Thankfully for the Serbian, it will not happen until the semifinals of Roland Garros, thus improving his tennis betting odds to make it at least that far. It would be their 50th match against each other, and while Novak Djokovic leads the personal series 26-23, Rafael Nadal – who has won the most Coupes des Mousquetaires (9) and is referred to as the King of Clay – has been the bane of Novak’s never ending quest to win a French Open. The men’s draw on Friday made sure there would be no rematch of the 2014 or 2012, both of which the Serb lost to Nadal.
Djokovic only scored his first victory in seven French Open encounters with his nemesis in the quarter-finals last year, but went on to lose the finals anyway to current champion Stan Wawrinka. People who bet on tennis will have no problem backing Djokovic when he opens against Chinese Taipai's Yen-Hsun Lu. The two have only squared off once before – a Djokovic win at Wimbledon in 2010 – but the fact that the 32 year old Lu is ranked as the 100th tennis player in the world makes him the tennis betting underdog versus the world No. 1, who has a 48-11 record on clay in the Paris. Lu has seen the second round only two times in eight showings.
So let’s call that first round match a warm-up for Djokovic. His first real test could be another Spaniard – 14th seed Roberto Bautista Agut. If tennis betting predictions hold up, the Serb would carry a 23-2 head-to-head record into the prophesied quarter-final match with 7th seed Tomas Berdych. As for Nadal, he will be the favorite for fans who bet on tennis against first round opponent Australian Sam Groth. Nadal is the player who stands to gain more from Roger Federer's withdrawal; nevertheless, the No. 5 in the world may be in for a bumpy ride after that, with the likes of Fabio Fognini and Dominic Thiem looming in the horizon.
Nadal has had a strong season, winning clay-court titles in Barcelona and Montecarlo, and losing only to big names like Djokovic and Andy Murray – the latter of whom actually has the best match-winning percentage on clay for 2016. The world No. 2 should be able to breeze through to the fifth round where he is drawn to meet Kei Nishikori – who has reached several finals as of late but has failed to big one – and, if gets past the Asian, a semifinal clash with defending champion Wawrinka. The Swiss arguably has the toughest first round match among the first four seeds versus Lukas Rosol, and might meet Jeremy Chardy, Gilles Simon, Milos Raonic, or Marin Cilic along the way.