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Rafael Nadal will go down in history as one of the very best tennis players of all time. The 31-year-old has had all sorts of problems with form and injury over the past few years but he played perhaps the best tennis of his career when winning the French Open for a 10th time little over a week ago.
There is no doubt that Nadal is most at home on clay courts. His game and the way he moves are perfectly matched for the clay but his tennis was so good at Roland Garros that his price has come tumbling in for Wimbledon.
Unfortunately for British tennis fans hoping to get an early look at Nadal before he begins playing in SW19, the Spaniard has decided to pull out of the upcoming Aegon Championships at Queen’s Club. That’s not great news for those who have tickets but it’s handy for world number one, Andy Murray, who gets a clearer run at winning Queen’s Club for a record sixth time.
The Brit’s form at Roland Garros was encouraging after a couple of shaky performances but he’ll have to keep his levels very high to win at Queen’s against the likes of Milos Raonic, Marin Cilic and the man who beat him in Paris, Stan Wawrinka.
Andy Murray 11/8 (Bet365)
Milos Raonic 6/1 (Betfred)
Marin Cilic 12/1 (William Hill)
Stan Wawrinka 12/1 (Betfred)
Nick Kyrgios 14/1 (Betfred)
Grigor Dimitrov 16/1 (Betfred)
Tomas Berdych 14/1 (Bet365)
Feliciano Lopez 20/1 (Betfred)
Despite playing much of his formative tennis on clay courts in Spain, Murray has never really found his best stuff on the clay. His phenomenal record at Queen’s Club and two Wimbledon wins prove that his game is much better suited to grass courts.
When you couple his pedigree on grass up with the way that his best tennis is slowly returning to him, it’s no surprise that Murray is the favourite to win the Aegon Championships.
While winning at Queen’s is a big prize in it’s own right, Murray will be hoping that a solid week at the Aegon Championships will be the catalyst for further success when he begins the defence of his title at Wimbledon. Both of his previous wins at Wimbledon were preceded by victory at Queen’s Club and he looks in a good place to at least put the first piece of the puzzle in place.
There was no shame in losing to Wawrinka at Roland Garros. The Swiss was playing incredible clay court tennis but back on the grass courts of Queen’s that he loves so much, Murray should be able to prove why he is the number one player in the world by winning the tournament at a best price of 11/8 with Bet365.
Andy Murray gets his championships at Queen’s Club under way with a match against fellow British player, Aljaz Bedene (although how long he remains a British tennis player remains to be seen). As well as the British number three, there are some big challenges for Murray to make it to the final but he should be able to conquer the top half of the draw.
So what about the players who can only possibly meet Murray in the final from the bottom half?
Well, number two seed, Stan Wawrinka is sure to get his fair share of support in the betting at 12/1 with Betfred. The problem is, he’s never had the best record on grass. He’s only gone as far as the quarter-finals at Wimbledon and lost in the first round of Queen’s when seeded second last year.
A better option could well be the man who Murray beat in the final of both Queen’s and Wimbledon last year, Milos Raonic. The big serving Canadian won’t thank you for saying it, but he should improve for those near misses and if he gets the mental side right there is no questioning that he’s got the ability to win at Queen’s Club.
Raonic is the second favourite but still looks decent value at 6/1 with Betfred, odds which could provide you a nice double winner if you back him each-way alongside an outright bet on Murray.
If 6/1 doesn’t quite do it for you, perhaps the 16/1 that Betfred are quoting on Grigor Dimitrov will prove more tempting.
The 26-year-old did have a poor start to his grass court season when he lost in the first round in Stuttgart last week but that should give him an idea on where he needs to improve and a week with his coach could see him return to action in much better form.
Andy Murray to win at 11/8 with Bet365
Milos Raonic each-way at 6/1 with Betfred