The world’s best tennis players head to the Billie Jean King National Tennis Center this August for the final chance to win a Grand Slam title in 2014. It’s the 134th US Open this year and based on form and recent results it should be the most open men’s tournament in years.
The ‘big four’ in men’s tennis have won nine of the last ten US Open titles but there will be plenty of up and coming players also challenging for the title. Keep reading for our preview of this year’s men’s tournament.
The most open US Open for years
Between 2008 and 2012 Rafael Nadal, Novak Djokovic, Roger Federer and Andy Murray all won a US Open title and the early betting favoured the big four until the reigning champion had to pull out of the event.
Rafael Nadal had not played since his loss to Nick Kyrgios at Wimbledon and a wrist injury has forced the Spaniard to withdraw from this year’s tournament.
Roger Federer won five straight US Open titles between 2004 and 2008 and the 33 year old is the man to watch this year. The former world number one has reached the final of his last two tournaments, losing to Jo-Wilfried Tsonga at the Rogers Cup before beating David Ferrer in Cincinnati.
After a straight sets win over Milos Raonic in Cincinnati, Federer said: “I’m playing much better [than] last year. I can move freely again. I’m happy the results show. It’s more fun playing this way. Now I am playing the right way.”
Federer reached the Wimbledon final and has been in terrific form of late. He is 9/2 to win a sixth US Open title.
It’s been a mixed year for Andy Murray. The 2012 champion has reached just one Grand Slam semi-final this year and has lost to rivals Nadal, Federer and Dimitrov in the three Majors so far in 2014.
His form in recent weeks has also been up and down. He reached the quarter finals in both Toronto and Cincinnati but ended up losing to the eventual champion at both events. While the Scot will be keen to improve on his current world ranking his form does not look to be as consistent as it needs to be to win a second US Open title. He is the 4/1 second favourite.
Novak Djokovic is the 11/8 favourite to win his second US Open title but the Serb is another whose recent form has been patchy. Djokovic lost to Jo-Wilfried Tsonga in Toronto and then lost 7-6 7-5 to Tommy Robredo in the third round of the Western and Southern Open.
The world number one was clearly upset with his game. After the defeat he said: “Just many, many, many things are not clicking these two weeks on hard courts. It’s unfortunate, but it’s more than obvious I’m not playing even close to what I’m supposed to play. I have to keep on working and trying to get better for US Open.”
With question marks over the favourites it could be the year when a lesser known player breaks through, as Juan Martin del Potro did at the US Open in 2009.
After his win in Toronto it could be worth keeping an eye on Jo-Wilfried Tsonga at 22/1. The Frenchman was in great form at the Rogers Cup, beating Djokovic, Murray and Federer on the way to the title and he is a previous quarter-finalist at this event.
One question mark would be his consistency – he went down 6-1 6-4 to Mikhal Youzhny in the first round the week after winning in Toronto – but he could be a lively outsider.
I’m still not quite sure how Stan Wawrinka has risen to number four in the world but the Swiss player was a semi-finalist at Flushing Meadows in 2013 and is 14/1 to win his second Grand Slam title of the year.
If you’re looking for a long shot, then local hero John Isner could be one to consider. The American has risen back up the rankings in 2014 and is now back in the world’s top fifteen. He won the hard court tournament in Atlanta a couple of weeks ago and in an open tournament he could be a decent each-way bet at 100/1.
For the third year in a row, the women’s tournament at Wimbledon is absolutely wide open. Yes, there is a overwhelming favourite in five time winner Serena Williams, but this is not the Williams of old and the former champion has fallen to some shock defeats in the last year or so.
With two dozen players have genuine chances of winning, there’s plenty of value in the field this year. Keep reading for our full betting preview of Wimbledon 2014.
Former winners amongst the favourites
One of the two Williams sisters has won twelve of the last sixteen Wimbledon singles championships, and 5/4 favourite Serena is yet again the one to beat.
On her day Williams can beat anyone but injuries have begun to take their toll. In addition, the 32 year old fell to the worst loss of her Grand Slam career last month when she was beaten in the second round of the French Open by Garbine Muruguza of Spain.
Williams lost in the fourth round at SW19 last year and I wouldn’t be racing to back her at short odds.
It has been ten years since Maria Sharapova won Wimbledon and she was one of our top tips for the title in 2013. However, a surprise second round defeat to qualifier Michelle Larcher de Brito saw her eliminated early although I think she can go better this year.
The French Open champion is in decent form and could represent good each-way value at 5/1.
Victoria Azarenka reached the semi-finals at Wimbledon in 2011 and 2012 before an injury forced her withdrawal in 2013. A foot injury has hampered her in 2014 and she was forced to withdraw from the French Open. When fit she’d certainly be one to watch but her lack of matches could be crucial here.
Petra Kvitova was the 2011 champion and can be backed at 12/1 while I like the chances of 2012’s beaten finalist and last year’s semi-finalist Agnieska Radwanska at 20/1.
Long odds available on some big names
With Serena Williams being such a clear favourite to take her sixth Wimbledon title, there are plenty of tasty odds available if you fancy backing an outsider. Bear in mind that it was the 15th seed that won the title in 2013 and the 8th seed in 2011.
We tipped grass court specialist Sabine Lisicki at 33/1 last year and the German saw off Sam Stosur, Serena Williams and Agnieska Radwanska on the way to the final. The tearful 24 year old won the hearts of the crowd although ultimately succumbed to Marian Bartoli in straight sets.
Lisicki has progressed to the quarter final or better on each of her last four visits to Wimbledon and can go well again this year at 20/1.
Rising star and French Open finalist Simona Halep wasn’t even a seed at last year’s Wimbledon but the 22 year old has flown up the world rankings and is now ranked 3 on the WTA Tour.
The Romanian took a set off Li Na on her way to defeat in 2013 but she has some grass court pedigree – she won the pre Wimbledon tournament in the Netherlands in 2013 – and offers excellent each-way value at 16/1.
It’s also worth keeping an eye on the 20 year old Eugenie Bouchard. The Canadian has reached the semi-final of both Grand Slam events in 2014 and is a former Wimbledon junior champion. She beat the 12th seed Ana Ivanovic at Wimbledon in 2013 and we like her chances at 14/1.
Alize Cornet may not be a household name but the rising French star could give you an excellent run for your money at a tasty 200/1. She reached the third round last year and gave experienced Italian player Flavia Pennetta a scare – she had a match point – before losing in three sets.
The 24 year old is ranked number 21 in the world and a couple of solid wins may see those 200/1 odds tumbling as we enter the second week.
There may be a World Cup going on but, for millions, the sporting event of the summer remains the All England Championships at Wimbledon. It’s the 128th Wimbledon this year and could well be the most open men’s tournament in years.
Andy Murray returns to SW19 to defend his title but will face strong competition from the previous three Wimbledon champions. Keep reading for our preview of this year’s men’s tournament.
The most open Wimbledon in years
The last four men’s singles tournaments at Wimbledon have been won by Rafael Nadal, Novak Djokovic, Roger Federer and Andy Murray. It’s this competitiveness on grass which makes this year’s tournament so tough to call and the reigning champion is the man to beat.
Andy Murray was available at 7/2 before a ball was hit at Wimbledon last year but finally ended Britain’s long wait for a home champion. Since then, however, his form has been variable and the 27 year old has both fallen out of the world’s top five for the first time since 2008 and parted company with coach Ivan Lendl.
Home support will clearly help Murray but he looked strangely out of touch when he went down to an early defeat at Queen’s Club recently. He’s reached the last two Wimbledon finals, however (and won the Olympic gold) and so has a brilliant recent record on the grass. You can back the Scot at 3/1.
Rumours of Rafael Nadal’s demise seemed exaggerated as the Spaniard won yet another French Open title at Roland Garros this month. He’s five times a Wimbledon finalist and two times a winner and so could clearly go well here.
It’s worth remembering though that Nadal’s recent grass court record is pretty poor. He lost in the first round at SW19 last year and the second round in 2012. He also fell to a 6-4 6-1 defeat at the hands of the unfancied Dustin Brown in his warm-up tournament in Halle, admitting that this setback would affect his chances at Wimbledon.
“To play well on grass the most important thing is to play matches. You need to play with confidence… [and] you need to adjust. The only way to adjust is by playing matches and winning matches,” he said.
Nadal is certainly in better shape than he has been for some years but I wouldn’t be putting my house on him at 9/2.
Novak Djokovic was a 3/1 chance to win his first Wimbledon in 2011 and dropped just four sets on his way to his third Grand Slam title. He fell to an inspired Roger Federer in 2012 and looked strangely out of sorts when losing to Murray in the 2013 final.
Djokovic is the ante-post favourite at 7/4 and probably the man to beat – although to me he’s less of an outstanding favourite than he has been in the last few years.
Can Roger Federer win one more Wimbledon title? The former champion lost in the quarter finals in 2010 and 2011 and many had written off his chances of taking another Grand Slam title before he bounced back to win in 2012.
Federer is susceptible to unlikely defeats – consider his early loss to Sergei Stakhovsky at Wimbledon in 2013 – but he is in better shape and better form than he has been for some time. He is 6/1 to win an eighth title.
It’s 20/1 bar any of the last four champions and the fifth favourite this year is Stanislas Wawrinka. The Australian Open champion has risen to number three in the world rankings this year but his record at Wimbledon is nothing short of appalling.
The Swiss player has been knocked out in the first round in each of the last three years although he did show some form on grass recently by reaching the semi-final at Queen’s Club.
Tomas Berdych is a former Wimbledon finalist and has reached the last eight of the two Grand Slam tournaments this year. The Czech player could represent decent each way value at 40/1 while I will also be keeping an eye on one of the tour’s form players, Kei Nishikori, who is available at 66/1.
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.