While golf’s third major is underway at the US Open, we have tennis’ third major of the year – Wimbledon – starting Monday. With a few grass events completed and a few more this week, bettors are starting to get an idea of which players might be in good shape at the right time.
Novak Djokovic: -125
Matteo Berrettini: +600
Raphael Nadal: +650
Carlos Alcaraz: +800
Felix Auger-Aliassime: +1200
It’s no surprise to see Djokovic not playing in a Wimbledon prep event: of his six Wimbledon titles, five have been won without playing prep. Alcaraz has only played two matches on grass in his ATP career (1-1 in those matches), while Nadal is still unsure whether to play after saying he has to inject his foot to win the French Open.
So given that none of the top three favorites have yet set foot on grass pitches and two are better known for playing well on clay, there could be some value on the board. The draw won’t be released until a few days before the tournament starts, so we’re trying to capture some value now before some of these current tournaments end before the draw.
Here are two players to consider at BetMGM for an early purchase. This thought process is based on two concepts: (1) You already have a more money Djoker term note, so who else might be an option? And (2), if not Djokovic, then who?
Matteo Berrettini +600
I’m not sure I’ll get to the window with a Berrettini future just yet, but I wouldn’t blame anyone else for jumping on it so soon. The Italian known as ‘The Hammer’ is through to the semi-final at the Queen’s Club in London. That leaves him 29-3 on grass since 2019, 18-1 on grass since 2021 and 7-0 on grass in 2022. His three losses were against David Goffin at Halle 2019, Roger Federer at Wimbledon 2019 and Djokovic at Wimbledon 2021.
What makes him such a threat is the one-two punch. He has one of the best serves on this surface. It’s heavy, fast and really hard to flip. Berrettini hits a lot of aces and gets a lot of free points with his serve. Combine that with a powerful forehand, and you’re done.
What makes him vulnerable is that he doesn’t have much else. His backhand isn’t threatening, and against an opponent who can start a point and extend the rally, that’s where Berrettini falters. The longer the point, the more it is not to his advantage. This is why Berrettini couldn’t make five sets against Nadal at this year’s Australian Open, why he couldn’t make five sets against Djokovic in three attempts, why he struggled against Andy Murray the last week in Stuttgart, and why he fought this week against Denis Kudla. Put the ball in play, move Berrettini down the field, hit his backhand and the opponents are doing well. Nadal and Murray may be injured and their Wimbledon status is unknown, and if Djokovic loses early it opens the door for Berrettini. If the draw is correct, the Hammer could find themselves in back-to-back Wimbledon finals.
Felix Auger Aliassime +1200
I’m waiting for the FAA to burst. Like, hammer through the brick wall with force. He is so close!
Aliassime lost to Berrettini in the Wimbledon quarter-finals last year, but it was an unfortunate draw. FAA went five sets to defeat Alexander Zverev in the round of 16 in the previous match in one of the biggest wins of his career.
After that, he reached back-to-back semi-finals at the US Open and then the Australian Open where he nearly beat Daniil Medvedev, losing a five-set match and two tiebreakers which ended 6-4 in the fifth. It didn’t go far. He nearly knocked out Nadal at Roland Garros, Rafa’s home turf, pushing Nadal to five sets and becoming the third player in Nadal’s history in 115 Roland Garros games to do so. When I say Aliassime is close, I mean he is close. Zverev is out through injury, and if Berrettini ends up in Djoker’s side, it could be very good for the Canadian.
Similar to Berrettini, Aliassime has a booming and precise serve. The difference between the two is that the FAA has equally impressive groundstrokes on both their forehand… and their backhand. At 12-1, it’s tempting for me and a ticket in my pocket.
Iga Swiatek: +150
Coco Gauff: +1000
Simona Halep: +1200
Serena Williams: +1400
Yes, it’s Serena you see on the odds chart. She is back!
Just this week, Williams announced she would return to Wimbledon as a wild card for her 21st appearance. With seven Wimbledon titles, it’s hard to pass up 14-1. However, Williams hasn’t played a match since last year’s Wimbledon event, where she fell 3-3 in the opening set of the opening round to Aliaksandra Sasnovich. Additionally, she will also be playing for the first time without her 10-year-old coach, Patrick Mouratoglou, who is now with Halep. Together, Williams and Mouratoglou have won 10 Grand Slams, plus an Olympic gold medal. Williams is now with her sister Venus’ trainer, Eric Hechtman. At 40, could this be Serena’s retirement tournament rather than the start of a comeback? We will find out.
There is only one player who intrigues me: Gauff. After her first appearance in the Grand Slam final at Roland-Garros, Gauff rolls this week in Berlin, qualifying for the semi-final of the championships on grass. One bright spot: Her two losses at previous Wimbledons were to eventual champion Halep in 2019 and former champion Angelique Kerber in 2021. Those are two very good losses. One thing she has is aggression, and on grass that style of play can go a long way.