WORLD number one Novak Djokovic will go into the French Open as one of the shortest priced pre-tournament favourites in history after WilliamHill.com.au installed last year’s finalist at $1.70.
The 11-time Grand Slam winner will enter the clay court tournament as the hottest commodity in the market since Roger Federer was the $1.40 favourite at Wimbledon back in 2006.
The French Open is the only major title that has eluded the Serbian, who fell agonisingly short of completing the career Grand Slam in 2015 against world number four Stan Wawrinka.
The Swiss Wawrinka will defend his title as an $11 outsider.
The only other man in single figures heading into Roland Garros is nine-time French Open champion Rafael Nadal who is the $4 second favourite at Sportsbet.com.au.
The super Spaniard is one of the greatest clay-courters of all-time, but has struggled to find his very best form on the tour after succumbing to a string of knee injuries.
Last year Nadal failed to win a Grand Slam; ending a 10-year streak in which he had won at least one major tournament.
After shaking off the injury concerns which hampered his output last year, 2016 is looking brighter for the 29-year-old Nadal.
The current world number five has been in terrific form leading into the two-weeks in France, winning the Masters 1000 in Monte Carlo and the Barcelona Open to notch up a record-tying 49th clay court title.
Andy Murray was able to hand Nadal his first defeat in three tournaments at the semi-final stage at Madrid.
Nadal believes his great lead in form will hold him in good stead when the French Open kicks off on the 24th of May.
“On these (last) three tournaments I have been able to win two, and one making it to the semi-finals, so the clay season is great,” Nadal said.
“Let’s try to continue this way or maybe try to put up the rhythm a little bit more.”
The world number five believes he is in the best shape to compete for the French Open title since his last victory at Roland Garros back in 2014.
“You need to arrive fresh physically and mentally and playing your best tennis,
“I’m on a positive path. I hope to continue on this path.”
Former French Open champion Roger Federer is not considered a threat to the title according to Sportsbet, who have the 17-time Grand Slam winner on the sixth line of betting at the inflated price of $26.00.
The French Open is the only Grand Slam tournament in 2016 that Roger Federer will enter at double figure odds.
The best placed Aussie to make an impact on the clay in the eyes of WilliamHill.com.au is firebrand Nick Kyrgios at $67.
The 21-year-old’s form has been sparkling over the past fortnight; defeating Stan Wawrinka in straight sets en route to becoming the youngest ever quarter-finalist at the Madrid Masters since Juan Martin del Potro in 2009.
The young Canberran will become just the third Australian in the tournament’s history if he is able to hoist the French Open trophy.
Despite only having one ATP tournament win, former Australian Richard Fromberg believes Kyrgios has the skillset to defeat any player on the tour.
“With Nick, it’s going to come down to how he’s going to go in his first couple of rounds whether he can get through pretty comfortably, because if his body stays fresh, he’s a dangerous player against anyone really,” Fromberg said.
“The only thing holding him back is his body.”
Controversial Aussie Bernard Tomic is not expected to be a factor in the French capital in three weeks’ time according to Sportsbet, who have the world number 22 at triple figure odds.
Tomic’s form has been ordinary in the last two weeks, and the 23-year-old copped heavy criticism after he used the handle of his racquet on a service return attempt on match point against Fabio Fognini.
World number one Novak Djokovic believes Tomic will be a cautionary tale for other aspiring tennis players unless he sharpens up his act on and off the court.
“I’ve seen what he has done [on match-point against Fognini],” Djokovic said.
“It’s not right and I hope he realises that. The sooner the better for him because he is still relatively young and he can definitely be a better player and better ranked than he is now.
“I’m just hoping for him, because over the last couple of years I got to know him better and he’s a good guy, he’s a good person, but he’s just failing to be committed to this sport as it is required.”
Tomic is at $151 to take out the 2016 French Open.
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