- Rafael Nadal has won a record five times at the Mutua Madrid Open
- Alex Zverev is the defending champion
- Novak Djokovic is 2-0 in the Madrid finals versus Nadal
The clay court season is normally one big yawn as Rafael Nadal dominates and rocks all of his opponents to sleep. He has a record five career titles in Madrid and – at one point – had won 55 of his last 57 clay court matches.
However, he’s now just 4-2 in his last six and has looked shaky this season. Is he worth backing as the favorite here or is there a better bet?
2019 Madrid Open Odds
|Player||Odds at Bovada|
|Juan-Martin Del Potro||+2800|
*Odds taken May 5, 2019. For a full list of players click the link in the table
What’s the Story With Nadal?
It’s a bit of an odd time for Rafael Nadal, who is still the reigning King of Clay. We might be seeing a changing of the throne, though, as he hasn’t played well on the red surface this season. He’s fresh off a loss to No. 3 Dominic Thiem in straight sets in the semifinals of the Barcelona Open.
Prior to that, he lost to No. 13 Fabio Fognini in the semfinals in Monte Carlo.
It’s a bit odd because Nadal has dominated at these events in recent years. He had won 30 straight matches at these events (combined) over the last three years, going 10-0 in 2018, 2017 and 2016. It makes you wonder if he’s in fact being bothered by a bad wrist.
— ATP Tour (@ATP_Tour) April 20, 2019
Footage recently surfaced of Nadal having an issue with his wrist in a practice session and he was very terse when the media asked him about, offering a one-word answer of “Yes” when he was asked if his wrist is fine.
He’s also had abdominal, ankle, thigh and knee problems over the last six months. I’ll pass on him at this event until I see him play better.
Bet on Djokovic?
Djoker is among the favorites at this event as he’s second in line behind Nadal.
However, he’s not someone who plays great on clay, so he’s not worth the price tag here. He’s coming off a loss to Daniil Medvedev at in the quarters at Monte Carlo. He also lost in the second round of the Madrid Open last year, falling to Kyle Edmund. I’ll pass on Djokovic here.
— Mutua Madrid Open (@MutuaMadridOpen) May 4, 2019
Thiem on the Rise
Thiem is third in line among the favorites and he’s someone I’m interested in betting given the current price tag. We’re talking about a player who is No. 5 in the world right now and has already picked up a couple of big wins this season. He won at Indian Wells and Barcelona.
Clay is definitely his surface as he went 20-7 on clay last year, 22-5 in 2017 and 25-7 in 2016. By comparison, he was just 14-8 on all other surfaces in 2018.
In terms of his draw, it’s not bad as he may have to deal with Fognini – who won in Monte Carlo – but he’ll dodge No. 3 Alex Zverev, No. 2 Rafael Nadal and No. 12 Medvedev until the finals. He’s on the same side as Roger Federer and Djokovic, but neither excel on clay.
Let's have fun and keep it civil.