The U.S. Open is always an important bookmark in not only the tennis season but the sporting calendar. This year, above all years, it has the potential not only to reflect the sporting landscape, but perhaps the global pandemic we are living in.
With numerous players rumoured to be pulling out, the sportsbetting market is a confused list of the names we all know with very little movement. Perhaps this is because at present no-one knows for sure who will make the event.
There’s a ‘you go first’ panic about the attendance of major names. While it is almost certain at the moment that Roger Federer and Rafael Nadal won’t be at Flushing Meadow, if Novak Djokovic has had COVID-19 and attracted a lot of negative attention for his hosting of the Adria Cup, plays then others will follow.
We’ve taken a look at the three men who could shape the event and establish whether their odds are truly reflective of the value they represent. Let’s start with the current world number one.
The Serbian world number one is under enormous pressure to succeed if he does arrive in New York, having courted controversy with his hosting of the disastrous Adria Cup, during which he and several other prominent players such as Grigor Dimitrov, caught COVID-19.
Having taken a step back in recent weeks from limbo-dancing at nightclubs or partying on beaches, the Serb will be hoping to not only win his 4th U.S. Open and 18th Grand Slam title, closing in on Rafa Nadal (19) and Roger Federer (20) at the top of the Grand Slam leaderboard, but also repair his reputation.
After controversial anti-vax comments in the past, Djokovic is in serious danger of alienating his fanbase and angering those who already root against him. If he can let his tennis do the talking, he could walk it, especially without the presence of his two greatest rivals, but we think the pressure might be too much for him. At odds of 6/4, he’s a heavy favourite to avoid on this occasion.
Far from his career petering out due to injury, the enforced break has allowed the Brit to recooperate like never before and an ‘Indian Summer’ for the Scots career could be on the cards. He certainly looked in great form in last month’s ‘Battle of the Brits’.
👏 @Andy_Murray is putting on a show!#BattleOfTheBrits pic.twitter.com/bUGZZghjaU— Amazon Prime Video Sport (@primevideosport) June 27, 2020
Backing Andy Murray to win the U.S. Open outright is risky business, even though his odds with 888sport are currently an attractive-looking 100/1. Murray, even in his recovery state, has the weapons to hurt any player and can win any game with his superb ability to retrieve seemingly lost situations and return serves with almost as much pace as they arrive on his racquet head.
Despite this, however, the U.S. Open and indeed any Grand Slam is only ever won with consistency, the kind that Murray will struggle for as his continues his resurgence. It might be one tournament too early, but depending on his draw, he might make the final and at each-way odds of 50/1 to do so, there’s the value. Murray will be a huge danger to win his maiden French Open should Roland Garros go ahead later in the year.
VERDICT: EACH-WAY ONLY
One player who has been very quiet recently is last year’s runner-up, Russian player Daniil Medvedev. Available at odds as disparate as 7/1 and 11/1, the player who lost to Rafael Nadal in five sets just over a year ago could be the player to hang your hopes on this year, and not just because he’s unlikely to run into the Spaniard.
Medvedev has the game built for the U.S. Open, with fast groundstrokes and a powerful serve. He’s an all-rounder, which suits the notoriously difficult Grand Slam that is the tournament at Flushing Meadow. Post-war, it is the least dominated Grand Slam event. Nadal has won 12 French Open titles, while Federer (8) and Djokovic (also 8) have scooped up Wimbledon and Australian Open titles with similarly ruthless supremacy.
The U.S. Open is different, and so too is Medvedev. One year on from arriving an enemy and leaving a hero to the American people, it would be an oddly appropriate proposition for a Russian to win on U.S. soil and be cheered by no-one from empty stands. You’ll need to get on the 11/1 odds quickly, but while they’re available, we’d suggest you do so.
Whoever wins the U.S. Open, it’s bound to be amazing entertainment. We’ll be tracking it throughout right here on Calvin Ayre and providing updates to the latest sportsbetting odds during the event.