Types of bets on tennis
Tennis betting is one of the more straight forward sports to bet on worldwide, with most of the markets self-explanatory but still the popularity of punting on the sport is not nearly as prevalent as it should be.
For most of the major tournaments the main markets you will be able to place a wager on are:
Tournament Winner: Who you believe will be the overall winner.
Head-to-head markets: Who you believe will be the winner of any particular match.
Set betting: A few variants such as who will win a specific set, how many sets will there be, will a particular player win a set or not and how many sets will be required for a specific player to win.
Tiebreak betting: Will there be a tiebreak in the match.
Handicap betting: Relates to the amount of games won by a particular player vs. another. For example, if the handicap was Andy Murray -4.5 against Gael Monfils +4.5, Murray must win by five or more games overall for the match for your bet to be successful.
Biggest tennis tournaments to bet on
Tennis is unlike any other sport to bet on in the world.
At any given moment top tier talent can be playing at several different tournaments concurrently, with ATP and WTA sanctioned events being played in almost every country around the world.
Even the casual sports fan is aware of the Grand Slam tournaments: The Australian Open, French Open, Wimbledon and the US Open.
What they may not know however is that each of these tournaments has several lead-up events that help the players acclimatise to the country’s conditions.
Australia for example has the Brisbane and Sydney internationals and the Kooyong Classic, while arguably the main event of the year Wimbledon has the Queens Club Championships.
These tournaments invariably give a great form line for the bigger players leading into the Grand Slams, but be wary – especially early on in the year — as players trail new equipment, new tactics and generally try and work themselves into a rhythm coming into the major events and can be susceptible to the upset.
Whilst the big four tournaments are the main ‘opens’ around the world, there are still many coveted titles that carry the open drawcard, with the Madrid Open, the Canadian Open and the event that is affectionately known as the ‘fifth major’ the Miami Masters.
All of these events draw the best players in the world to them, but do not always have five set matches, with both the women’s and men’s draws playing best of three sets. Generally the five set stuff is saved for the grand slams, although Davis Cup is also played over the traditional length.
Tips for betting on tennis
As stated above, betting on lead up tournaments can be tricky as form is sometimes thrown out the window as players trial new things, but generally the more astute gamblers will find value in the venue and player preference.
The best example of this is Rafael Nadal, whose dominance on clay is the stuff of legend, but certain surfaces, especially Wimbledon that favours a specific style of player (the serve-and-volley type) can give a player who typically does not have much success on other surfaces the chance to progress deep into the tournament.
Again, shrewd gamblers will be able to identify playing trends and bet accordingly. For example, two big servers that do not normally drop serve usually play their way to a tie-break more often than not, which presents the ‘tie-break in the match’ bet as an extremely enticing one.
Another way to increase your ability to make your investment count is waiting until the later rounds. Even the favourites will pay a little more than they would typically earlier in the rounds by virtue of the fact they are either playing a fellow seeded player or a player in red-hot form.
Playing surfaces and the impact that they have
In tennis there are three main surfaces that all the big tournaments are played on, which again separates the sport from all others in the world invariably played on one surface all year round.
The Grand Slam schedule typifies this, with the Australian and US Opens being played on hard court, the French Open being played on clay while, Wimbledon is played on grass at the All England Club.
With each surface comes a unique and distinctive set of characteristics that can exponentially increase the attributes of certain players whilst highlighting glaring deficiencies in others.
For example the French Open, played on clay, has long been one of the most unforgiving tournaments on the tour.
The surface is conducive to players who can apply great amounts of spin on the ball, whilst eliminating the impact big servers and heavy hitters can impart on the ball due to how slow the clay itself is.
The French Open has been a happy hunting ground for nine-time champion Rafael Nadal, who is a fantastic exponent of the top-spin forehand — a key attribute many players find almost impossible to combat on clay. In comparison 2014 US Open champion Marin Cilic, who relies heavily on his big-serve has struggled on the surface, having never made it past the fourth round since going professional in 2006.
However, the heavy hitters have experienced much greater success at the Australian and US Opens on the hard court, with consistent bounce and faster speeds favouring heavy hitters and all-round skill types.
Players like Roger Federer and Novak Djokovic have experienced great success due to their flexibility in playing style and ability to use that consistent bounce to control the battle of court position and force their opponents into bad decisions with their ground strokes. Having said that you can never write off a champion with Nadal winning many titles on these surfaces despite some struggles away form the clay early in his career.
Tennis live-betting – advantage to the punter
There are not many sports in the world that experience the fluctuations in live odds the sport of tennis does, and gamblers with patience and the knowledge of the sport can use this to benefit their bank account.
The match can change so dramatically from game to game that if the value of a live bet can oscillate rapidly between an short price and a life-changing dividend.
Compound this with the ability to bet on break of serve, points won and live-set betting makes tennis one of the more unique live-betting experiences.
Some countries have restrictions on in-play betting, like Australia, while othes like the United Kingdom have a thriving online live betting industry, often highlighted by Bet 365 who have pushed these markets worldwide.
Three iconic moments in the sport’s history:
Federer vs. Nadal – a rivalry for the ages:
Tennis has seen its fair share of rivalries over the years, but few compare to the magnitude that Roger Federer and Rafael Nadal’s battles brought to the court.
Both players use contrasting styles to achieve greatness, Federer with his exquisite skill and grace around the court, whilst Nadal’s heavy handed top-spin and unprecedented court coverage was enough to bludgeon even the greatest of tennis players into submission.
The two have clashed many times over the years, but their 2008 match in the Wimbledon final, which is regarded by many as one of the best matches of all-time, will go down as the moment these two titans took the sport of tennis somewhere where it had not been before.
Rod Laver – the man for all seasons
Arguably the greatest tennis player of all-time, Australia’s Rod Laver is one of the only men in history to achieve the Grand Slam (win all four major tournaments in one year).
Laver’s record is unrivalled; winning 200 singles titles — the most in the sport’s history — and also holds the record for most titles won in a single year (22).
Perhaps his greatest honour though is having centre court at the Australian Open named after him, solidifying his name in tennis folklore.
Monica Seles returns to the grand stage
Seles was the world number one in 1993 and was an unstoppable force, winning the French Open three years in a row and the US Open and the Australian Open twice, the last Australian Open title coming in the form of an epic win over all-time great Steffi Graf.
Fast forward just three months later in Hamburg, Seles was well on her way to another finals berth when a crazed Graf fan found his way onto the court, stabbing Seles in the back; and whilst her injuries were not life-threatening, Seles would not return to the tennis arena for another two years.
Seles returned in August 1995 to her former glory, winning the Canadian Open, miraculously her first tournament back after the attack. Seles’ triumph transcended the sport and gave new meaning to mind over matter.