The chances of tennis fans seeing world No. 1 Novak Djokovic complete the rare calendar-year grand slam got a bit better on Thursday. That’s because Rafael Nadal pulled out of Wimbledon with a wrist injury, and certainly Nadal — if he was healthy — is one of likely just a few men who realistically would have had a shot to beat Djokovic on the grass of the All-England Club, although he wasn’t the favorite in the sports betting odds.
Closer Look at the Wimbledon Betting Odds Shifting With Rafael Nadal Out
After losing in the first round of the Australian Open in January, Nadal had been having a resurgent spring on clay, winning in Monte Carlo and Barcelona and reaching the semifinals in Madrid. At the recently-completed French Open, the season’s second major, Nadal was trying for an amazing 10th title on the red clay of Paris. Nadal entered the tournament despite the wrist bothering him. He was able to play his second-round match, which he won, after receiving an injection to numb the pain. His victory that day over Facundo Bagnis made him just the eighth man in history to win 200 matches at Grand Slam tournaments. However, he was forced to withdraw from the tournament the following day.
The 30-year-old Nadal said he risked further injury — and a likely break in his wrist — if he continued to play. The current world No. 4 had already pulled out of next week’s Wimbledon grass-court warm up at Queen’s Club. Nadal’s wrist problem is the latest in a long list of injuries, including to his knees, back and shoulder, which have seen him miss a number of majors in his career. He withdrew from the 2014 US Open with a right wrist injury, for example.
Nadal has won Wimbledon twice, in 2008 and 2010. Nadal was listed at +2000 on betting odds for this year’s championship. Nadal had failed to go beyond the fourth round in the last four years at Wimbledon, losing to Lukas Rosol, Steve Darcis, Nick Kyrgios and Dustin Brown. Now the question is whether Nadal will be ready for the Summer Olympics. The Olympic tennis tournament in Rio de Janeiro begins Aug. 6, and Nadal was chosen as Spain’s flag bearer for the opening ceremony. Nadal badly wants to play in Rio after missing the 2012 Games in London due to injury.
Djokovic is riding a 28-match grand slam win streak and can equal Pete Sampras’ career total of 14 grand slam titles this year — all before his 30th birthday. Djokovic of course won the Australian Open and French Open this year to become the first player since the legendary Rod Laver to hold all four major titles at once. The French Open was the only major tournament that Djokovic hadn’t won. He is the -140 favorite on betting lines for Wimbledon. Djokovic is the two-time defending champion and also won in 2011.
Last year, Djokovic beat Roger Federer in the final, 7-6 (7-1), 6-7 (10-12), 6-4, 6-3. He hit 46 winners and made 16 unforced errors, compared to Federer’s 58 winners but noteworthy 35 unforced errors. The slower conditions of the last decade at Wimbledon have contributed to the success of baseline players such as Djokovic while not helping the attack-minded like Federer.
Federer was, for the second consecutive season, deprived of becoming the first man to win eight Wimbledon titles and its oldest men’s champion in the Open Era. Federer didn’t play the French Open this year due to injury and so he could be 100 percent healthy for Wimbledon. He wants that record and is +600 on betting lines to win.
Wimbledon begins on June 27, with the draw on June 24.