- Rafael Nadal was 30-0 over the last three years at Monte Carlo and Barcelona
- Nadal is 57-8 on clay in his career
- Nadal’s odds at the French Open have dropped from -110 to as high as +135
Rafael Nadal has lost in back-to-back clay-court events. With the 2019 French Open right around the corner, is it time for bettors to get a little concerned?
His average French Open odds have dropped, but let’s take a look at his recent play and determine if he’s a good bet at Roland-Garros.
2019 French Open Men’s Singles Odds
|Player||Odds to win 2019 French Open|
|Juan Martin Del Potro||+4000|
*Odds taken April 30, 2019
Nadal Stumbles in Monte Carlo, Barcelona
It’s odd to see Nadal taking some L’s in the clay-court part of the season. As far as we know, he’s supposedly in good health. However, we’ve seen some concerning moments from him as we get closer to the French Open.
We’re talking about a player who has a 57-8 record on clay, so this is surprising.
Nadal lost in the semifinals at the Monte-Carlo Masters, losing in straight sets to No. 13 Fabio Fognini. Sure, if you want to label that as a one-off, that’s fine. But he again lost in the semifinals at a clay event this week, falling to No. 3 Dominic Thiem in Barcelona. We’re talking about a player who has a 57-8 record on clay, so this is surprising.
Even Nadal can't believe that one ?
— ATP Tour (@atptour) April 27, 2019
For contrast, Nadal was a perfect 10-0 at these two tournaments last year, 10-0 in 2017 and 10-0 in 2016. The last time he lost at these events was in 2015. In 2015 and 2016, he failed to win the French Open, which is the only two years he’s failed to do so since 2009.
Should You Be Concerned?
The simple answer is yes. The loss to Fognini can maybe be written off as him returning from an injury layoff but what about the loss to Thiem – a player he previously had beaten eight times in 11 meetings?
More concerning are some of his wins as he needed three sets to beat Leo Mayer in the first round at Barcelona. He shouldn’t need to go the distance in the first round of a clay event.
— ATP Tour (@atptour) April 24, 2019
What to Do With Madrid?
That’s the big question right now. If Nadal is truly fighting through pain, he’s probably better off skipping Madrid. The French Open is about a month away and if he’s banged up, rest is what will serve him best. At the same time, if he’s still just fighting to get back into form, then playing in Madrid would be useful.
— Uday Kiran Sharma ?? (@KiranUdaych) April 27, 2019
What we don’t want to see is him fighting through pain to get back into form for the French Open. It’s a delicate balance but given the way he’s playing, he’s probably not going to win Roland-Garros if he’s in fact dealing with some kind of an injury.
What’s the Play?
His struggles have dropped him a little bit in terms of the odds and at +135 at sportsbooks, I’ll take that bet.
Onto the third round, where he'll face @davidferrer1982 ..
Tho it was not his finest performance but the main thing is that he won the match…. which is more important for his confidence and for the upcoming tournaments especially @rolandgarros#bcnopenbs #ATP #Nadal #Vamos pic.twitter.com/7nhLoUSyO3
— Fedal Tennis (@TennisFedal) April 24, 2019
The challenge with the French Open is that it’s typically a wide-open event outside of Nadal. It’s Roger Federer’s worst surface and same with Novak Djokovic. Beyond them, anyone can rise.
The one consistent tends to be Nadal. That being the case, I’ll invest a small bet on him here. He can elevate his game for a couple of weeks and then rest during the grass court part of the season.