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Nadal or Djokovic – Who should be the French Open favourite?

| 26.04.2015

Given it’s 20/1 bar Novak Djokovic and Rafael Nadal in the men’s singles betting to win the French Open, it is clearly being regarded as a straight shootout between the pair as to who will lift the title at Roland Garros.

In the blue corner is Djokovic, the current world number one and ATP Tour’s form player.

The Serb has already won four titles in 2015, he is on a 17-match winning streak and is the first player to ever win the first three events in the Masters series in the same season, following hard-court successes in Indian Wells and Miami with another on the clay of Monaco.

Significantly, Djokovic beat Nadal in straight sets in the semi-finals of the Monaco Masters and has now beaten Nadal in five of their last six head-to-heads, including two of their last three on clay.

The big negative is that he has never won the French Open, making the semi-finals twice and being a beaten finalist twice in the last four years.


Novak Djokovic has been invincible in recent weeks

It is the slower nature of clay courts, especially Paris’ Grand Slam, that nullifies the attributes that give him an edge on other surfaces, most notably a flat serve and quick side-to-side movement.

In the red corner is Nadal, the owner of the King of Clay nickname and winner of the French Open on nine of his 10 appearances.

His only defeat in 67 matches on the red clay of Roland Garros came in the fourth round in 2009 to Robin Soderling.

However, as much as he has the course form, his 2015 record leaves a little to be desired.


Rafael Nadal has played as if he has been half asleep in 2015

Nadal has only reached one final all season and most recently was upset by Fabio Fognini at the Barcelona Open. Between 2005 and 2014, he lost only 14 matches on clay from over 300, yet he has already been beaten three times on the surface this season.

Injuries are also taking their toll, as doubts remain over whether he has fully overcome the back complaints from last season, while he sprained his ankle in Miami too.

On the plus side, Nadal only reached the quarter finals in Monaco and Barcelona last season, but got his game together in time to drop only two sets en route to winning the French Open.

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The French Open betting has Djokovic as the 11/10 favourite, with Nadal in the unusual position of being a 2/1 underdog.

Djokovic has to be considered the rightful favourite, but Nadal remains the value bet.

All Odds and Markets are correct as of the date of publishing.

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Craig Kemp

Craig has written for Ladbrokes since the 2010 World Cup, having previously gained a Media & Sports Journalism degree and contributed to publications including the Racing Post. His main areas of interest are horse racing and UFC, but he is also an avid X Factor gambler and likes nothing more than indulging in a spot of Hip Hop Karaoke.