Will Djokovic fight again in the Calendar Slam?
With Daniil Medvedev’s US Open title depriving Novak Djokovic of a historic grand slam on the calendar still high on the minds of many tennis fans, I thought it would be interesting to see this that punters think of the chances of both players at each slam in 2022.
This idea sent me into a rabbit hole of questions. How well did the month / year lead lines in the past reflect the true champion of upcoming tournaments? How well do the favorites generally do in slams? Who are the biggest outsiders to have won slams in recent years?
Read on to see the answers to these questions, thanks to futures odds archived via sportsoddshistory.com and BetMGM.
Full odds for each tournament are available here.
open from Australia
The front row projects a repeat of the 2021 final in which Medvedev faced Djokovic. Of course, the outcome of that final was quite different from that of Queens, with Djokovic winning a straight-set title that kicked off his historic year.
Djokovic is a favorite at +125 while Medvedev is behind him at +350. Follows a group of Rafael Nadal, Dominic Thiem, Alexander Zverev and Stefanos Tsitsipas between +700 and +1000.
If history tells us anything, it’s buying Djokovic every time he plays in Melbourne. Djokovic has been the favorite in the previous three iterations of the Australian Open, and he’s converted on every opportunity. He has won nine Australian Opens in total, the most he has won at any slam.
The only reason he wasn’t the favorite in 2018 is because he was coming out of a 2017 that ended prematurely due to elbow issues. Djokovic was unable to push for an underdog title, falling in the fourth round to Hyeon Chung.
Roger Federer was the biggest underdog in the last five years to win the tournament, pulling off a shocking run that kicked off the “Neo-Federer” era in which he had an incredible 2.5 years.
Clay king Nadal is favored for the fifth consecutive year, although his chances are longer than the previous 4 occasions. Unsurprisingly, Djokovic is the second favorite as he comes out of a title in 2021 that saw him defeat Nadal in the semifinals.
Clay court specialist Tsitsipas is +350 but a big gap follows after the Greek. Thiem has the second best odds at +700, and Zverev is behind world number 8 with a number +1400.
If you thought Djokovic had a stranglehold on the Australian Open, take a look at Nadal at the French Open. Before his loss in 2021, the Spaniard had won nine of the previous 11 events and 13 of the previous 17. He only lost three times at Roland Garros, twice against Djokovic and once against Robin Soderling.
Due to its dominance, it’s hard to see the point of picking underdogs to win. Aside from Djokovic and Tsitsipas’ two shorter dogs, you are basically relying on Nadal’s injury which forced him to leave the remainder of the 2021 season to linger until 2022. Other than that, the record by Nadal speaks for itself.
The famous turf tournament is another that Djokovic has been choking on for years, and punters believe nothing will change in 2022.
Djokovic is a huge +100 favorite, far ahead of any competitor. Matteo Berrettini is the second favorite with a huge +800, while Medvedev is +900 and Nadal / Tsitsipas are both +1000. Swiss maestro Federer follows at +1400.
Seems like every tournament pays off for Djokovic’s punters, but none of late has been more than Wimbledon, where he actually won the tournament as an underdog in 2018. London is also home to another triple round for the world number one, thanks in part to a wild comeback he made in 2019 from 40 to 15 on the return when Federer was serving for the game.
It’s a tournament that will haunt Fed fans, but it’s a testament to Djokovic’s unparalleled success over the past five years. No player in the sport has been more profitable to enter the futures market early and often.
With everyone’s current state of health, you will have to support Djokovic to win another SW19 title, with Federer facing another knee surgery after the age of 40 and the grass not being a surface. favorite of Nadal who has a foot problem.
Both will find it difficult to challenge a healthy Djokovic, so Berrettini and Medvedev are probably the underdogs with the best chance of pulling off a big upset.
The only grand slam where the underdogs have consistently managed to win titles over the past four years has been the US Open. Despite being the favorite on four of the last five occasions, Djokovic has only won one title.
As can be the case with most hard-court slams in the years to come, Djokovic and Medvedev are big favorites against the rest of the field. Djokovic is at +130 while the 2021 champion is at +225. Nadal, Zverev, Thiem and Tsitsipas regroup from +800 to +1000 while Federer comes back behind them at +1600.
Unlike the previous 3 slams, parity is present in New York. Whether it’s because Djokovic was disqualified for hitting a linesman with a ball, or because tennis is a crazy sport, the tournament offers upheavals and underdog champions.
In 2020 it was the first that led to Thiem’s first Grand Slam title, but in 2021, 2019 and 2017 it was the second.
Of course, the most recent iteration of the US Open saw Medvedev deny Djokovic a historic slam on the calendar categorically, as the Russian knocked out Djokovic in straight sets. Medvedev completely dominated Djokovic, who looked as tight as he has ever been in his career.
Defending a tournament is a lot more difficult than winning it once, however, as additional pressure is put on you after winning a slam. Thiem is a prime example of this as he has struggled to excel in a big tournament since winning the 2020 US Open.
The Austrian nearly won the ATP final in late 2020 but fell to Medvedev in close sets. Other than that, he only reached the fourth round of the Australian Open and suffered a shocking loss at the French Open to Pablo Andujar in the first round. An injury at Mallorca before Wimbledon has since forced him to retire the remainder of the season.
All of this to say that there will be plenty of scenarios to assess when the Grand Slam season begins next year. For now, there is still a 2021 schedule to be concluded.