In 2011, Rafael Nadal once again demonstrated his prowess on clay to pick up his sixth French Open title, equalling Bjorn Borg’s open era record and he’s 5/6 with William Hill to increase his tally at Roland Garros this year.
Currently holding the three other Grand Slams, world number one Novak Djokovic would dearly love to be in possession of them all and bet365 rate the Serb at 9/4 to pick up the only one that eludes while last year’s runner-up Roger Federer is a 9/1 shot at Coral and Boylesports price Andy Murray at a whopping 35/1.
The Swiss Maestro’s odds perhaps reflect a feeling that the 30-year-old is something of fading force but the 2009 champion eliminated Djokovic at the semi-final stage last time around and still has plenty to offer on a surface that he is capable of coping with better than most.
Federer should go well again then but he’ll have to produce something special if he is to deny Nadal a seventh French crown. The Spaniard has only ever lost one match at Roland Garros, going down to Robin Soderling in 2009, a loss that paved the way for Federer’s solitary success in the tournament and it will take another huge upset for Nadal to emerge empty-handed.
Even the superb Djokovic will struggle to interrupt the six-times winner’s red dirt dominance, despite being a more than competent clay court operator so punters shouldn’t be put off by Nadal’s short odds.
Murray meanwhile, can also handle the surface but this is undoubtedly his least favourite Slam and he’ll be more focused on Wimbledon glory. Nevertheless, a run to the semis looks likely for the Scot, who is showing signs of improvement under the tutelage of Ivan Lendl and indeed, it would be no surprise if the aforementioned four players, likely to make up the top four seeds, contested the semis again, just as they did in 2011.
Finally, given that Nadal, who rarely loses a set in Paris, never mind a match, is the likely victor, it’s worth considering BetVictor’s 2/1 for the man lifting the trophy to ship fewer than three sets across the whole tournament.
Stan James post 12/1 against defending champion Li Na, however a couple of each way chances catch the eye. Firstly, 2010 finalist Sam Stosur looks too big at 16/1 (BetVictor) while Wimbledon champion Petra Kvitova tempts at 13/1 with Paddy Power; the 22-year-old Czech won on clay last year in Madrid and has been underestimated here in a wide open renewal.