Has the best been saved to last? The US Open 2018, the year’s final grand slam tennis tournament, begins today (Monday) and it is a familiar trio that sits atop of the betting odds for the men. Djokovic, Federer, Nadal, repeat.
For the better part of the past decade, tennis has been dominated by three individuals. In 2018, that trio has once again been front and center as this season has seen Roger Federer, Rafael Nadal and Novak Djokovic all enjoy dominance in the form of grand slam title wins. When it comes to selecting our US Open predictions for this preview, is it safe to assume that trend will be repeated?
Roger Federer, who kicked things off this season by winning the Australian Open, has been at the apex of tennis’ lethal threesome. The 37-year-old ageless wonder has been at the top of his game for far longer than most tennis players even have careers.
A 20-time major winner, three of Federer’s titles have come over the last two seasons, when the Swissman was 35+. If Federer was to win the US Open, he would become the oldest man to win a major, just one of many accomplishments he has had in his career. It would also mark his sixth US Open, which would put him in sole possession of second most of all-time.
Following up a disappointing Wimbledon and so-so US Open series, Federer enters the year’s final major with the third best odds to win (5/1). The man with the second best odds is Federer’s longtime rival, Rafael Nadal (3/1).
Much like Federer, Nadal is over 30 and still having much of the same success he had in his early career. The King of the Clay, Nadal has won the French Open an astonishing 11 times including this past year. He has also had success on other surfaces such as hard court, where he’s won the US Open three times including last year. Overall, the 32-year-old has won 17 majors, which is second only to Federer for most of all-time. Nadal is also one of just two men, Andre Agassi being the other, to win the career golden slam (all four majors and Olympic gold). He has a record 33 ATP World Tour Masters 1000s titles and 20 ATP World Tour 500 tournaments as well.
The youngest of the trio at the ripe old age of 31, Djokovic (12/5) is the favorite with the top recommended American sportsbooks to win his third US Open title and second major of the year. After a rough start to the season due to injury and inconsistent play, Djokovic returned to top form in time for Wimbledon where he won his 13th major championship. The current world No. 6 is coming off a great summer, having won the Cincinnati Masters and defeating Federer in the process.
It has been a while since this could be said definitively but when it comes to the US Open, it looks like the options are Federer, Nadal, Djokovic or the field. It’s not a bad field but to get an idea of the discrepancy, the man with the fourth best odds, Alexander Zherever sits at 10/1.
The US Open Field
Before completely writing the field off however, let’s take a look at some of the potential dark horse winners, including former major winners, Juan Martin Del Potro (12/1), Marin Cilic (16/1), Stan Wawrinka (28/1) and Andy Murray (33/1).
The worst odds of the group, Murray is actually the biggest wildcard and likely has the most potential to win. The former world No. 1 and three-time major winner, Murray has missed the last four grand slams. He has dropped to No. 378 in the world and has slowly been making his way back to competitive play. There are no guarantees with Murray. Injury forced him to pull out of Wimbledon just a couple of months ago. If he is back to his old self or close, Murray is one of the top players in the world. A few years ago, there was even acknowledgement of a big four, with Murray rounding out the group.
The other big name to watch is Wawrinka, who is coming off a strong summer and riding a seven-match US Open winning streak. Wawrinka, the “other” Swissman, has won three majors including the US Open once in 2016. Not that far removed from the best stretch of his career, Wawrinka has struggled a bit this year after coming back from a knee injury, dropping to No. 101 in the world.
You don’t have to look that far down the list to find the other dark horses. Unlike in some other sports, tennis has become pretty top-heavy over the last decade with all likely winners normally within the bookies’ top 10 in the betting market. This would be the case for both Cilic and Del Potro, two former US Open winners and two of a very small group that have broken through the Federer-Nadal-Djokovic dominance of the 2010s. Currently the No. 7 and No. 3 players in the world respectively, Cilic and Del Potro could be poised for a deep run. However, both have to make it through a tough draw that likely means having to meet one or more of the top three in order to get to the finals.
Our Betting Preview’s US Open Picks & Betting Predictions Verdict
Coming into the US Open, all three majors have been won by different men, somewhat of a rarity for tennis. What is not rare however is that the three men who have won are three of the best to play the sport. That being said, there are some attractive odds outside of the big three, but tennis is predictable in a way, or at least it has been in the last decade. Betting the field has paid off very few times in that span, whereas sticking with the top odds is almost always the best bet.
Federer hasn’t looked as good this summer as he did when he won the title at the Australian Open. Djokovic has looked great but coming off injury, can he maintain that momentum? Then there is Nadal, who might be in the best position of all.
Nadal has the best draw of the three and with Federer and Djokovic set to face off in the semis, this could be Nadal’s opportunity.