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Despite its reputation for being a rather posh game (particularly during Wimbledon season), tennis is in fact a brutal test of speed, strength and reaction. It may not be much of a strategy based game, but that doesn’t mean it’s not a psychological one. The pressure of needing to finally win that last big tournament can make even the greatest athlete crack. It’s also unique in the sense that women are regarded just as highly as men within the world of tennis, with the Williams sisters being perhaps the most well known tennis players in the world.
But just because it’s not a game known for tactics to the same extent as some other sports, that doesn’t mean that betting on tennis is any less in depth. There’s plenty to look at and to consider. In fact, as most of the variables are of a physical nature, it’s actually easier to understand and keep track of than something like golf, which has an enormous amount of intricate data that is needed to be decoded. As far as intelligent sports betting goes, tennis might be the ideal starting point.
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Know the player’s motivation
Unlike team games, tennis relies on one individual (unless of course, you are watching doubles). This means that the psychology of that one individual plays a great deal more importance than it would in a team based game. Their motivation can come and go based on a whole host of different factors, and some of them can be quite unexpected. For example, Lukas Rosal won a major title this year following his father’s death. Other strange example includes certain players who appear to only play well in their home countries like John Isner in America or Bernard Tomic in Australia.
The truth is that an individual game can be a lot more psychologically taxing than a team sport, where the entire burden is not on a single player and they have people around them who are going through the same challenges and are able to offer support. Many punters have lost money when big players have been paid large sums in order to go to smaller tournaments. Being used to play for big prizes, they lack the motivation and therefore the form that people expect to see.
On the other hand, there may be such a thing as too much motivation. A player with an enormous amount of pressure to win the big one can cause them to choke, to overthink and fall at the last hurdle. This is particularly true for players who consistently fall short of the big win. Tim Henman is the obvious example of the ‘always the bridesmaid’ tennis player. Luckily for betters, these things do tend to come in patterns and can be recognised by carefully examining a player’s history.
Top 5 tennis matches
Wimbledon final 2005
Roger Federer vs Andy Roddick
Roger Federer inflicted a heartbreaking victory on Andy Roddick in the 2009 Wimbledon final. It looked like Roddick might score the upset, holding his serve until the final game. Unfortunately, the Swiss tennis legend proved too tough and Roddick lost the big points to Federer, who has proven himself to be the big match player to beat.
1984 French Open final
Ivan Lendl vs John Mcenroe
This was an absolutely blistering back and forth display of pure tennis skill. Displaying two very different styles, these two players proved themselves to be the perfect foils for one another. John Mcenroe was in the middle of an unbelievable season, one of the best of his career, but Lendl managed to put a blotch on his perfect record by pulling off a last minute comeback to win the open.
2001 Wimbledon final
Goran Ivanisevic vs Patrick Rafter
Having been to the finals three times previously before being knocked off the top off the mountain, Goran Ivanisevic had demons to exercise in the 2001 show stopping finale. The man in his way was Australian no 1 Pat Rafter, whose serve and volley style of play had proved devastating to his opponents throughout the tournament. Ivansevic was ranked No. 125 and had only come into the tournament through a wildcard. But the Wimbledon fairy tale came true with Goran finally sat atop the sporting world, somehow defeating the much more skilled Rafter. He is both the lowest ranked player and the first wildcard entry to ever win the tournament.
1980 Wimbledon final
Bjorn Borg vs John Mcenroe
This game is simply poetry in motion for tennis fans. An instant classic, this features some of the greatest tennis ever played, with the fourth set tiebreak being regarded by many as the finest display of play in tennis sporting history.
Theirs is considered one of the greatest rivalry, not just in tennis but in sports. Very different characters, they developed a mutual respect for one another, one which continues to this day. McEnroe, known as a hot head, never once lost his cool against Borg, no matter how high the tension. And when these two played, the tensions were high. It has been called the Ali/Frazier of tennis and this final is arguably the greatest in Wimbledon history.
The calm and collected Swede vs the brash, aggressive upstart, the scene of the veteran being taken to his limit by a prepared and skilled young opponent was pure Hollywood. The scene of Borg falling to his knees in relief upon winning the game is one of the sport’s most emotional and well remembered moments.
2008 Wimbledon Final
Roger Fedora vs Rafeal Nadel
For years, Fedora had been the top dog of the tennis world. That was all about to change however, as Rafael Nadal topped the sporting giant in an epic 4 hour 48 minute clash. This was Nadal’s first Major outside clay. He would go on to take Federa’s No.1 ranking spot. This final announced there was a new man to beat.
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Get down with the fitness
Obviously tennis players always strive to keep themselves in great shape, at least the good ones do anyway. However, because it is such a demanding sport, some physical injuries can occur and pile up very easily.
Players are naturally fresher early in the year, so it’s something you need to pay more attention to as time goes on. Of course, knowing the player is important to this as well. Some can just deal with injuries and tiredness better than others. The same goes for the travelling and the general wear down of a tour: some players deal with this extremely well, while others fold.
Five up and coming tennis players in 2016
These five professionals are worth keeping an eye on if you are looking to place some winning bets this year.
This 19 year old Swede is the only teenager to qualify for all four grand slams. That’s an incredible feat for a player of his experience. If he can keep that big match calm, he could be poised for very exciting things.
Hyeon is another 19 year old who has dominated the challenger and futures tours. In an astonishing display of future promise, he almost toppled Stan Wawrinka with three straight tiebreaks.
This is a man who, aged only 18, is being considered as a possible leader of his generation and multiple time grand champion. Already ranked 33, many believe we are looking at a future legend.
This 6’6 giant has already given up glimpses as to what he can do, beating the great Novak Djokovic in an exhibition match before Wimbledon. The 18 year old German has also been impressing everyone with his deadly mixture of size, speed and technique.
Aged just 17 years old, the young Croatian has already seen herself reach the mountain tops of the junior rankings. She is expected to excel in the professional tours, where her powerful, accurate style is bound to find a home.
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Grass or clay?
Tennis may not have to deal with the elements to the extent of other sports but there is one environmental factor which massively affects how a player is likely to perform. Do they prefer grass or clay?
Some are all rounders but many great players find their Achilles heel on the wrong type of pitch. Andy Murray struggles on clay, while Nikolay Davydenko is known as a player whose game dips so dramatically on grass that he could lose to much, much lesser opponents. It doesn’t even necessarily favour big servers as would be typical.
Although weather isn’t a factor to the extent it is with a game like golf, it’s still worth considering on outdoor courts which may be particularly windy. This makes players with a high ball toss at a distinct disadvantage.
The only way to really take advantage of all the possible outcomes is to have a good working knowledge of the player you are betting on. All the information is available online now through various stat sites along with the obvious performance stance you’ll want to know anyway. These little details aren’t always taken into account by bookmakers, so you can get some very good odds if you keep on top of all these possibilities.