The men's draw at Roland Garros looks like it has the potential to produce a longshot champion.
Rafael Nadal currently has the futures market crushed for the 2010 French Open, but punters should definitely be looking at some of the other prospects who are at longer odds. Nadal garners a lot of support on the basis of his former championships there but he hasn't done well enough on tour in the last 6 months to seriously be taken into consideration at this point. Besides, his odds are really short and you would have to pound him hard against a field of 127 other players just to joggle out some lose change.
Here are the odds to win the Men's French Open 2010:
1. Rafael Nadal, -187 (10/19), Ladbrokes
2. Roger Federer, +450 (9/2), Sky Bet
3. Juan Martin Del Potro, +600 (6/1), Sky Bet
4. Novak Djokovic, +900 (9/1), Stan James
5. Andrew Murray, +1200 (12/1), Stan James
Robin Soderling, +5000 (50/1), Sky Bet
Gael Monfils, +5000 (50/1), Stan James
When looking at a sporting event that is still half a year away and trying to figure out a pick, the smartest thing to do is to look at recent results from that event and then factor in the player's performance in the last little while.
Nadal can be thrown out of the mix because of his loss to Soderling last year and his declined play since that loss: it wasn't just a shot in the dark.
Federer can be thrown out because he's been losing a lot more lately than usual as evidenced by his Basel loss to Djokovic and ugly loss in Paris to Julien Benneteau.
Del Potro isn't a bad pick as he pushed Federer to a tough 5 set decision at Roland Garros last year. Since that time Del Potro has played well for the most part, best illustrated by his landmark victory in Flushing Meadows. He has faded in recent events however, always going out early for such a high ranked player on tour.
But at +600 (6/1) there is some value with bonified star.
However in the case of the 2010 French Open the best value is with the long shots, especially Soderling.
Soderling has a recent result at the tournament that would suggest being able to challenge for the event as he made the finals last year. His play since making the finals in Roland Garros has remained high as he has broken into the top 10 on tour.
Soderling looks like the type of player that could be a one slam wonder, a player that plays at the highest level of tennis but only for a small part of his career while being tough for most other parts.
In ways he might be like a Thomas Johannson or Richard Krajicek, who themselves were always tough outs on tour. For each player the stars aligned in a Grand Slam just one time, for Johansson at the 2002 Aussie and for Krajicek at Wimbledon in 1996.
Monfils has also experienced some success at the French in recent years as he well. A quarterfinalist from last year and a semifinalist from the year before, Monfils tends to play well in front of his countrymen.
Importantly, Roger Federer has been the player to stand in Monfils' and Soderling's way lately. If his, Federer's, game is indeed declining and if Nadal continues to struggle, then perhaps a niche for an underdog champion will be open at Roland Garros in the spring.
Cover yourself with a small bet on Juan Martin Del Potro, a proven Slam threat, but go ahead and sprinkle both Robin Soderling and Gael Monfils for the 2010 French Open. It does not look like business as usual on the men's tour.
Go to Stan James to bet on Grand Slam tennis.