting to see where the French Open tennis betting markets stand ahead of the much-anticipated quarterfinal showdown, assuming it does materialize. For the time being, Djokovic is the favorite to win outright at -125 tennis odds and Nadal remains the +440 second favorite to win it all (odds courtesy of BookMaker). So one has to work on that assumption and to also imagine that the initial opening quarterfinal tennis odds are going to be in tune to this market with Djokovic the slight favorite and Nadal the slight underdog. Whatever it is, it's most likely to range anywhere from -150 to +200. Hard to imagine a greater disparity in their tennis odds.
Then again, we wouldn't be surprised if odds makers went all coy and served up a tight-fisted line with the pair trading a hair-breadth apart. For instance with one at -110 and the other at +100 and then leave it to the public to bet either player up or down.
Bookies Take A Page From the Public?
Will the betting public bet up Nadal again? It did last year. It certainly might this year. Not for nothing is he the King of Clay, not to mention beating the Spaniard in a best-of-five scenario on clay is no mean feat. Djokovic has had four cracks at it and failed. Only one player has accomplished the feat in the last decade: Robin Soderling.
Given Djokovic's undeniable quality, skill and talent, one has to believe he can accomplish the feat one day. One has to also concede he comes into this tournament with the best form of his entire career; at least, the best form in the first five months of a season.
However, to say he "can" and to say he "will" are two different things. Just like last year things can change once again if they set up their tête-à-tête in the last eight. To be fair, if it does take an about turn with Nadal emerging as the favorite to win the quarterfinal, nobody that has avidly followed tennis for these past ten years can be surprised.
Public Perception Matters
The point is: Nadal is the King of Clay. Time and time again, ominous predictions have been made. Time and time again he put paid on those notions (2009 when he lost to Soderling in the R16 being the only exception. Although he was the heavy fave then, so a bit different). Granted he's at his most vulnerable this year than ever before, but public perception isn't going to change despite the pre-tournament tennis odds. Nadal is always going to be the public's tennis pick until he's actually defeated on Philippe Chatrier.