This year’s French Open promises to be one of the most keenly contested tournaments in years. Two of the leading men are having mixed seasons while seven different women have won the tournament since 2007. Can Rafa Nadal and Serena Williams retain their crown? Or will there be a new name on the trophy?
Keep reading for our preview of this year’s French Open tennis.
In years gone by there would have only been one man you’d ever choose to back on clay. Rafael Nadal is the evens favourite to secure an astonishing ninth title in Paris and is a worthy favourite having won the last four French titles. Nadal’s fourth round defeat to Robin Soderling in 2009 remains his only defeat at Roland Garros.
This year has been a little different, however. Nadal lost on clay in Barcelona for the first time in eleven years (beaten by Nicolas Almagro) while David Ferrer beat him in the Monte-Carlo quarter finals. And, he only took the recent Madrid title by default thanks to an injury to Kei Nishikori in the final.
It’s also been far from a vintage year for Novak Djokovic. The Serb has won just two titles in 2014 – in Indian Wells and Miami – and a wrist injury contributed to a recent straights set defeat to Roger Federer.
In truth, Djokovic’s record at Roland Garros isn’t terrific. He has reached the final on just one occasion – in 2012 – and has lost at the semi-final stage on four occasions. I’m not sure he is great value at 5/2.
The only other man in the draw to have won the French Open title is 2009 champion Roger Federer and the Swiss player is 12/1 fourth favourite. Federer has won a title in 2013 and was a beaten finalist on clay in Monte-Carlo. Recently the father of a second pair of twins, the former world number one could go well here.
Kei Nishikori became the first Japanese-born player to win a clay-court title on the ATP World Tour when he won in Barcelona. The 24 year old then followed up this win by reaching the final in Madrid where he’d probably have beaten Nadal were he not forced to withdraw with a back injury.
Nishikori is the form man on clay and can be backed at 25/1. It’s also worth keeping an eye on Australian Open champion Stanislas Wawrinka who won on clay in April and is the 6/1 third favourite.
Seven different women have won the French Open title since the last seven years and so choosing a winner is a tough task.
The form player on clay approaching Roland Garros is Maria Sharapova. The Russian won recent clay court titles in Madrid and Stuttgart and won the French Open title in 2012. In an open contest she is the 4/1 second favourite.
Before winning the title in 2013, it was over a decade since Serena Williams reached the final at Roland Garros. Williams hadn’t got past the quarter final stage at this tournament since 2003 before her triumph in 2014 and, having missed recent matches with a thigh injury, the 7/4 looks very skinny.
A better bet may be 2011 champion Li Na at 5/1. The Chinese number one won the Australian open in January and also reached the final in Miami where she lost to Serena Williams. The 32 year old is a tough competitor and could win her second title at 5/1.
Simona Halep’s rise up the world rankings has been astonishing. The Romanian is now the world number 5 and the 22 year old recently took Maria Sharapova to three sets in the Madrid final having won in Qatar earlier in the season.
She also reached the quarter final of the Australian Open and could go well here at 9/1.
Victoria Azarenka was a semi-finalist at Roland Garros in 2013 and the two tine Grand Slam winner is a 16/1 chance here. If you want a rank outsider to follow then French number one Alize Cornet is a 100/1 chance. Cornet has reached two ATP finals in 2014 – winning one – and is now in the world’s top 25 players.
She has only won 8 matches in 9 visits to Roland Garros but the 24 year old could be one to watch this year at long odds.
The All England Championships are once again set to take centre stage for a glorious fortnight. It’s the 127th Wimbledon and this season’s men’s tournament promises to be a brilliant spectacle, with four men all having genuine claim to the title.
Can Andy Murray finally end the UK’s wait for a Wimbledon win? Can the effervescent Roger Federer defend his title? Or can the in-form Rafael Nadal seal a famous victory? We preview this season’s tournament.
After winning the French Open title for the first time in over a decade, Serena Williams is the overwhelming favourite to secure an astonishing 17th Grand Slam singles title at Wimbledon. The reigning French Open, Wimbledon, US Open, WTA Tour Championships and Olympic ladies singles champion is in search of her sixth Wimbledon title, although there are plenty of talented players who could potentially stop her in her tracks.
Keep reading for our full betting preview of Wimbledon 2013.
For two weeks every May and June the eyes of the world are focused on a tennis complex named, oddly, after a French aviator. Roland Garros has hosted the French Open since 1928, and this year’s tournament promises to be another great spectacle. While the men’s tournament looks like a two horse race, this year’s women’s tournament is wide open.
For two weeks every summer the eyes of the world are on a tennis complex named, oddly, after a French aviator. Roland Garros hosts the French Open in May and June every year, and this year’s tournament promises to be another great spectacle. While the men’s tournament looks like a two horse race, this year’s women’s tournament is wide open.
The Roy Hodgson era begins on Saturday as the former West Brom coach takes charge of England for the first time. His first outing is a tricky away fixture in Norway who are an excellent 12/5 chance to give our boys ‘one hell of a beating’.
The Champions League final takes centre stage this Saturday as Bayern Munich face Chelsea. If Chelsea can manage to scrape a side together – remember that many of their first choice players are injured or suspended – they are 10/3 to win their first European Cup. Bayern Munich have home advantage but were humbled 5-2 by Borussia Dortmund in last week’s German Cup final.
Chelsea face Liverpool in the Wembley showpiece and the Blues are the 7/5 favourites.
The FA Cup reaches the semi-final stage this weekend with two local derbies in prospect. Liverpool play Everton on Saturday and while the Reds may be the 6/4 favourites, Everton are the form team. I fancy David Moyes’ side to prevail at 15/8.
The battle to avoid the drop from the Premier League continues this weekend with a vital game at Molineux. Struggling Wolves welcome Bolton and after Wanderers’ win over Blackburn last weekend, there’s some value in the visitors at 19/10.