Unsurprisingly, Rafael Nadal is the odds on favorite in Madrid, Rome, and Roland Garros due his fantastic form on clay in 2018. The Monte Carlo and Barcelona Champion begins his Madrid Open title bid against Gael Monfils today, and is a heavy favorite to take the title in Madrid. The other leading contenders are former slam champions Juan Martin Del Potro, and Novak Djokovic, while Munich champion Alexander Zverev is another favorite. However, besides Nadal, all of these players are more than 3 to 1 odds to win the tournament.
Nadal should open as favorite in Rome presuming he plays, despite losing at the tournament last year, his last loss on clay. At the French Open Nadal has better than 2 to 1 odds presently, while Novak Djokovic, Dominic Thiem, Zverev, and Del Potro are all 15 to 1 or worse presently. A surprise name to feature in the early Roland Garros betting is South Korea’s Hyeon Chung, Chung, like Zverev, has never won a Grand Slam, but he’s posted steady results in season 2018 and will likely be the first Grand Slam champion from Korea at some point in his career.
With Roger Federer skipping the entire clay court season, all the money has rushed to Nadal, and if you fancy a bet on Nadal or one of the other clay court contenders check out NetBet Sport as a great place to play the odds and collect your winnings.
2017 WTA Western & Southern Open Preview and Predictions Niall Clarke, Tennis Atlantic
The tour heads south of the Canadian border to Cincinnati for the second Premier event in two weeks. Here is a rundown of the draw for the Western and Southern open.
Karolina Pliskova returns to Cincinnati to not only defend her title, but also her number one ranking. The Czech receives an opening round BYE before playing a qualifier in the second round. Kristina Mladenovic is the first seeded player in her section, but the Frenchwoman has struggled with injury lately and could face an early exit to either Daria Gavrilova or Katerina Siniakova.
Caroline Wozniacki heads into Cincy in fine form after her Rogers cup run last week, but going deep in back to back tournaments can be tough. Elena Vesnina or Caroline Garcia will welcome the Dane to Ohio in a difficult second round either way. Venus Williams is also in this section and will no doubt be the home favourite for the tournament.
Embed from Getty Images
Garbine Muguruza has found a little more consistency since winning Wimbledon, but she has yet to go all the way in a tournament in North America. The Spaniard could face America’s Lauren Davis first in the second round in a section full of home crowd favourites. Madison Keys and Coco Vandeweghe will meet in round one with the winner likely facing Daria Kasatkina. This is most definitely a stacked section.
Svetlana Kuznetsova had a disappointing Toronto campaign and will look to bounce back in Cincinnati in the upcoming week. The Russian could face Yulia Putintseva in round two then Jelena Ostapenko in the third round. Maria Sharapova was originally drawn to face the Latvian In round one, but the former world number one withdrew from the tournament.
Elina Svitolina’s fine year continued in Toronto and the Ukrainian heads into Cincinnati as one of the title favourites. She will have a tough second round opponent in the form of Lesia Tsurenko or Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova before potentially meeting Agnieszka Radwanska in the third round. The Pole has a difficult opener against Julia Goerges who has resurged this season though and could face an early exit.
Angelique Kerber’s poor season ahs left her outside of the top 10 in the race to Singapore, and with her US Open title defence incoming, she needs to find form and fast. The German faces either Ekaterina Makarova or Barbora Strycova in the second round, both present different but equally difficult challenges. Petra Kvitova’s comeback continues in Cincy where she will face the young and rising Anette Kontaveit In round one. The winner will face either Sloane Stephens or Lucie Safarova in the second round, a rematch of their Toronto quarter final.
Simona Halep, 2017 Citi Open (Photo: Tennis Atlantic)
Simona Halep is battling for the world number one ranking this week and is coming in off an overall positive week in Toronto that ended in disappointment. The Romanian has a good draw however with a qualifier in round two then Anastasija Sevastova in round three. The Latvian herself opens against Shuai Peng before meeting the winner of Timea Babos vs Roberta Vinci.
Johanna Konta lost at the first hurdle in Toronto so will be hoping for a more positive week south of the Canadian border. The Brit faces either big hitting Oceane Dodin or Kiki Bertens first in the second round before being projected to face Dominika Cibulkova in round three. The Slovakian has a tough draw however with young players such as Ana Konjuh and Cici Bellis in her section.
It is interesting to see where this tournament goes as there are so many possibilities, so it may come as a surprise that I have predicted the top seed to defeat the second seed in the final. The faster courts here suit Pliskova and I expect the two finalists from last week to have some mental and physical fatigue here, so their performances will not be as strong.
At the end of the day, I am an avid tennis fan. But at the beginning of the day, I am an avid fan of rules and regulations. As a trial lawyer, I am constantly arguing interpretation before the courts in which I practice. In addition, I chair a local regulatory agency where we are often asked to make decisions on intepreting rules and regulations in administrative hearings.
Rules? I love ’em. Without them, there would be chaos.
In January, I read a report on Tennis.com regarding spectators having been removed from the grounds of the ASB Classic and Heineken Open in Auckland, New Zealand for “using a handheld device, possibly to bet on specific points and take advantage of the delay of several seconds before other gamblers saw the points played on television”. According to the article, another man was ejected from Wimbledon last year for a similar offense.
This made me wonder: what kind of futuristic hand-held device could the transgressors have possessed? The answer is probably an I-phone.
Any cell phone can text scores to a third-party. Any smart phone can tweet scores through twitter to millions of people around the planet.
The Tennis Integrity Unit (TIU) was set up in September 2008 as a joint initiative of the ITF, ATP, WTA and the Grand Slam Committee to look into “betting-related corruption challenges that faced professional tennis,” according to its website. According to the article below, TIU keeps a “blacklist” of known on-site tennis bettors.
ATP Rule 6.09 (F) says no tournament shall allow or authorize
dissemination, transmission, publication or release from the grounds of the tournament any live match score, or any related live statistical data until :30 seconds after the actual occurrence.
All media areas shall be gambling-free zones, and any persons credentialed for such areas, if found to be gambling on tennis or passing insider information to third parties for use in connection with gambling, shall have their credentials revoked. Media credentials must contain a provision whereby the media member acknowledges and agrees that he/she will not disseminate, transmit publish or release from the grounds of the tournament any live match score, or any related live statistical data until :30 seconds after the actual occurrence of the incident of match play or action that leads to such live score update (e.g. a point being scored), and that such use shall be solely for news reporting and editorial use. Any media known to be working for gambling companies shall not be issued credentials. If found to be working for a gambling company after issuance of the credential, the credential shall be revoked.
A look around the web shows that these rules are being highlighted in media credential requests from Wimbledon, Auckland, Indian Wells and the Estoril Open. However, it doesn’t appear that these rules were mentioned prior to 2011. And without naming names, I have seen many tournament credentials that did not have the required warning language.
In order for a rule to work, people need to know that such a rule exists. The WTA is now strictly enforcing this rule in 2012, according to an unnamed tournament official.
Why enforce the rule? It apparently exists to prohibit illegal gambling, in the sense that it is illegal to place a bet on something where a bettor has an advantage by already knowing the result before he/she places the bet. Betfair and other websites allow you to not only bet on the outcome of the match, but also place a bet on each serve, the number of points a player will win in a given game and so on. So, it seems that pro tennis wants to protect internet gambling from…the internet. The added irony here is that ALL ONLINE GAMBLING IS ILLEGAL IN THE UNITED STATES. I have no sympathy for gambling companies in this instance. If they use technology to allow these second-by-second exotic bets, then it’s obvious that the companies will occasionally be burned by someone who can use the internet better than they can.
Tennis Betting is Big $$$
Tennis betting does nothing positive for the sport, so why protect it? I’m still unclear on that. However, it is crystal clear that you can not disseminate match data for thirty seconds.
So, if you’re a fan who live tweets a score, they would probably have to (1) find you on the grounds, and (2) issue you a warning before tossing you out. If you’re credentialed media, you’ve already been warned by the notice on the back of your press pass.
Don’t look for any live tweets of match scores, medical timeouts or other determinative information from our website’s twitter account.
In reality, by the time a tweet is typed and then uploaded on a smart phone, thirty seconds should easily have passed. In fact, the wireless data reception is often terrible at tournaments. The US Open is famous for jammed smart phones. I always thought it was because thousands of people were overloading the nearest tower. Now I wonder if something more deliberate is afoot, since WTA and ATP rules authorize tournaments to tweak their own wireless service providers to build in a delay at their choosing.
So love it or hate it, it’s the rule. You’ve been forewarned, tennis tweeps!