2009 French Open champion Roger Federer (above).

First, the odds for the men’s 2011 French Open champion:

Odds                                    

Alexander Dolgopolov Jr. —  +15000 (wager 100 units to win 15000)

Andy Murray —  + 1500 (wager 100 units to win 1500)

Andy Roddick —  + 20000 (wager 100 units to win 20000)

David Ferrer —  + 2500

Ernests Gulbis —  + 15000

Fernando Gonzalez — + 15000

Gael Monfils — + 10000

Gilles Simon — + 15000

Jo-Wilfried Tsonga — + 15000

John Isner — + 20000

Juan Carlos Ferrero — + 15000

Juan Martin Del Potro — + 2500

Juan Monaco —  + 20000

Jurgen Melzer — + 10000

Marin Cilic — + 10000

Mikhail Youzhny — + 15000

Milos Raonic — + 15000

Nicolas Almagro — + 8000

Nikolay Davydenko — + 10000

Novak Djokovic — + 125

Rafael Nadal — – 125

Richard Gasquet — + 8000

Robin Soderling — + 3000

Roger Federer — + 1500

Stanislas Wawrinka — + 15000

Thomaz Bellucci — + 8000

Tomas Berdych — + 8000

Field (Any Other Player) — + 5000

Comments:

These odds are rough.  Only Nadal and Djokovic have reasonable odds, and Nadal is the slight favorite right now.  Honestly, we expected to see Djokovic with a much larger number next to the plus, and we expected to see Federer and Soderling with much lower numbers next to the plus.  Caesar’s Palace is paying very little respect to the players listed, as well as the rest of the field. 

Federer is 1 year removed from holding the trophy.  This is a tournament where traditionally, hell breaks loose on high seeds, and we’d definitely take a flyer on Federer, Murray, or Soderling if asked to play an odds on dog.  Probably Del Potro too, though we can’t tell if he’s really ready for RG, and hasn’t gotten his seed up high enough yet to enjoy a nice draw (world # 27).  Del Potro fans shouldn’t worry though.  He’s played impressive tennis this year, has won a few tournaments, and has shown good mental toughness.  We like the way he spanked a good clay courter in Verdasco, 6-2, 6-2 in the Estoril final, and as far as we can count, he is one of the few guys to win a title on clay and hards this year.  But DP did not play Rome, was a walkover for Nadal in Madrid due to a thigh injury, and there is talk that he may not be ready to go Sunday. 

We’d like to see what Federer’s odds were in 2009 when no one saw the Nadal upset (Sunday Bloody Sunday) to Soderling coming.  We’ve said for a few weeks that Andy Murray would surprise on clay this year, and we think he looks pretty good.  He was only a few points from beating Nadal in Monte Carlo and Djokovic in Rome.

A few other notable items strike us.  Milos Raonic, who hasn’t done much on clay aside from one semi-final in Estoril (7-5 match record on clay), is being shown a modicum of respect by Caesar’s, no doubt due to his meteoric rise in the game (world # 28).  “America’s best”, Mardy Fish, not a typical clay courter, got no play in these odds.  Sam Querrey (world # 26) also got no play, and that the steadily dropping John Isner, who has won, we believe 1 match only at RG in his career, has the same odds as Andy Roddick, bodes poorly for them both.

There are only five major champions listed above (Roddick, Djokovic, Ferrero, Federer, Nadal).  Of those, only Federer, Nadal, and Ferrero have won RG.  Fernando Gonzalez, a few points from the final against Roger in 09, was listed, no doubt because of that showing and because he is one of the few men around who has beaten Nadal on clay.

There are many Frenchmen listed, and we’d have to say former semi-finalist Gael Monfils, despite commitment issues, does has the game to win here, and probably only here.  We thought Dolgopolov’s scrambling style would translate to clay, but so far it has not.  Ferrer, an excellent clay courter, has been given some respect despite beating Nadal only once on clay way back in 04.  But Ferrer has beaten Nadal at multiple majors, as has Andy Murray, and that’s not something that even Roger Federer can boast of.

We aren’t going to go crazy for Almagro, a fine clay courter, but one who matches up horribly with Nadal’s heavy spin.  When the “dream matchup” finally came off between them a few years back at RG, it was no contest.

You know we love Gasquet, but not in this spot.  Check back with us at Wimbledon.  And we’ve liked Thomaz Bellucci on clay for a few seasons now, and see him as being a handful for anyone.  We’re sure that the top guys will be looking closely at their draw sheets for his name tomorrow night.

In the big picture, we are adopting our “anyone but Rafa” approach to rooting philosophy.  This is a crucial major for Rafa in his pursuit of Roger, because if things are different at Roland Garros, then we don’t see Rafa getting too many more than the 9 majors he already has.  Betting is a different story.  Pre-tournament?  Let us say again how we think Roger, Murray, and the Big Swede are excellent bets.  And as a very long shot, we’ll take Wawrinka.  He’s a gritty clay courter, and very comfortable on the surface.

Crack (https://crackbillionair.wordpress.com, www.crackbillionair.com)