In some ways, the ATP Tour feels less predictable than ever before going into 2020, but how are the big names likely to fare? Our tennis betting expert Derek Bilton takes a look, and he still believes in Rafael Nadal.
We looked recently at some of the 2020 betting ‘specials’ available for the Next Gen stars, but what of the old guard?
Stefanos Tsitsipas’ victory at last month’s ATP Finals was obviously significant, but the Greek and other young stars such as Alexander Zverev, Dominic Thiem and Daniil Medvedev have all yet to step up and claim a major.
Indeed since Wimbledon 2003, only 11 of 66 majors have been won by men not named Roger Federer, Rafael Nadal or Novak Djokovic. And tellingly of those 11, Andy Murray and Stan Wawrinka account for six.
It’s a crazy statistic, and the bookies are not sure there will be a changing of the guard anytime soon with Paddy Power going as short as 1/3 that ‘All 4 Slams in 2020 to be won by either Djokovic, Nadal or Federer’, and you could probably further improve those odds with a dutching calculator.
Djokovic remains freakishly consistent having won 16 Grand Slam singles titles, five ATP Finals titles, 34 ATP Tour Masters 1000 titles and 13 ATP Tour 500 titles. The silky Serb had also held the No. 1 spot in the ATP rankings for a total of 275 weeks.
He won five titles in 2019 including the Australian Open and Wimbledon. If you fancy his dominance to continue then he’s a 7/5 shout with Paddy Power to end his career having won more Grand Slam singles titles than Roger and Rafa.
That’s no foregone conclusion however as you would not bet against Federer adding to his current haul of 20 majors. The Swiss continues to defy the march of time. Federer turned 38 in August but still managed to finish the year in the top 3 in the world. He won Dubai, Miami, Halle and Basel and let’s not forget he had match points against Djokovic at Wimbledon.
He’s clearly no longer ‘The Man’ but his longevity is astonishing and he remains an elite player due to a combination of an almost supernatural talent and the fact he’s avoided the ruinous injuries that slowed down many of his peers. Talents such as David Nalbandian, Marat Safin and Andy Roddick have long since retired but Federer continues to produce the goods and I like the 6/4 on offer that he wins at least one Grand Slam next year.
Nadal is also a 6/4 chance with 888 Sport to finish next season as World No. 1 and he’s odds on (4/5) with the same firm to retain the French Open. At 33, Nadal is the oldest player to finish year-end No. 1 in the history of the ATP Rankings.
His position at the summit of the year-end ATP rankings was, ironically, confirmed when Federer beat Djokovic in London, and the Spaniard shows no sign of slowing down having won at Roland Garros and claiming the US Open in New York last season. If he stays healthy, then 6/4 looks a great shout as he remains peerless on clay and tough to beat on other surfaces.
And what of Mr Murray? The Briton was in tears in October after claiming his first singles title since hip surgery by beating Stan Wawrinka in European Open final. And if you believe in fairytales you can get a top price 20/1 with 888 Sport about Murray winning Wimbledon next summer.
It promises to be an interesting season as the old timers continue to dominate the tennis landscape, and it’s clearly going to take a massive effort from the Next Gen stars to dislodge them. As Plato once said ‘He who is of calm and happy nature will hardly feel the pressure of age, but to him who is of an opposite disposition youth and age are equally a burden’. Look for Nadal’s megawatt smile to shine again next season.
Bilko’s Banker: Rafael Nadal to be World No. 1 as of 30 November 2020 at 6/4 (888 Sport)
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