French Open: Novak Djokovic favourite after Rafael Nadal is handed difficult draw
Novak Djokovic to head into French Open as favourite after Rafael Nadal is handed difficult draw
By Tim Clement - Twitter: @SkyTimClement
Last Updated: 23/05/14 11:51pm
Main rival Rafael Nadal, who lost their final in Rome last week, was handed a tough draw when it was made at Roland Garros and, at 6/4, his title odds are now bigger than they've been for the clay-court grand slam since he first won it in 2005.
The defending champion may have to beat Nicolas Almagro, David Ferrer, Stanislas Wawrinka and Djokovic if he is to claim his ninth title.
With the aforementioned four all enjoying victories over Nadal in 2014, including three of those on clay, the Spaniard has been pushed out from 11/8 to 6/4 to defend his crown, while Djokovic nudges marginally ahead in the betting at 6/5.
Andy Murray (20/1) is also in Nadal's half but is considered less of a threat than Australian Open champion Wawrinka at 9/1. Roger Federer, seeded to meet Djokovic in the other half of the draw, is 18/1 fourth favourite.
Sky Bet's Ned Brooker said: "We were struggling to pick a favourite between Djokovic and Nadal but the Spaniard has certainly been handed the tougher of routes to the final.
"Nadal has endured a below-par 2014, with his usually-invincible form on clay deserting him with three defeats, meaning he will start the event at the longest price since he first won the French Open back in 2005."
In the women's draw, defending champion Serena Williams and the in-form Maria Sharapova were both placed in the same quarter.
Williams is the 5/4 favourite with Sharapova, who has lost her last 15 matches against the American, pushed out from 9/2 to 11/2.
That was good news for former champion Li Na, who is fancied to come through the bottom half of the draw - she's now the second favourite at 9/2.