Can Rafael Nadal reclaim his beloved French Open (also known as Roland Garros) crown for a record 14th time and, in turn, win an incredible 22nd Grand Slam title? That’s the heady task facing the undisputed King of Clay in Paris later this month.
Nadal tops the French Open odds board as the favorite to win, but it won’t be straightforward for the 35-year-old Spaniard by all accounts.
Longtime rival and defending champion Novak Djokovic is steadily gathering pace as he looks to win his second straight French Open title and 21st Grand Slam title in the City of Lights.
Elsewhere, the new kid on the block, Carlos Alcaraz, is enjoying a meteoric rise in the rankings as he throws down the gauntlet in a big way. Whilst plenty of other clay-court specialists that are set to descend on the French capital will be looking to upset the apple cart too.
In this column, we preview the current French Open betting market on offer at BetUS and serve up some way too early thoughts.
2022 French Open Betting Preview
The Players To Beat
Does the buck stop here? The resounding answer, yes!
Rafael Nadal and Novak Djokovic are the two winningest players on the ATP Tour at the grand slam level. Nadal leads with 21 grand slam titles after he won the Australian Open earlier this year. Djokovic nips at his heels with 20 grand slam titles after picking up three of the four grand slams last season, including the 2021 French Open.
Nadal’s clay-court swing this year was significantly shortened by a rib injury, which he sustained in Indian Wells in March. The Spaniard is relying on his campaign at the Mutua Madrid Open (lost in quarterfinals to Alcaraz) and his upcoming Rome Masters bid to get him ready for Roland Garros.
Djokovic, in the meanwhile, returned to fulltime ATP play at the Monte-Carlo Masters at the start of April. He’s put together a 6-4 record on clay, highlighted by a runner-up finish in Serbia (l. to Rublev) and a semifinal finish in Madrid (l. to Alcaraz). He too will be relying on a successful bid in Rome to sharpen his skills for the French Open.
Carlos Alcaraz isn’t some nondescript distant star of the future. He’s already here! Arriving with a verve and swagger that belie his years to shake up the status quo. There simply aren’t enough superlatives or hyperbole to describe the kid!
Rafa #Nadal on Carlos #Alcaraz: “When you’re young and very strong the process is faster than that of normal guys. In the same way Novak #Djokovic wasn’t a normal guy, Roger #Federer wasn’t a normal guy, probably I wasn’t too. He’s our heir and I’m happy to see him at this level” pic.twitter.com/3Hf1xyALHh
— Mario Boccardi (@marioboc17) May 6, 2022
In Madrid, the 18-year-old became the first player ever to beat both Nadal and Djokovic on clay in the same tournament. That fact alone underscores his lofty tennis odds to win the French Open. Indeed, Alcaraz is priced shorter than Djokovic right now.
How Alcaraz performs in Rome this week will further cement his place among the top bets at Roland Garros. Should the teen phenom win the Internazionali BNL d’Italia title, he would not only surpass Nadal in the year’s ATP Tour points race (currently trails by 70 points), but he would almost certainly be the player to beat in Paris.
Stefanos Tsitsipas feels like the odd one out in this group with tennis betting that is twice those of Alcaraz and Djokovic and three times larger than those of Nadal. And yet, the Greek has been one of the most consistent clay-court players in the last couple of years after Nadal and Djokovic. He won the Monte-Carlo Masters title in April and was featured in the quarterfinals of Barcelona (l. to Alcaraz) and the semis of Madrid (l.to Zverev).
Alexander Zeverev leads this group of contenders with odds in the quadruple digits. Zverev was a semifinalist in Monte-Carlo (l. to Tsitsipas) and he reached the Madrid Open final (l. to Alcaraz). Rome is Zverev’s last chance to advance his cause as a legitimate contender in Paris.
“Right now you are the best player in the world.” @AlexZverev with high praise for @alcarazcarlos03 in Madrid. #MMOPEN pic.twitter.com/JtRbwAlcYZ
— Tennis TV (@TennisTV) May 8, 2022
After Zverev, the list of players identified as contenders is superfluous with several players that probably shouldn’t be included.
To begin with, Daniil Medvedev and Matteo Berrettini haven’t lifted a racquet in a couple of months due to injury. Both face unknown timelines for a return to play, although even if they did return in time for the French Open the lack of matchplay will be a huge factor.
Another player in this group that is questionable is Dominic Thiem. During his heyday, the Austrian was a serious threat on clay and reached the French Open final twice., however, he too is coming off an injury layoff and simply doesn’t have enough matchplay under his belt.
Only Andrey Rublev (winner in Serbia), Alejandro Davidovicj-Fokina (runner-up in Monte-Carlo), Jannik Sinner, and Casper Ruud are legitimate contenders that can justify their respective odds. Having said that, they would need a lot of help from the draw – and divine intervention – to have a sliver of a chance of winning the year’s second grand slam on the ATP calendar.
The aforementioned group of players can be classed as the so-called “pretenders” with odds that range between +5000 and +7000. The probability of a player with these kinds of odds winning a grand slam are very low indeed. Miniscule might be a better adjective actually.
The best way to illustrate the probability of such an occurrence is in percentages. So, for example, odds of 50/1 have a 2% chance of success, and odds of 60/1 have a 1.6% chance of success.
Photos of the Year:
Stan the Man! Stanislas Wawrinka defeats Novak Djokovic in four sets to win the French Open. pic.twitter.com/O9t4lVbUM1
— Sky Sports (@SkySports) December 31, 2015
The aforementioned players are just some of the many longshots of the tournament – too many to cover individually in this column. Suffice it to say that if a player’s odds are pegged above +10000, then it’s the quintessential longshot bet. This means it would take a near miracle for a player in this group to triumph. In short, betting this group of players for the fainthearted.
Top Two Bets:
Pick: Rafael Nadal +137
Pick: Carlos Alcaraz +200