The 2019 season is just around the corner and our tipster Derek Bilton is back with some tennis betting ‘Specials’ for the year ahead.
Britain’s top tennis players will presumably by now have started their preparations in earnest for next season, and Betfair have produced a range of ‘Special’ bets ahead of the new campaign.
2018 was a strange year for the Brits with Andy Murray forced to write off virtually a whole season due to injury and Johanna Konta enduring a miserable time of it on the WTA Tour.
Kyle Edmund took over from Murray as British No 1 earlier this year, his elevation owing as much to Murray’s enforced injury sabbatical as his own rapid improvement. There is no question though that Edmund has made great strides in 2018, memorably wiping away tears of joy as he secured a maiden ATP title after blasting past Gael Monfils to win the European Open in Antwerp.
He also made a Grand Slam semi-final in Australia at the start of the year and his gradual ascent towards the top table of the men’s game should continue in 2019. In his forehand, the Yorkshireman truly has one of the best weapons in the sport and he is a 14/1 chance to win a Grand Slam with Betfair in 2019. Realistically his best chance will probably come Down Under in January, and if he can build on last year’s brilliant run in Melbourne you couldn’t rule him out.
Konta finished 2017 with two WTA titles and more than £2m in prize money. She also memorably enjoyed a run to the last-four at Wimbledon, the first British female to do so since 1978. However, 2018 was for the most part a huge disappointment. She has slipped to 37 in the WTA rankings and split with coach Michael Joyce (the third time in as many seasons she has changed her coach).
All is not lost though. Konta is still only 27 and has recently linked up with Dimitri Zavialoff. The Frenchman was Stan Wawrinka’s first coach, and also helped Timea Bacsinszky break into the world’s top 10.
At her best Konta was a player with a penetrating serve who used to fearlessly crash the ball crosscourt and go for the lines. If Zavialoff can get her playing to her strengths again it’s not beyond the realms of possibility that the former world No 4 can return to business end of big events. Betfair make her a 4/1 chance to reach one or more Grand Slam singles final in 2019.
Another positive in 2018 was the emergence of Jack Draper. Draper became the youngest British Futures winner since Andy Murray 15 years ago, and to show that Nottingham win was no fluke, he picked up his second Futures title at Roehampton soon after.
A 6ft 2in leftie with a seriously destructive serve and fizzing forehand, Draper looks to have all the physical attributes to make some serious noise on the Tour. The next couple of years are obviously going to be crucial but if he continues to apply himself his future looks bright.
That Nottingham victory made him the only 16-year-old to feature in the top 1000 of the men’s rankings and he has the potential to be very special. So punters who like to play the long game might be interested in the 20/1 Betfair are quoting about Draper to win a Wimbledon singles title before the end of 2024.
Draper made the Wimbledon Boys’ Singles final in the summer and clearly relishes playing at home and on grass. With a bit of luck and a lot of graft and single-minded determination he could become a real star over the next five years.
Bilko’s Banker: Kyle Edmund to win a Grand Slam in 2019 at 14/1 (Betfair)
Best of the Rest: Jack Draper to win a Wimbledon singles title by the end of 2024 at 20/1 (Betfair)
Follow Derek Bilton on Twitter @Biggravybilton
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