Tennis Betting: The Chances of a Federer or Serena Slam
by Matt Severance - 2/2/2010
I believe this is a first for me, writing a tennis betting article. But while the Australian Open is still fresh in everyone’s minds, Bodog has provided odds on Roger Federer and Serena Williams winning the Grand Slam this season – of course both won the singles titles in Melbourne over the weekend and thus they are the only ones with the chance to pull off this rare feat.
How rare of a feat? Only five players have won all of tennis’ major tournaments in a calendar year: Don Budge (1938), Rod Laver (1962 and 1969), Maureen Connolly (1953), Margaret Smith-Court (1970) and Steffi Graf (1988). No Pete Sampras, no John McEnroe or Bjorn Borg, no Martina Navratilova or Chris Evert.
Thus the odds for Federer and Serena to win the Slam ware long at Bodog:
S. Williams +6000
I’m actually a bit surprised that Federer’s odds are so much better. After all, it was just over a year ago that some thought Federer was on the way down in the men’s game when he lost to Rafael Nadal in the 2009 Aussie Open final. That followed a 2008 season in which Federer was finally beaten by Nadal at Wimbledon and a year in which the Swiss star won only one Grand Slam (the U.S. Open).
But it’s hard to argue Federer’s dominance of a men’s game that is deeper than it’s been in years. He has now played in 18 of the past 19 Grand Slam finals (23 straight semis) and won three of the past four. He is one of only three players in the Open era to have won the career Slam, joining Laver and Andre Agassi.
It’s an injury to Nadal that would seem to give Federer his best shot. It seems Nadal’s body is beginning to break down, and he hasn’t been the same since winning last year’s Australian Open. Nadal is down to fourth in the world and will miss a month with a knee injury that caused him to withdraw from his quarterfinal match against Andy Murray in Melbourne. Nadal has beaten only one Top 10 player since coming back from the knee injury that caused him to miss Wimbledon last year – and now that problem appears to have returned. His last title anywhere was in Rome last May at a French Open warm-up.
If Nadal isn’t right for the French Open in May, where he has been unbeatable when healthy, then Federer could definitely win all four majors this year because the clay of France would be the only stop where Federer might not actually be favored – he has won the French just once, last year. Nadal is still 13-7 against Federer head-to-head, but Federer has avoided him in the past four majors.
Here are Federer’s Bodog odds to win the year’s final three majors individually:
U.S. Open +225
As or Serena, her Bodog odds to win the Slam of +6000 is a long-shot bet worth taking. After all, she has won four of the past six majors overall. And in the two she didn’t – the 2009 French and U.S. Opens – Serena reached at least the quarterfinals and was brought down by the eventual tournament champion. As with Federer, the clay in Paris would seem to be Serena’s biggest challenge because she has won just one French Open title. She won at Roland Garros in 2002, which began a string of four consecutive major tournaments won in a row – the Serena Slam; since it didn’t take place in a calendar year as it was capped with the 2003 Australian Open.
Here are Serena’s odds to win the year’s final three majors individually:
U.S. Open +250
But perhaps Serena’s biggest obstacle to a Slam will be her health – she had wraps on practically half her body during the Aussie Open. Serena has said she will play a very limited schedule this year in an effort to save her body as she focuses mainly on the majors much like Tiger Woods does. But when she’s healthy, she’s far and away the player to beat in the Slams, even with former world No. 1 Justine Henin back from retirement and looking in form.
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