All eyes will be on Rafael Nadal at the French Open and Al Dannity feels the Spaniard is ready to reclaim his crown.
Return to form The King of clay is back. After battling injuries for the last year, Rafael Nadal is back to his usual dominant form on clay. The four-time French Open champion beat last year’s winner, Roger Federer, in the final of the Madrid Open last week to cement his place as the clear favorite in Roland Garros.
The road to redemption has been nothing short of staggering. Nadal’s air of invincibility vanished when Robin Soderling inflicted the Spaniard’s first ever defeat at Roland Garros. In 2010 he has done everything possible to reassert the image of an unbeatable clay court master. Nadal won in Monte Carlo, Rome, and Madrid making him the first player to ever win all three titles in one season and amassed a perfect 15-0 record on clay for the season in the process. It feel strange saying this but Sports Interaction’s price of -286 is good value on this form.
Don’t count out Federer You could only find +275 odds on Roger Federer for Roland Garros. In any other Grand Slam he would be an overwhelming favorite. This value can’t be discounted but Nadal’s dominance isn’t the only reason to be wary of backing the World Number 1. Federer’s form since winning the Australian Open has been anything but stellar. While a slump in Federer’s form is typically the kind of performance most players would kill for, the Swiss superstar has only made one final since victory in Melbourne.
Still there are reasons to think he can overcome the whiff in Madrid and rise to the occasion in Paris. Federer’s season is back on the upward swing, having reached the semi finals in Estoril before that loss in Madrid to Nadal. He isn’t my pick to win Roland Garros but even without knowing the draw until tomorrow I don’t see Federer coming up against anyone capable of beating him before the semi-finals. Give he’s lost only 3 Grand Slam semi finals ever, as opposed to 22 wins, I would be surprised if he doesn’t get at least a crack at Nadal in the final.
One underdog stands out Robin Soderling’s ascent to the world’s elite has been meteoric. The Swede made a name for himself with that historic victory over Nadal last year and made it to the ATP Tour Finals at the end of last season. He has continued to play steadily in 2010 claiming his biggest win to date with victory in Rotterdam. In recent weeks Soderling’s performances have been less impressive however which has allowed him to become a great value option at +3300. I expect Soderling to put in a solid performance at Roland Garros and he’s certainly got the best value of any outsider.