Rafael Nadal and the Top 15 Players Ranked as Best Bets To Win Wimbledon 2011
Every year, Wimbledon tournament officials go through the painstaking task of selecting the top seeds for the men's draw, analyzing the ATP rankings and then factoring in past results at Wimbledon.
Oddsmakers do the same thing.
Surprisingly, their research produces a different result because the oddsmakers are willing to put something more precious to them on the line than their reputations—they are willing to risk their money.
So as Wimbledon prepares to raise the curtain on its annual spectacle starting with the opening round match on Centre Court, the oddsmakers adjust their lines and wait for news that will shape their outcomes.
For people who love to gamble, here are the oddsmakers' top 15 picks as of June 16, 2011.
15. Gael Monfils (France)
Last 4 Tournaments: Halle (Semifinalist); French Open (Quarterfinalist); Madrid (R32); Barcelona (Quarterfinalist)
Top 15 Odds To Win Wimbledon Average: 156/1
Although the Frenchman Gael Monfils has not played many tournaments of late due to a constant and perplexing spate of injuries, Monfils once again did well at Stade Roland Garros.
The crowd-pleasing Frenchman found himself a favorite of the boisterous French partisans and spurred by their entreaties, advanced to the quarterfinals.
There, however, he met the man who usually spoils his fun, Roger Federer. Once again, Federer upended Monfils, as the last Frenchman ended up sad and alone in the locker room, packing up his gear to move on.
The Frenchman Monfils has never done well on the grass, which is surprising considering his natural athletic ability and speed.
Nonetheless, Monfils has never advanced beyond the third round in the draw at the All England Club.
There is nothing so far that would indicate the Frenchman has ambitions to do any better. The oddsmakers list him as a 156-to-1 long shot to win the title in 2011.
14. Marin Cilic (Croatia)
Last 4 Tournaments: Queen’s Club (Quarterfinalist), French Open (R128), Rome (Quarterfinalist), Madrid (R32)
Top 15 Odds To Win Wimbledon Average: 122/1
No one denies that Marin Cilic has the potential to be a very good tennis player.
The 22-year-old Croat has been on everybody’s radar for the past three years, as they wait for all the pieces of his game to come together.
At last year’s Wimbledon, Cilic lost in the first round to Florian Meyer of Germany.
The Croat's furthest advancement into the draw was in 2008 when Cilic made it to the fourth round, dismissed by Arnaud Clement at the All England Club.
Could 2011 be the best so far for Cilic? The oddsmakers bring him in at 122-to-1 to win.
13. Mardy Fish (United States)
Last 4 Tournaments: French Open (R32), Rome (R16), Madrid (R64), Houston (Quarterfinalist)
Top 15 Odds To Win Wimbledon Average: 107/1
Granted, clay is not the surface of choice for the resurgent Mardy Fish, seeded No. 10 at this year's Wimbledon.
The 29-year-old American found himself ranked in the top 10 for the first time in his career in April of 2011.
Not many, however, gave Fish much of a chance of winning on the red dirt. He did, however, do better than many of his countrymen throughout the European clay season.
Most expect Fish to do far better on grass and the hardcourts.
In the past, Fish has played in the tournament at the All England Club eight times.
The furthest the American has advanced is the third round which he reached in 2003, 2006 and 2009.
The oddsmakers list Fish as 107-to-1 long shot to capture the Wimbledon title in 2011.
12. Richard Gasquet (France)
Last 4 Tournaments: French Open (R16), Rome (Semifinals), Madrid (R64); Barcelona (R16)
Top 15 Odds To Win Wimbledon Average: 85/1
The Frenchman had also advanced to the semifinals in Rome, where he lost to Rafael Nadal.
Gasquet last played at Wimbledon in 2008, where he lost to Andy Murray in a five-set marathon.
In 2007, the Frenchman advanced to the semifinals where he met and was defeated by the No. 1 seed Roger Federer in straight sets.
This year, Gasquet comes into Wimbledon as the No. 17 seed, hoping to get by Santiago Giraldo of Columbia in the first round.
The oddsmakers give Gasquet an 85-to-1 shot of winning the whole tournament.
11. Milos Raonic (Canada)
Last 4 Tournaments: Halle (Quarterfinalist), French Open (R128), Rome (R16), Madrid (R64)
Top 15 Odds To Win Wimbledon Average: 60/1
For the newest “hot” guy on tour, Raonic did not fare well on the red clay.
He would barely make it into a tournament before he was back on the plane heading home, although he did make it to the semifinals in Estoril.
But now that the tour has moved onto grass, the Canadian is expected to be in the hunt for the title with his excellent serve.
So far, the 20-year-old has not played in the main draw at Wimbledon. 2011 will mark his inaugural appearance at the All England Club.
His draw is not easy, starting off against Fabio Fognini of Italy, who made it to the French quarterfinals but withdrew because of injury.
Should Raonic get through that match, chances are the Canadian would meet the No. 1 seed Rafael Nadal in the third round.
Before the draw was announced, Raonic's odds were 60-to-1 to win the tournament.
10. John Isner (United States)
Last 4 Tournaments: French Open (R128), Rome (R64), Madrid (R32), Belgrade (R32)
Top 10 Odds To Win Wimbledon: paddypower 50/1, Ladbrokes 66/1, Victor Chandler 50/1, Boylesports 50/1, Stan James 40/1, bet365 50/1, Bodog Sportsbook 40/1, 5Dimes Sportsbook 105/1, Bet On Line Sportsbook 40/1
Earlier in 2011, John Isner suffered from lingering injuries and a difficult clay-court tennis season, although he did extend Rafael Nadal to five sets in their first-round contest at the 2011 French Open.
Nadal finally won 6-4, 6-7, 6-7, 6-4, 6-2, but the No. 1 seed knew he’d narrowly escaped
The 6'9" American will be be remembered for his first-round Wimbledon match with Frenchman Nicolas Mahut in 2010. Their encounter extended over three days, clocked in at 11 hours and five minutes. Isner finally won, 6-4, 3-6, 6-7(7), 7-6(3), 70-68.
Ironically, the two are scheduled to meet in the opening round again in 2011.
Hopefully, Isner will be able to last beyond the first round, mentally and physically.
With his powerful serve, the American will be a dangerous floater in any quarter of the draw.
To date, Isner has had little opportunity to prove his grass-court prowess at the All England Club. 2011 may give us a glimpse.
The oddsmakers bring Isner in as a 54.5-to-1 shot.
9. Andy Roddick (United States)
Last 4 Tournaments: Queen’s Club (Semifinalist), Rome (R64), Madrid (R64), Miami (R64)
Top 10 Odds To Win Wimbledon: paddypower 50/1, Ladbrokes 50/1, Victor Chandler 50/1, Boylesports 50/1, Stan James 33/1, bet365 25/1, Bodog Sportsbook 33/1, 5Dimes Sportsbook 75/1, Bet On Line Sportsbook 80/1
Andy Roddick’s appearance at the Queen’s Club last week was the first sighting of the former World No. 1 in a long while.
Injury has kept Roddick sidelined as well as his general distaste for the red clay.
As Roddick faced Andy Murray in the semifinals of the Queen’s Club last week, it was apparent that the American had plenty of work to do if he expected to finally win the Wimbledon Championship.
Roddick has advanced to the finals of Wimbledon three times—in 2004, 2005 and 2009. All three times he has been denied by Roger Federer.
The closest Roddick came was in 2009 when he extended Federer to five sets, losing 14-16 in the fifth set after losing his serve only once in the match, in the 30th game.
The oddsmakers give Roddick approximately a 50-to-1 chance to win the title.
8. Tomas Berdych (Czech Republic)
Last 4 Tournaments: Halle (Semifinalist), French Open (R128), Nice (Semifinalist), Rome (Quarterfinalist), Madrid (Quarterfinalist)
Top 10 Odds To Win Wimbledon: paddypower 40/1, Ladbrokes 40/1, Victor Chandler 40/1, Boylesports 33/1, Stan James 33/1, bet365 28/1, Bodog Sportsbook 33/1, 5Dimes Sportsbook 70/1, Bet On Line Sportsbook 30/1
Tomas Berdych was ejected from the French Open in the first round after making back-to-back quarterfinals in the last two clay Masters events in 2011.
It was an unexpected and abrupt departure.
Clay was not Berdych's best surface this year even though in 2010 the Czech made the semifinals in Paris at the French Open.
Expect Berdych to bounce back at Wimbledon where he contested Rafael Nadal in the finals in 2010 after defeating Roger Federer in the quarterfinals.
The oddsmakers have surveyed the field and feel that Berdych is a 38.5-to-1 shot to win the championship at the All England Club.
7. Jo-Wilfried Tsonga (France)
Last 4 Tournaments: Queen’s Club (Finalist), French Open (R32), Rome (R32), Madrid (R16)
Top 10 Odds To Win Wimbledon: paddypower 25/1, Ladbrokes 33/1, Victor Chandler 40/1, Boylesports 40/1, William Hill 20/1, Stan James 33/1, bet365 33/1, Bodog Sportsbook 40/1, 5Dimes Sportsbook 45/1, Bet On Line Sportsbook 66/1
After losing in the third round at the French Open to Stan Wawrinka in a five-set contest, Tsonga came back strong at the Queen’s Club on grass to meet Andy Murray in the final.
The second-set tiebreak could have swung the win in favor of the Frenchman, but Murray took the match convincingly.
Last year it was Murray who defeated Tsonga in the quarterfinals of Wimbledon.
The big-serving Ivo Karlovic dismissed the Frenchman in 2009 in the third round.
In his first Wimbledon appearance in 2007, Tsonga made it to the fourth round where he was defeated by fellow Frenchman Richard Gasquet in straight sets.
The oddsmakers like the Frenchman. They paint his odds at 37.5-to-1 to win the tournament.
6. Robin Soderling (Sweden)
Last 4 Tournaments: French Open (Quarterfinalist); Rome (Quarterfinalist); Madrid (Quarterfinalist); Estoril (Quarterfinalist)
Top 10 Odds to Win Wimbledon: paddypower 33/1, Ladbrokes 40/1, Victor Chandler 40/1, Boylesports 33/1, Stan James 33/1, bet365 20/1, Bodog Sportsbook 25/1, 5Dimes Sportsbook 75/1, Bet On Line Sportsbook 20/1
It was not “third time the charm” for Robin Soderling at this year’s French Open. For the past two years, Soderling had made back-to-back-finals at Roland Garros, defeated by Roger Federer in 2009 and Rafael Nadal in 2010.
The Swede continued to be stuck in a quarterfinal rut. That was as far as he could advance in Paris, where he met and was turned back by Rafael Nadal. The Majorcan, driven to succeed, found his form in his quarterfinal match against the Swede. Until that encounter, the No. 1 seed had not been playing unbeatable tennis.
Soderling, playing in eight Wimbledon Championships, has advanced as far as the quarterfinals. He accomplished that in 2010, where he met and was defeated by Rafael Nadal in four sets.
But Soderling is a far more stable and competent player than he was at the beginning of his career. He is always a dangerous player and has a chance to win any tournament he enters as the World No. 5.
Grass has never been his surface of choice, so far. But he has the game to get there.
The oddsmakers like his chances approximately at 35-to-1 to win Wimbledon in 2011.
5. Juan Martin Del Potro (Argentina)
Last 4 Tournaments: Queen’s Club (R16), French Open (R32), Madrid (R32), Estoril (Winner)
Top 10 Odds To Win Wimbledon: paddypower 22/1, Ladbrokes 25/1, Victor Chandler 22/1, Boylesports 22/1, William Hill 16/1, Stan James 22/1, bet365 20/1, Bodog Sportsbook 16/1, 5Dimes Sportsbook 45/1, Bet On Line Sportsbook 16/1
Del Potro lost to Frenchman Adrian Mannario 6-7, 6-7 at the Queen’s Club Tournament on grass.
He lost in the third round of the French Open to Novak Djokovic and in the third round of Rome to Rafael Nadal.
The Argentine is slowly making his way back into top form. The question is–just when will he arrive?
Could it be at Wimbledon in 2011?
So far, there is nothing in his past to suggest that playing on grass will be something del Potro might do well.
He did not play at the All England Club in 2010 because of wrist surgery and recovery. The other three years, 2007-2009, the Argentine never made it past the second round.
Still, the oddsmakers favor the Argentine, bringing him in as approximately a 23-to-1 shot to win the title.
4. Andy Murray (Great Britain)
Last 4 Tournaments: Queen’s Club (Winner), French Open (Semifinalist); Rome (Semifinalist); Madrid (R16)
Top 10 Odds To Win Wimbledon: paddypower 5/1, Ladbrokes 5/1, Victor Chandler 6/1, Boylesports 11/2, William Hill 6/1, Stan James 5/1, bet365 5/1, Bodog Sportsbook 6/1, 5Dimes Sportsbook 6.85/1, Bet On Line Sportsbook 6/1
Andy Murray has never had such a great clay-court season as the one he enjoyed in 2011. He came alive in Rome after a prolonged failure to produce, suffering from the smackdown Novak Djokovic gave him in the finals of the 2011 Australian Open.
The Scot finally became one with the red dirt when Murray stood two points short of victory in the Rome semifinals. Murray also stepped up to the plate in Monte Carlo, making the semifinals.
Unfortunately, during this year’s French Open, Murray rolled his ankle in his third-round match with German Michael Berrer. Although the Scot continued on to the semifinals, his matches were longer and more difficult because the ankle injury impeded Murray’s movement on the court. He simply did not have the necessary edge to defeat Rafael Nadal in their semifinal encounter.
Murray is always under great pressure at the All England Club. The load of great expectations by the Brits for one of their own to win the tournament at Wimbledon is mammoth.
The specter of Fred Perry in his 1930s garb haunts the grounds at the All England Club. The last two seasons Murray has advanced to the semifinals, where he lost to Nadal in 2010 and to Andy Roddick in 2009.
Murray will be one of the favorites again this year to advance to the 2011 finals at Wimbledon.
The oddsmakers list him as almost a 5.5-to-1 shot to win Wimbledon in 2011.
3. Novak Djokovic (Serbia)
Last 4 Tournaments: French Open (Semifinalist); Rome (Winner); Madrid (Winner); Belgrade (Winner)
Top 10 Odds To Win Wimbledon: paddypower 7/2, Ladbrokes 7/2, Victor Chandler 3/1, Boylesports 7/2, William Hill 11/4, Stan James 10/3, bet365 3/1, Bodog Sportsbook 5/2, 5Dimes Sportsbook 3.65/1, Bet On Line Sportsbook 1.60/1
Novak Djokovic flew into Paris on the wings of a tremendous winning streak. The Serb had captured his second major, winning the 2011 Australian Open.
Djokovic had defeated Rafael Nadal in three of the Serb’s last four finals, the last two on clay. The tennis world was abuzz.
Everyone was sure that Djokovic would face the No. 1 seed Nadal in the final. On the line was the World No. 1 ranking. But first Djokovic had to make it through a number of roadblocks, including Juan Martin del Potro in the third round and Roger Federer in the semifinals.
The Serb made it through del Potro but not through Federer. The World No. 3 refused the bulldozer’s blade and defeated Djokovic in four sets.
After the French Open, Djokovic trailed Nadal by only 45 ATP ranking points. The Majorcan has two major titles to defend—Wimbledon and the U.S. Open. Djokovic still sits within striking distance of taking over the top spot in men’s tennis.
There is no reason to think that Djokovic is any less capable of winning at Wimbledon than any of the top seeds. The Serb advanced to the semifinals in 2010, losing to Tomas Berdych. He also made the semifinals in 2007, losing to Rafael Nadal, retiring in the third set. The Serb’s game, in fact, should translate well onto the grass.
Djokovic is one of the favorites going in. According to the oddsmakers, Djokovic is a little over 2.5-to-1 to win this year's Wimbledon crown.
2. Roger Federer (Switzerland)
Last 4 Tournaments: French Open (Finalist); Rome (R16); Madrid (Semifinalist); Monte-Carlo (Quarterfinalist)
Top 10 Odds To Win Wimbledon: paddypower 9/4, Ladbrokes 9/4, Victor Chandler 9/4, Boylesports 5/2, William Hill 5/2, Stan James 9/4, bet365 9/4, Bodog Sportsbook 9/4, 5Dimes Sportsbook 2.65/1, Bet On Line Sportsbook 2.25/1
Tennis pundits considered Roger Federer as flying “under the radar” during the 2011 French Open in Paris. With everyone focused on red-hot Novak Djokovic, the Swiss went about his task of making his way through the draw, dispatching one opponent after another. He did that all the way to the semifinal, where he faced the World No. 2 Djokovic during the second match of the day.
Regardless of his losses on clay earlier to Jurgen Melzer in Monte-Carlo and Richard Gasquet in Rome, Federer continued to tighten his game and work on his serve. The extra work paid dividends in his match against the Serb. Federer played a brilliant match against Djokovic, coming away with a win in four sets.
That sent the Swiss into the final where he faced Rafael Nadal for the fifth time at Roland Garros, four of them for the championship. The two played three very competitive sets, with the Swiss winning one. But Nadal won the match in four.
Federer has won the Wimbledon title six times—2003, 2004, 2005, 2006, 2007 and 2009.
As No. 3 in the world, Federer appears more than ready to return to the storied grounds of the All England Club to tie Pete Sampras, who holds seven Wimbledon titles.
Of all of the venues, most give Federer his best chance of winning at Wimbledon. The oddsmakers list him as their second choice with a 2.3-to-1 chance of winning it all in 2011.
1. Rafael Nadal (Spain)
Last 4 Tournaments: Queen’s Club (Quarterfinalist), French Open (Winner); Rome (Finalist); Madrid 9Finalist)
Top 10 Odds To Win Wimbledon: paddypower 2/1, Ladbrokes 9/4, Victor Chandler 2/1, Boylesports 7/4, William Hill 2/1, Stan James 2/1, bet365 2/1, Bodog Sportsbook 2/1, 5Dimes Sportsbook 2.75/1, Bet On Line Sportsbook 2/1
Rafael Nadal found something very new in 2011—a player who beat him consistently, even on clay.
That had never happened before. But for three Masters finals in Miami, Madrid and Rome, the No. 2 seed Novak Djokovic continued to amaze everyone by defeating Nadal on his beloved clay.
As it turned out, Nadal did not have to defend his title against the Serb at the French Open. Roger Federer upset the No. 2 seed, Djokovic, in the semifinals.
Nadal faced Federer for a fourth final, defeating the Swiss in a tough four-setter for the French Open Championship.
The Majorcan escaped Paris with his sixth French Open title and his No. 1 ranking intact. Nadal led Djokovic by 45 points as the two left Paris.
Nadal is the defending Wimbledon champion, having won the title for the second time in his career in 2010. His chances are equally as good for winning it a third time. Nadal has appeared in the finals of every Wimbledon tournament he has entered since 2006. The Majorcan did not play in 2009.
The top four men, again, are the favorites coming into Wimbledon. Injuries may play a role as Federer and Djokovic rest and recover. But we will not know for sure until play gets underway at the All England Club on Monday.
Nadal was the oddsmakers favorite prior to the draw, coming in at almost 2-to-1 to win his third Wimbledon title.