- Roger Federer was a surprise last-minute entry into the Italian Open
- Rafael Nadal won his record eighth tournament title last year
- Alexander Zverev has played in the last two Italian Open finals
A deep Italian Open field should make for a very competitive tournament. As a bettor, that’s exactly what you look for from an event.
World no. 1 Novak Djokovic is the top seed. He’s a four-time winner of this tournament. Rafael Nadal, second in the ATP rankings, is the second-seeded player.
2019 Italian Open Men’s Singles Odds
|Player||Odds at BookMaker|
*Odds taken on 05/11/19. Follow the link in the table above for a complete list of all players
Federer decided to enter at the last moment following his quarterfinal exit from the Madrid Open. The field also includes Dominic Thiem, Nadal’s most imposing clay-court opponent, as well as defending champion Alexander Zverev.
— Internazionali Bnl (@InteBNLdItalia) May 10, 2019
Seventeen of the ATP’s top-20 players are entered. Every event champion since 2005 will be in the field except Andy Murray (2016), currently recuperating from hip surgery.
Federer’s Surprise Announcement
Crashing out of the quarterfinals at Madrid to Thiem, Federer decided to enter the Italian Open.
⚠⚠ Breaking news ⚠⚠
— Internazionali Bnl (@InteBNLdItalia) May 11, 2019
He hasn’t played in Italy since 2016. Orginally, Federer listed the Madrid and French Opens as his only 2019 clay-court tournaments. He’s been assigned the no. 3 seeding.
Federer’s not enjoyed much success in Italy. He’s never won the tournament. Four times he was a losing finalist. As he’s aged, Federer, 37, generally avoided the bulk of the clay-court season to help with his overall fitness.
"It's been too long." — Genuinely surprised by this. Federer did not have Rome in his plans. He does now. Confirms that after consulting with his team, he will play the Italian Open next week. First time since 2016https://t.co/YnKeD8LINi
— Christopher Clarey (@christophclarey) May 11, 2019
Felix Mantilla beat Federer in the 2003 final. Nadal toppled him twice, in 2006 and 2013. Djokovic defeated Federer in 2015. Federer and Nadal staged an epic 57-game final in 2006. Nadal won 6–7(0-7), 7–6(7-5), 6–4, 2–6, 7–6(7-5).
Federer will make his first French Open appearance since 2015 when the second event of the tennis Grand Slam begins May 26 at Roland Garros.
Nadal An Italian Stallion
It should come as no surprise that the king of the Italian Open is Nadal. The world’s best clay court performer has won this tournament a record eight times. His most recent win came last year when he beat defending champion Zverev 6-1, 1-6, 6-3.
Nadal was just 18 when he won his first title in Italy in 2005. Considered perhaps the greatest clay court play in tennis history, Nadal owns open-era records for consecutive match (81) and set (50) wins, both established on clay court surfaces.
Only five players have won consecutive Italian Open titles in tournament history. Nadal has done this three times – in 2009-10 and 2012-13. And from 2005-07, he became the only player to win the event three years in a row.
Number One Is Number Two
The world’s top-ranked player and the top seed in this event, Djokovic owns four Italian Open titles. He’s played in the final four of the past five years.
Djokovic was the losing finalist in 2016 and 2017. He could see 16-seed Mario Cecchinato in the third round. It was Cecchinato who eliminated Djokovic from last year’s French Open.
Dominic Thiem is proving to be Nadal’s clay-court kryptonite. That might seem silly when you consider that Nadal owns a 3-2 edge over Thiem in their last five matches contested a clay surface.
Then again, winning 40-percent of clay-court matches from Nadal is superhero-quality tennis.
Earlier this year, Thiem downed Nadal in straight sets in the Barcelona semifinals. He’s the only player to defeat Nadal on a clay court since 2017.
If the form charts hold, they would clash in the quarterfinals.
Alex Is Great
Most tales about Zverev center on how he comes up short. In Italy, he’s come out on top.
Though he lost last year’s final to Nadal, he took a set from the master. That’s no easy feat on clay. It was also Zverev’s second straight finals appearance.
Zverev beat Djokovic in the 2017 final. That was his first Masters title, so he can’t be counted out here.
The Racquet Racket
This is a tough call. It would be easy to roll with Nadal, but he’s struggled on clay this year.
This is the fifth time for Djokovic as no. 1 seed. He’s reached the final three of four previous times. Roll with him as he preps for France.