Novak Djokovic and Serena Williams are the long-established world number ones and have not surprisingly been installed as the favourites to win the men’s and women’s singles events in Paris, but the French Open provides enormous betting opportunities for shrewd punters.
Djokovic has been the dominant force in the men’s game yet again in 2016 and notched up another Masters title at the Madrid Open, but Murray got the better of him in the final of the most recent big tournament, the Italian Open. Nadal and Kei Nishikori have also been consistently impressive over the past couple of months.
Serena Williams underlined her status as women’s No.1 with victory at the Italian Open, but it was actually her first title in nine months. Germany’s Angelique Kerber stunned Williams at the Australian Open, Victoria Azarenka triumphed in both Indian Wells and Miami and Simona Halep won in Madrid.
Rafael Nadal has won nine French Open titles and will always have a reputation as the king of clay, but last year it was Stan Wawrinka who defied the odds to defeat Djokovic in the French Open final. Williams claimed a third women’s crown in 2015 thanks to her victory over Lucie Safarova.
The French Open is the one major trophy missing from Djokovic’s overflowing cabinet of silverware and it will take something special to stop him from finally winning this year. Wawrinka produced the performance of his life to deny him last season and there are only a handful of players capable of reaching that sort of level. Murray is one of those and has never looked better equipped for a title assault. He will be in the opposite half of the draw to Djokovic and should reach his first French Open final if he maintains his current form, even if he lands in the same section as Nadal.
It is hard to see anyone but Djokovic or Murray winning, even Nadal, but Nishikori and Austrian youngster Dominic Thiem are also very dangerous customers and could be decent bets to reach the semi-finals at least, depending on where the draw puts them.
The women’s event is perhaps more open, with Halep looking very good value at 6/1 if you want to look beyond Williams. Muguruza of Spain has not had the year she might have envisaged after breaking through in 2015 but is coming into form at just the right time and, at 12/1, also looks a decent bet as she has the weapons to take down any opponent.
It is not just about the outright winners, of course, and the early rounds also present the chance to size up how everyone is performing. Among the longer shots who may be worth keeping an eye on are Irina-Camelia Begu (200/1) in the ladies’ singles and German teenager Alexander Zverev (200/1) in the men’s, who could both pull off a shock or two.
- Sports.net’s top tip: Andy Murray to reach the final – 13/8