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2019 French Open Betting Preview: Rafael Nadal Back On Track; Should Anyone Bet Against Him?

Robert Duff

by Robert Duff in Tennis

May 20, 2019 · 12:16 PM PDT

Rafael Nadal sets to make a return shot
Fresh off a win at the Italian Open, 11-time French Open champion Rafael Nadal heads to the tournament as the betting favorite. Photo by Carine06 (Flickr) [CC License]
  • Rafael Nadal is favored to win the French Open for the third straight year
  • The Spaniard has won a record 11 men’s singles titles at Roland-Garros
  • Nadal has never lost a French Open final match

Just when the tennis public was ready to count out Rafael Nadal’s reign as the most dominant clay-court player in the sport, the Spaniard has risen again.

Nadal posted a three-set win over world no. 1 Novak Djokovic in Sunday’s Italian Open final. The performance only served to cement Nadal’s status as the favorite to win the French Open men’s singles title.

2019 French Open Men’s Singles Odds

Player Odds
Rafael Nadal +105
Novak Djokovic +225
Dominic Thiem +550
Stefanos Tsitsipas +1600
Roger Federer +2000
Alexander Zverev +2200
Stan Wawrinka +5000
Juan Martin Del Potro +5000
Boran Coric +6600
Daniil Medvedev +6600
Kei Nishikori +6600

*Odds taken on 05/20/19. 

Nadal has won a record 11 men’s singles crowns at Roland-Garros.

See our French Open odds tracker to see how Nadal and all other contender’s odds have fluctuated throughout the year.

Rafael The Clay Ninja

He’s back. There’s nothing more to say. Through injury and upset, there was cause for concern that the reign of the greatest clay player in tennis history was done.

In his first three clay-court events, Nadal didn’t get past the semifinals. He lost to Stefanos Tsitsipas in Madrid, to Dominic Thiem in Barcelona and to Fabio Fognini in Monte Carlo.

Sunday’s 6-0, 4-6, 6-1 victory over Djokovic in the Italian Open final quelled the rumors of Nadal’s demise. It was his record 34th ATP Masters 1000 title.  It’s the 16th straight year he’s won a title, also an ATP record.

Nadal posted his ninth win in 11 Italian Open finals and his third there in five final appearances against Djokovic. He also handed Djokovic his first bagel set since the 2017 French Open quarterfinals.

It was the first 6-0 set ever between the two players, and it came in their 142nd set against each other.

Nadal’s French Occupation

A record 11 victories. Wins in each of the past two years. Since 2005, just three men not named Nadal have seen their name inscribed upon the singles championship trophy at Roland-Garros.

He won three 6-0 sets at the Italian Open and didn’t drop a set the entire tournament. He lost only 20 games in five matches.

Nadal scored his 20th victory over a world no. 1 player, also an ATP record. It was his record 25th Masters title on the same surface. At 32, he’s the oldest Italian Open winner during the open era. The victory was his first since the Rogers Cup last year.

Perhaps the scariest part for the other players at Roland-Garros isn’t that Nadal finally won a clay-court tournament. It’s that he dominated a clay-court tournament and still is of the belief that he’s yet to play his best tennis this year.

Novak Not Done

Despite his loss, Djokovic maintains his no. 1 ranking. He also reigns over three of the four legs of the tennis Grand Slam – the US and Australian Opens and Wimbledon.

Djokovic also arrived at Roland-Garros in 2016 owning all three of these jewels, and added the fourth by winning what remains his lone French Open men’s singles title. He beat Nadal in the quarterfinals of the 2015 French Open.

This was the 54th match between the two tennis titans. Djokovic still holds an overall 28-26 edge. Nadal is ahead 17-7 on clay and has captured his last three clay-court matches from Djokovic.

Anyone Else With A Chance?

Thiem lost to Nadal in the 2018 French Open final. He’s given Nadal a hard time on clay. Eleven of their 12 career meetings have come on clay. Nadal has won seven overall. Thiem has won two of the last three, and they are 3-3 in the last six matches.

Tsitsipas defeated Nadal in the semifinals at Madrid but the Spaniard avenged that with a straight-set seminal triumph in Italy.

Stan Wawrinka won the 2015 French Open. He’s played in two of the past four finals. Injuries have slowed him the past two seasons. He’s dropped to 27th in the world rankings.

A Showdown Awaits

It was Djokovic over Nadal in the Australian Open final. It’s difficult to see any other destiny unfolding at Roland-Garros.

Those two are likely to meet in the finals of the French Open. This time, it will be Nadal lifting his 12th trophy.

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