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Betting on Tennis

There are lots of betting opportunities within the game of tennis, with bookmakers running a number of different markets for matches. Some of the most popular markets are listed below:

Match Result – The simplest form of bet in tennis, this is simply picking the winner of a match and backing them. Sometimes the odds can be short in these markets (particularly when the star players are in action) but you can also add them to an accumulator to boost the odds.

Set Betting – Similar to match result in that you are backing a winner, but in this market you also have to predict the correct score. This can be a worthwhile market if a favourite is massive odds on to win the match, as these odds will offer much more value than the straight results market. Example: Andy Murray to beat Stan Wawrinka 2-0 at 10/3.

Both players to win a set – Another simple bet, this simply means backing both of the players on court to win a single set. This market is good if there is a tight match with little to choose between the players, so instead of backing a winner you just need both to claim a single set each for your bet to win.

Set Exacta – This is a market which does offer bigger odds as you have to predict the exact order of sets won in a match. So, instead of backing a player just to win 2-1, you would have to predict which sets exactly they would win/lose (e.g. Murray WLW – which means to win your bet Murray would need to win the first and third sets but lose the second set).

Total Sets – This is another simple bet in which you just have to predict how many sets there will be in a single match. In most tournaments there will just be two options to back – two sets or three sets – as the matches are best of three. In Grand Slam’s for mens matches it is a little more difficult with the matches being best of five so there could be three, four or five sets.

Handicaps – This can be another good way of getting more value of what looks to be a fairly one-sided match. If a big named player such as Novak Djokovic is a huge favourite to win, he is likely to be around 1/20 to win. But if you fancy that player to dominate then you can back them with a handicap on games. So for example, if you backed Djokovic to win with – 5.5 games, then he would need to win six or more games than his opponent throughout the match to win. It’s certainly a way of boosting your odds if you are confident enough in your selection.

Over/Under Games – This is another market which you can look at if you cannot pick a winner in a match. It offers two options, under or over a certain amount of games in a match. The number is usually 22.5, so you would be backing either Over 22.5 games or Under 22.5 games.

Another market you can look at betting on the tennis is Request-A- Bet with Sky Bet. These bets combine a selection of different markets and matches and we ourselves get our own priced up by Sky. Below you can see a couple of examples of these, one of which is a pre- tournament RAB, the other is a single day RAB tailored to certain matches.

ATP Miami

Pre-Tournament: Roger Federer to win ATP Miami and Milos Raonic to serve most tournament aces 12/1

Daily RAB: Nadal to win & under 18.5 games, Kerber to win 2-0 with Raonic & Cilic to serve over 9.5 aces 6/1

Now that you have an idea of what markets you can find in tennis betting, read on for more information on the game itself, key words and terminology and some of the successful players to look out for when betting.

How the game works

A match is composed of points, games and sets. Both players play either best of three or best of five set matches. Most tournaments are best of three sets, but in Grand Slams it is best of five for the men. Each set is first to six, unless they get to six-all in which case a tie- break is enforced to decide who wins the set. Sets must be won by two clear games, which means that a player must break an opponents serve at least once. Players take it in turns game-by- game to serve. Which ever player gets to the amount of sets needed first will win the match.

Key words and terminology

Serve – The shot which a player uses to start a point.
Return – The first shot a player who is receiving serve plays.
Ace – When a player serves the ball and their opponent doesn’t manage to get a racket to the ball.
Fault – When a player’s first serve misses the box or doesn’t go over the net.
Double Fault – When the player hits two serves which miss the box or don’t go over the net.
Set – Consists of 12 games and a tie-break.
Break – When the receiving player wins a game on their opponents serve.
Tie-Break – Happens if a set is tied at 6-6, used to decide the winner of the set.
Deuce – When both players reach 40-40 in a game.
Advantage – The second point after a game reaches 40-40.

Major tournaments

Australian Open – Held in January every year, the Australian Open is the first Grand Slam of the season. Located in Melbourne, this tournament is played on a hard court and was founded in 1905. Novak Djokovic and Roy Emerson are the most successful mens players at the Australian Open with six titles apiece, whilst Margaret Court holds 11 titles on the women’s side.

French Open – The second Grand Slam of the year, the French Open (or Roland Garros) is held at the end of May into June. The tournament, which is based in Paris was founded in 1891 and is the only Grand Slam to be played on Clay. Rafael Nadal is the most successful mens player at the tournament with nine titles to his name, whilst Chris Evert holds seven titles on the women’s side.

Wimbledon – Traditionally the biggest tournament on the tennis calendar, Wimbledon is held at the end of June and into July – almost straight after the French Open. It is the only Grand Slam of the season to be played on grass and was founded way back in 1877. William Renshaw, Pete Sampras and Roger Federer are the most successful men at Wimbledon with seven titles each, whilst Martina Navratilova is the most successful woman with nine titles.

US Open – The last Grand Slam of the season, the US Open is held at Flushing Meadows in New York. Like the Australian Open, it is played on a hard court and was founded in 1881. Three men have seven titles at the US Open; Richard Sears, Bill Larned and Bill Tinden whilst Molla Bjurstedt Mallory leads the way for the the women with eight.

 Murray plays Federer on Centre Court at Wimbledon

Most successful active tennis players

Men

Roger Federer – The Swiss is considered by most as the greatest tennis player of all time. His Australian Open win in 2017 handed him an 18th Grand Slam title and 89th career title.

Major Honours: 5x Australian Open, 1x French Open, 7x Wimbledon, 5x US Open.

Rafael Nadal – Federer’s great rival, Rafael Nadal is another player most consider one of the best ever. The Spaniard has 14 Grand Slam titles to his name, including nine French Open titles which has earned him the nickname the ‘King of Clay’.

Major Honours: 1x Australian Open, 9x French Open, 2x Wimbledon, 2x US Open, 1x Olympic Gold.

Novak Djokovic – After being world number three for several years behind Federer and Nadal, Novak Djokovic made his big breakthrough in 2011. That year saw him win three of the four Grand Slam titles and since then he has gone on to dominate, claiming 12 Slams in total.

Major Honours: 6x Australian Open, 1x French Open, 3x Wimbledon, 2x US Open.

Andy Murray – The star of British tennis, Andy Murray has had to overcome the dominance of Federer, Nadal and Djokovic in his career to win major titles. Born into an era of arguably the best three players ever, it hasn’t been easy for Murray but he has managed a magnificent 45 titles and counting. In 2012 he ended his long wait for a Grand Slam title at the US Open and in 2016 he finally became world number one.

Major Honours: 2x Wimbledon, 1x US Open, 2x Olympic Gold.

Stanislas Wawrinka – Another Swiss player, Stan Wawrinka has enjoyed a late rise to prominence. In 2014 he was a shock winner of the Australian Open at the age of 28. Since then he has been in and around the top four and has three Grand Slams to his name.

Major Honours: 1x Australian Open, 1x French Open, 1x US Open.

Women

Serena Williams – Widely considered as the best female tennis player of all time, Serena Williams has had a wonderful career. To date, she has won 72 WTA titles including 23 Grand Slams. Her serve is the best the women’s game has ever seen and twice in her career has held all four Slams at once.

Major Honours: 7x Australian Open, 3x French Open, 7x Wimbledon, 6x US Open.

Venus Williams – Sister of Serena, Venus has also had a magnificent career. She has managed to win eight Grand Slam titles to date, the first being back in 2000. Unlike her sister, she has failed to win all four Slams, but particularly enjoyed playing at Wimbledon where she won five titles.

Major Honours: 5x Wimbledon, 3x US Open.

Maria Sharapova – Russian star Maria Sharapova burst onto the scene in 2004, defeating Serena Williams in the Wimbledon final to claim her first Grand Slam title at the age of just 16. Since then she has gone on to consistently be at the top of the game, picking up a further four Slam titles.

Major Honours: 1x Australian Open, 2x French Open, 1x Wimbledon, 1x US Open.