Rio 2016 Men’s Tennis Expert Betting Pick
World No. 1 Novak Djokovic of Serbia was the big favorite to win a gold medal in Olympic tennis on the men’s side but that field is now wide open after Djokovic was upset by Argentina’s Juan Martin del Potro on Sunday. Your overall favorite is now reigning Wimbledon champion and world No. 2 Andy Murray of Great Britain on Olympic tennis odds.
Here’s a Closer Look at the Rio 2016 Men’s Tennis Expert Betting Pick
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Del Potro had been off the ATP Tour for long stretches in the past three years due to wrist injuries and had often relied on a one-handed slice backhand since his 2016 comeback. Against Djokovic, del Potro’s wrist appeared fully healed as he native drove the ball with power off both wings, finishing with 41 winners in the 7-6 (4), 7-6 (2) win. Unlike in most men’s tournaments on the ATP Tour, this isn’t best of five sets but best of three. Del Potro also ended Djokovic’s medal hopes in London four years ago, prevailing in the bronze medal match.
Djokovic became the first man for 47 years to hold all four Grand Slam titles by winning the French Open in June. He suffered a shocking third-round loss to American Sam Querrey at Wimbledon but won his 30th Masters title in Toronto last week.
Del Potro will face Portugal’s Joao Sousa in the second round on Monday. The 27-year- old, who has dropped to 141st in the world after two years of injury problems, did not face a single break point on his serve against the 12-time Grand Slam champion Djokovic. Del Potro is a -445 favorite on tennis odds against Sousa.
Murray, who won gold in London four years ago, opened by beating Serbian Viktor Troicki 6-3, 6-2. Murray got the ball rolling when he broke in the sixth game to take a 4-2 lead. Troicki had a chance in the next game to break back but missed an easy volley. Murray held for 5-2 and went on to take the set. In the second Murray created another break at 1-1 with a wonderful running cross court winner and didn’t look back. Murray was pleased to tuck the first win under his belt.
“I was a bit nervous at the start having not played for a few weeks,” Murray said, “and it was my first match on hard courts for a while and in tricky windy conditions. But I did pretty well. It was a good start.”
If Murray were to win his second Olympic gold medal, it would give him 18 wins in a row to confirm he is in the most consistent form in his career. He has lost just once in his past 24 matches – the final at Roland Garros to Djokovic – and in the Olympics, he has not lost a singles match since August 2008. Next up is the Argentinian Juan Mónaco, who beat Mirza Basic 6-2, 6-2 and has taken two matches off Murray in five attempts, his last win six years ago.
The other favorite with Djokovic out now is Spain’s Rafael Nadal, the 2008 gold medalist in Beijing. He dropped only three games in his return to the Olympics, winning 6-2, 6-1 against Argentine Federico Delbonis. The third seed won 63 percent of his service points. Nadal, who missed the 2012 Olympics due to injury, now faces Andreas Seppi on Tuesday and is a -525 betting favorite.
But Nadal isn’t healthy, either. The win over Delbonis was Nadal’ first match since the French Open.
“If there is not Olympic Games I will not be here competing,” said Nadal, “because the wrist needs a little bit more time to be 100 percent recovered. But is only one time every four years, the experience in an Olympic Games is something unforgettable. I missed the last one in London so I didn’t want to miss this one.”
My Expert Pick
Murray beats del Potro for the gold medal.