It’s that time of the year again, when the relatively short grass court tennis season reaches it’s climax with the start of the Wimbledon championships.
This year, the pre-Wimbledon tournaments have had an interesting twist to them as the two main favorites in the mens draw didn’t show us much tennis by which to asses their grass court form. Federer withdrew from the tournament in Halle while Nadal wasn’t 100 % for the tournament at Queens Club and ended up losing to Tsonga. But let’s dive right in and take a closer look at both the mens and womens draws and see where the trading opportunities might lie and where we can find value.
The men’s draw
Federer is the main favorite with Nadal at a slight distance. Nothing new under the sun, especially when these are the two players that played the French Open final a few weeks ago.
Federer is currently the favorite to win Wimbledon and trading around 3.30-3.35 . I partially agree, since he has one of the easiest draws till the semi-final where he might face Djokovic; there are no players that can threaten him. This year he also has the motivational factor on his side as he will be looking to regain the number one spot but most importantly he will be looking to win more slam. I have said it before, as at this stage of his career, the important tournaments for Federer are the Grand Slams and for the next 3-4 he will always be a contender in most of them.
At the French he went a little bit under the radar as Nadal and Djokovic were making all off the headlines during the clay court season, but Federer proved he still has grand slams in him and Wimbledon is a great place for him to win another one. It will not be as easy as in the times when he was dominating the grass seasons but he is a real contender and the odds clearly reflect that.
Taking in consideration the draw, anything above 3.75 is value on Federer – according to my ratings – and if you want to back lower there is still some value left and you can trade out as the tournament progresses.
I see it tough for Nadal to defend his title this year. He wasn’t playing his best tennis is the first rounds in Paris, and was a bit lucky to have met Federer in the final – if we would have met Djokovic things would certainly have been different.He has played two matches at Queens and hasn’t shown anything notable in either match. The first round matches at Wimbledon will reveal more about his current form. He’s currently available at odds between 3.65-3.85 which is a fair assessment but there are a few question marks for me as far as rating his form goes, but overall I see him having a tough tournament.
Murray, despite his ankle injury, has had a good run of late, managing to reach the semi-final of the French Open – which is his best performance there – and won the Queens Club tournament for the second time in his career. So his form does suggest that he might do well in this year’s edition of Wimbledon. But the problem with Murray is that despite the fact that he can win against any player he comes a little bit tired in the important matches in grand slams because he has spent way to much time on court in early rounds. If he manages to have an easy tournament till the semi-final where he might meet Nadal, then he just could get into the final. He doesn’t have the easiest of draws with players like Cilic, Gasquet and Roddick as potential opponents; opponents that have created a lot of problems for Murray in the past. The ideal situation for Murray is for him to have played a few “testing” matches before reaching the semi-final, but the kind of matches that test a player and give them confidence and do not take a lot from him physically and mentally.
Murray’s current odds are around 7.2-8.00, if they have anything above 10 I would have suggested you take them but under the current situation I prefer to see how the first rounds go and then asses how things might progress.
I think the loss against Federer, helped Djokovic in terms of pressure. He was on that incredible winning streak and all the attention was on him. One thing I like about Djokovic, is that he is more mature now in his game and doesn’t waste much time in early round of grand slams and spends only the minimum required time on court. He was a bit unfortunate to not have won against Federer at the French – the day off when he didn’t play against Fognini didn’t help him at all – and claim the number one position but he has a good chance doing it here at Wimbledon. He is currently priced around 4.9 – 5.1 which again I have to say is a correct rating.
The rest of the pack
To win or even to have a change at winning at Wimbledon or doing well on grass there are 4 main qualities a tennis player has to have. The first quality is an exceptional serve, the second is a good forehand, the third is a good enough backhand slice and the fourth is to have a good game at the net. There are a number of players that fit the bill and they are Roddick, Berdych, Soderling, Tsonga and Raonic. But I see it hard for any of this players to take on the four main favorites in terms of winning the tournament.
Overall the prices are around where they should be with the exception of Murray and Nadal, so for now it’s all about spotting opportunities as the tournament progresses.
The women’s draw
The Williams sisters are back and if we take in consideration the fact that 9 of the last 11 Wimbledon titles has a Williams name on it, than it’s certainly is going to have an impact.
When Sharapova in close to 100% fit then she is a real contender at Wimbledon. Not only is she 100% fit for this tournament, but she has also showed some great form leading up to Wimbledon. She is a former champion here and know she can win it again, but sadly for us traders the odds are far to low at 5.8-6.2 in order for us to back her.
Along with Maria Sharapova, Serena is one of the two main favorites to win the championships. She only played the tournament in Eastbourne but I believe she is fit enough and granted that she has a few good first rounds, then she is certainly a real contender for the title. The odds do have some value in them but it’s hard to make a correct assessment when the a player has just come back after a extended period of inactivity. Again, the first few rounds should be revealing Serena’s form.
With Venus, it’s basically a similar situation to that of Serena’s. She is priced at odds of around 10-12 which I’m willing to back as they represent value. Venus is a former champion here and I would have expected her to be rated as second favorite along with her sister, instead of Sharapova. Again, good odds on Venus as you can hedge your profit as the tournament progresses.
The rest of the pack
Na Li, Kvitova, Azarenka, Stosur, Bartoli and Hantuchova are all players that can have somewhat of on impact on the tournament. It’s hard to tell to what extent, since so much of women’s tennis is in the mental side of the game and assessing that pre-tournament is hard. But as always there are good opportunities in backing high priced outsiders and hedging along as they progress through the tournament. From the main favorites the only one I’m willing to back pre-tournament is Venus as her odds have the best value.