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Numbers add up to Nadal win

| 04.05.2017

Rafa worthy favourite in Monte-Carlo

Lovers of tennis betting move on to the Monte-Carlo Masters and, as usual, we have a weaker field than we would’ve hoped for. It has been a while since punters have enjoyed the top-four or five players in the world all going at it at one time, but it’s coming, with the French Open sizing up to be one of the most-competitive renewals in recent years.

Returning to the task at hand and in-form Roger Federer tops the missing list, with the 35-year-old Swiss star taking a slight break to allow his body to recover from the rigours of a winning start to the year. He is long enough in the tooth to know he must pick and choose his battles.

Australian Open Tennis

Nadal delighted to be back on clay

That leaves us with Rafael Nadal, who has had a nasty habit of finishing as runner-up in recent outings, to start the week as betting favourite with Coral traders. The Spaniard is fast-approaching his best tennis and the clay court season couldn’t have come around quickly enough for the popular 30-year-old.

Rafa went ever so close to marking his return to winning Grand Slam tournaments when going down in a five-set thriller to Fed-Ex earlier this year. That battle in Melbourne had the feel of the kind of tennis we were used to seeing five or more years ago, when these two great rivals were a constant fixture at the business end of major competitions.

France Tennis BNP Masters

Great price about Rafa answering his critics

Nadal was beaten, but all the time he shaped like a man who knew his best was coming, he wasn’t there yet, but it was in the post, and his rivals had better watch out when things do fall into place. Punters who want to keep Nadal close will find our 5/2 very agreeable, and if he plays to the best of his ability, that price will look massive.

Nadal is the main man around these parts, the stats prove that beyond all doubt. He holds the record for most titles won, on nine, the record for most consecutive titles won, on eight – between 2005 and 2012 – and the record for most matches won, 56. It’s difficult to back against a man boasting those numbers, and our team would rather give him the respect he deserves.

Traders aren’t being selfish here though, not at all. There’s still a few question marks hanging over Rafa. Is he fully fit? Will he be as good as he was? Can he live with the modern version of Djokovic and Murray? All that has been factored into the price, and punters will see the 5/2 as a slice of value, and well worth a go.

Andy Murray v Novak Djokovic - Rome Masters Final

Give Djokovic a break

Novak Djokovic has suffered a bit of an injury lay-off, and hasn’t enjoyed the kind of start to 2017 that he would’ve hoped for – knocked out of the Australian Open all too easily, a competition he had won six times before. Such was the level of criticism over Novak’s start to the year, it prompted Andy Murray to rush to his defence, telling the press that everyone needs to give his old rival a bit of a break.

The Serb is not playing the tennis of a confident man, but has won this title twice in the last four years, 2013 and 2015, beating Nadal in the latter. He has also finished runner-up a couple of times, 2009 and 2012, beaten by Nadal on both occasions. That would make him handy enough at 11/4, a real option if you wanted to take the jolly on. Patriotic punters should know the stats do nothing for Andy Murray, but he’s out there as a 4/1 third-favourite.

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Frank Monkhouse