May is all about the build-up to the second Grand Slam of the season, with the French Open at Rolland Garros starting on May 27. Rafa Nadal will be trying to win his eleventh French Open Title in 14-years but he may well have added another couple of ATP Masters 1,000 Events to his CV beforehand as he’s set to play in both the Madrid Open and the Italian Open on route to Rolland Garros.
Nadal is then likely to take a break in the week before the French Open in an attempt to rest for what is widely perceived to be the most demanding of the Grand Slam Tournaments. However, whilst Nadal is resting, many of the other players will be hoping to claim a clay court win in the King of Clay’s absence in either the Lyon Open or the Geneva Open, both of which are ATP 250 Events.
April Men’s Tennis Results
Fayez Sarofim & Co Men’s Clay Court Championship – Steve Johnson
Grand Prix Hassan II – Pablo Andujar
Rolex Monte-Carlo Masters – Rafa Nadal
Barcelona Open – Rafa Nadal
Gazprom Hungarian Open – TBA
Millennium Estoril Open – TBA
TEB BNP Paribas Istanbul Open – TBA
Mutua Madrid Open (May 6-13)
May starts with two ATP Masters 1,000 Tournaments, the first of which is the Mutua Madrid Open. The tournament took place on hardcourts up until 2008 but was moved to the outdoor clay courts of the Caja Magica in 2009. Since its move, the tournament has only been won by the big-four of the modern men’s game, with Rafa Nadal winning four-times, whilst both Roger Federer and Novak Djokovic have won twice, and Andy Murray once. Those players have also provided several beaten finalists, with the other runner-ups comprising Tomas Berdych, Stan Wawrinka, Kei Nishikori, and Dominic Thiem. Nadal looks sure to start a warm favourite this year, with the likes of Novak Djokovic and Dominic Thiem also set to play along with Marin Cilic, Grigor Dimitrov, and Alexander Zverev. Federer continues his exile from the clay court season.
Internazionali BNL d’Italia (May 13-20)
After the Madrid Open, the clay court season quickly moves on to Rome where the Internazionali BNL d’Italia, also known as the Italian Open, which is another ATP Masters 1,000 Event, takes place on the outdoor clay courts of the Fore Italio.
It’s no surprise that Rafa Nadal is a seven-time winner of this event, though his seven wins came between 2005 and 2013, with him completing the Madrid Open and Italian Open only twice in 2010 and 2013. Only three other players have taken the title in Rome since 2005, with Novak Djokovic winning four titles and Andy Murray one.
The dominance of the big-four was broken last year though by rising star Alexander Zverev. There are not usually many shocks here though, as the last seven runner-ups have also either been Nadal, Djokovic, or Roger Federer. Nadal is set to play, whilst most of the other top-players involved in the Madrid Open are also set to make the short journey to Rome. An interesting statistic is that nine of the last ten finals have been won in straight sets.
Open Parc Auvergne-Rhone-Alpes Lyon (May 20-26)
The Open Parc Auvergne-Rhone-Alpes Lyon, or Lyon Open, is an ATP 250 Event which takes place in Lyon, France. Lyon used to host a hardcourt tournament up until 2009 but, after an absence from the tour of 8 years, it became the home of a new clay court tournament in 2017.
The inaugural event was won by Frenchmen Jo-Wilfred Tsonga. Tsonga looks set to return to defend his title, but the most likely favourite is last year’s French Open semi-finalist Domininc Thiem. They may be joined by the likes of John Isner, Hyeon Chung, Jack Sock, Gael Monfils, and Gilles Simon.
Banque Eric Sturdza Geneva Open (May 21-26)French Open (May 27 – June 10)
The French Open is the second Grand Slam of the season and the only one of the four Grand Slams to take place on clay. It began in 1891 but has been played on the red clay courts of the iconic Rolland Garros Stadium in Paris since 1928. When fit, Rafa Nadal has dominated the tournament, winning from 2005 to 2008 and 2010 to 2014. He returned from a couple of years of injury wilderness to put up one of his most dominant performances yet when capturing his tenth French Open Title in 2017. The only other players to have won the French Open since 2005 are Roger Federer, Novak Djokovic, and Stan Wawrinka.
French Open 2018 Betting
Rafa Nadal 1/2, Dominic Thiem 14/1, Novak Djokovic 14/1, Alexander Zverev 20/1, Juan Martin del Potro 25/1, David Goffin 40/1, Nick Kyrgios 40/1, Grigor Dimitrov 40/1, Hyeon Chung 50/1, Marin Cilic 50/1, Kei Nishikori 50/1, Stan Wawrinka 50/1.
The Story of the 2017 French Open
Rafa Nadal’s dominance of the French Open is the stuff of legends and, whilst his dodgy knees may not be able to deal with the lower bouncing balls on the grass courts of Wimbledon, a flare-up of his well-documented knee problems is much less likely to occur on clay. Therefore, if you think that the end of Nadal’s clay court dominance is about to happen this year – a look back at the 2017 French Open may make you think again.
If memory serves, Nadal went off at a shade of odds-against last season, despite the absence of Roger Federer and the absence of any worthwhile form in the book for the likes of Djokovic, Murray, and Wawrinka. However, the bookies soon slashed Nadal to odds-on as he knocked out Benoit Paire and Robin Haase in straight sets without ever coming out of cruise control. Robert Bautista-Agut offered little in the way of resistance either, whilst another of Nadal’s fellow Spaniards Pablo Carreno-Busta had to retire after Nadal brutalised him in the early exchanges.
There was plenty of support around in the semi-finals for Dominic Thiem, after the young Austrian had beaten Djokovic in straight sets in the quarter-finals, but Thiem managed to win just five games as Nadal wowed the crowds. Those hoping that Wawrinka, a former French Open Champion, would surely put up a better show in the final – were wrong. Wawrinka managed to win just six games as Nadal won his tenth French Open without dropping a set.
Therefore, the big question is, are you going to be a player at 1/2 about Nadal winning his eleventh French Open in 14 years?
It may not be the biggest-price in the world, but it’s a much bigger price than it should be about a player who has won 10 of the last 13 renewals and posted his most dominant display yet last year.
If that price is too short, it will be interesting to see what price the bookies go about Nadal winning the 2018 French Open without dropping a set.