With 2019 and the new season looming, our resident tennis betting expert Derek Bilton has scoured the markets to find the best value for you.
Who will finish next year as World No. 1 on the ATP Tour? Novak Djokovic is a 1/2 betting jolly. However it’s the price of Spanish rival Rafael Nadal at 9/2 that looks more interesting.
It was August 18 2008 when Nadal first became World No.1, his patience finally rewarded after an extraordinary wait of some 160 weeks as World No. 2 to usurp Roger Federer. He was 22 years old at that point and his career since then has been nothing short of remarkable.
Now 32 and with a few more miles on the clock, the indomitable Iberian has won 17 Grand Slams and in 2018 went 45-4 for the season. He claimed five titles including the French Open and might have added the US Open also had injury not blight his semi-final with Juan Martin Del Potro.
The big imponderable with Nadal will again be his fitness. He missed a lot of significant events in 2018 due to injury but still managed to finish as the number two ranked player in the world.
If he can stay healthy you would fancy him to again dominate on his beloved clay and also grind out some wins on hard courts. With this in mind 9/2 looks a decent price about him finishing next year as top dog once again.
Andy Murray is a 3/5 favourite with 888 Sport and betting sites India to finish 2019 as British No. 1. The Scot had reigned supreme as the top male player in Britain since as far back as 2006, but an injury-ravaged couple of seasons finally saw him relinquish his crown earlier this year to Kyle Edmund.
When the pair met at the Citi Open in Washington back in August – and Murray won in three sets – his world ranking had dropped to 832.
The Briton, now 31, ended his season early to focus on making “big improvements” for the forthcoming year, having played in just six events since returning from hip surgery in June.
Indeed has not played since losing to Spain’s Fernando Verdasco in the Shenzhen Open in September, but will utilise his protected ranking of world number two to gain entry to January’s Australian Open.
He was pictured last week undergoing a series of fitness exercises in Miami, and looks in good nick. However for punters who don’t feel his body will cope with the rigours of an increasingly demanding ATP Tour season, Edmund can be backed at 13/10 to still be British No. 1 this time next year.
One price that does look interesting is 888 Sport’s quote of 33/20 about Alex De Minaur ending 2019 as No. 1 in Australia. De Minaur enjoyed a breakout year in 2018, climbing to 31 in the world and reaching the Next Gen ATP finals.
He also made an ATP 500 final in Washington (lost to Alexander Zverev) and seems primed to go to a whole new level next year.
Nick Kyrgios is a 3/4 favourite to end 2019 as Australia’s No. 1, but the now familiar mental struggles that weigh so heavily on his play surely make him one to swerve at odds on?
In terms of pure talent there are not many players in the world who can hold a candle to Kyrgios, but the psychological side of his game make him hands down the most unpredictable and temperamental player on the Tour since a peak Marat Safin.
John McEnroe said of Kyrgios earlier this year: “He’s going to run himself out of the game” and if for whatever reason he doesn’t fully apply himself this season, young De Minaur could be the one to cash in.
Bilko’s Banker: Alex De Minaur to end 2019 as Australia’s No. 1 at 33/20 (888 Sport)
Best of the Rest: Rafa Nadal to finish as year-end World No. 1 at 9/2 (888 Sport)
We will have to wait a bit longer for clash No 39.
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