Bookmakers will heave a sigh of relief now that the Wimbledon draw has been released, as punters have been reluctant to commit to betting on the most famous tennis tournament in the world in absence of the critical draw information. “The seedings are a bit of a disaster, we have hardly taken a bet all day” said Rupert Adams, spokesman for bookmaker William Hill said yesterday, adding “Punters are waiting to see who will get the nightmare draw”.
Punters may be reluctant to commit themselves, but World Number 2 Andy Murray is not a-worrying. With 2012 being a real break-through year for the Scot, who won gold at the London Olympics played at Wimbledon and then the US Open in the autumn, Murray said yesterday that it is business as usual as he completed his preparation for Wimbledon with a 6-2 7-6 (7/5) victory over Japan’s Kei Nishikori at the exhibition BNP Paribas Tennis Classic at the Hurlingham Club. In terms of the draw he commented “I am practising at 10 o’clock, so that is how relevant it is to my day”.
Murray remains cool, calm and collected even as tennis fans and punters critically assess his potential to progress through the Championship and end the 77-year wait for a British male singles champion. The reason why the bookmakers have been so disconcerted about the betting patterns of their punters is the looming presence of former Wimbledon Champion Rafael Nadal. The Spaniard – who has made a tremendous come-back following a considerable lay-off due to knee injury last year – has been seeded number 5 for the Championship.
The seedings are defined by a specific formula and takes no account of historic Wimbledon performances prior to 2011, hence discounting Nadal’s wins in 2008 and 2010. The top 32 players in the ATP rankings start as seeds, with their current totals supplemented by points gained on grass in the past two years. Nadal’s unprecedented second-round crash out of the championship last year, combined with his seven-month absence from the game, has led to a number 5 seeding that does not reflect his current form nor his pedigree on grass.
The draw, released today, favours World Number 1, Serbian Novak Djokovic (seeded 1 also), and he remains the man to beat in the championship with bookmaker Ladbrokes offering odds of 11/8 that he will be champion. Djokovic, who won the Championship in 2011, will play unseeded German Florian Mayer in his first match, and top 10 seeds in his half of the draw include Richard Gasquet (seeded 9), Tomas Berdych (7), David Ferrer (4) and Juan Martin Del Potro (8).
In contrast, the second half of the draw includes Andy Murray (2) – who plays his first match against unseeded Benjamin Becker of Germany (no relation of Boris!) – Rafa Nadal (5), Swiss Roger Federer – 7 time finalist at Wimbledon (3), Jo-Wilfried Tsonga (6), and Marin Cilic (10). If play proceeds according to seedings, which is by no means guaranteed, Rafa Nadal would meet Roger Federer as early as the Quarter-Finals, with the victor potentially facing Andy Murray in the Semi-Finals, assuming Murray wins through against opponents likely to include Tsonga at Quarter-Final level. Murray, who was losing finalist at the Championship last year, is the second favourite to win the Championship this time round, with odds of 3/1 from bookmaker BoyleSports, with Nadal close behind at odds of 5/1 from the same bookmaker. Current Wimbledon Champion, Roger Federer, is fourth favourite with odds of 17/2 from bookmaker Paddy Power, reflecting a relatively poor start to the 2013 season, but the Swiss phenomenon should not be underestimated; after 10 years of top flight tennis with 17 Grand Slam singles titles under his belt, his hunger to win has not diminished with time, and his grass court preparations have
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