Is the King of Clay slowly relinquishing his throne? Is the 32-year-old’s reign at Roland Garros coming to an end?
It’s the question many are asking these days as Rafael Nadal recently failed to reach the final at Monte Carlo and Barcelona, tournaments he had won the last three consecutive seasons. The tennis superstar then lost in Madrid for his third straight semifinal elimination on clay this season.
“Tennis is about winning or losing. I’ve won a lot over the years on this surface, but this year it hasn’t been the case. I’ve been really close, but I haven’t been able to win,” said Nadal, an 11-time winner at the French Open, which opens on May 26 and runs through June 9 at the iconic outdoor clay courts in Paris.
It was an uncharacteristic streak of disappointing results for the Spaniard, who hadn’t arrived in Madrid without a title since 2004. Still, Nadal (+120) is the huge favorite in the French Open Odds 2019. Novak Djokovic (+200) is the second choice, while Dominic Thiem (+400), who lost in the 2018 final to Nadal, is the third pick (French Open Betting Odds provided by Bovada).
Simona Halep (+450) is the defending champion and top pick in the Roland Garros Odds Women. She’s followed by three-time French Open champ Serena Williams (+650) and Kiki Bertens (+800).
Nadal’s reign at Roland Garros has lasted more than a decade, so he’s certainly a deserving favorite despite his puzzling play of late.
So, how much money can a bettor make on the Spaniard at +120? The plus sign in front of the odds indicates the amount of profit a bettor earns on a $100 bet. If Nadal wins this Grand Slam event for the 12th time, a bettor will earn a total return of $220 on a $100 bet ($100 bet + $120 profit = $220 total return) — or $22 on a $10 bet.
Halep, the favorite in the French Open Odds on the women’s side, is an attractive +450. That means a bettor will earn a total return of $550 on a $100 bet on the No. 2-ranked player in the world ($100 bet + $450 profit = $550 total return).
Top-ranked online sites like Bovada will also offer prop bets on the second Grand Slam event of the season, and these wagers often gain a lot of interest because they aren’t just about picking the winner of a match or event.
The French Open is one of four Grand Slam tournaments played each year. The other premier events are the Australian Open, Wimbledon and the U.S. Open.
The French, which was created in 1891 and played since 1928 on the clay courts of Roland Garros, has been held annually over two weeks in May and June. Let’s take a look at the top three favorites in the men’s and women’s brackets and try to pick a winner in each (odds provided by Bovada):
The No. 2 player in the world has made it to the French Open final in three of the last five years, finally winning her first Grand Slam event in 2018. The Romanian star, who has been ranked as the best player in the world twice, had a great performance in Madrid before losing in the final.
“I like her game, I like how she plays on clay because on clay you need to be a complete player, both physically and mentally,” seven-time Grand Slam champion Justine Henin said of Halep.
Williams holds the most Grand Slam titles in singles, doubles and mixed doubles combined among active players. Her 39 major titles place her in a tie for third on the all-time list and second in the Open Era.
But it’s been nearly two months since the 37-year-old has competed in a tournament and her path to victory at Roland Garros is filled with hurdles to overcome. She could face her sister Venus in the second round and last year’s runner-up in Sloane Stephens in the round of 16. And then the matches get even tougher. Williams has beaten the odds many times before, but her fourth French Open title appears to be a tough hill to climb.
With no one dominating on the circuit this season, this may be the year for Bertens to break through and win her first major. The 27-year-old from the Netherlands has been getting better with every tournament this season and she capped off her great play with her second victory of the year in the Madrid Open.
Bertens beat four Grand Slam champs — Stephens, Halep, Petra Kvitova and Jelena Ostapenko — and never dropped a set in Madrid. This was her finest performance of her career, but she has never made it past the semifinals in a major.
Pick — Bertens (+800)
Nadal is unquestionably the greatest clay court player of all time. He has never lost a final at Roland Garros. But after three consecutive losses on clay this season, even Nadal is beginning to wonder if his dominance may be slipping away. The superstar has won a clay court title in each of the last 15 seasons and remains the tour’s most successful player on the surface.
“I’ll keep trying until I can to keep playing at a high level,” Nadal said. “And If I can keep doing that, I will continue to have chances. If not, then that’s it.”
This surface is not Djokovic’s best, but that doesn’t mean he can’t win at Roland Garros. The 2016 champion is one-for-four in French Open finals, but he has had much better success in the other three majors.
The 31-year-old Serb is currently the top player in the world. The powerful right-hander has won 15 Grand Slam singles titles and is coming off a huge victory at the Madrid Open. After losing early in Indian Wells, Miami and Monte Carlo, he didn’t drop a set in Madrid, and he edged one of the top contenders for the French Open, Dominic Thiem, in two tiebreakers in the semifinals.
The 25-year-old Austrian is clearly one of the best players in the world on the red clay. Thiem has two victories already this season, including a recent win in Barcelona where he swept Nadal in straight sets in the semifinals.
“I’ve not changed my opinion that Rafa is always the biggest favorite for any clay title,” Thiem said. “But I love Roland Garros, for the past three years I’ve played well. I hope this can continue.” Thiem, who has reached the semifinals at the French in each of the last three years, has yet to win a Grand Slam event in his young career.
Pick — Djokovic (+200)
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