Tue, Jul 19, 9:28am by Staff Writer
While Novak Djokovic’s hopes of achieving the Grand Slam were erased at Wimbledon, he is the overwhelming favourite to claim a maiden Olympic gold medal in Rio next month.
While the Serb is priced at $1.70 to take gold in the men’s singles with Centrebet and William Hill, he is rated what looks to be a generous $2 with Sportsbet.
While the golf competition has been rocked by the withdrawals of some of the world’s best, tennis looks set to showcase the leading players in Brazil.
Rafael Nadal (2008, Beijing) and Andy Murray (2012, London) have taken the top prize at the past two Olympics, while Roger Federer won silver in the singles four years ago.
That quartet will likely vie for the gold, but Nadal should be considered an outsider given his recent injury concerns.
The tournament will run from August 6 to 14 on a fast hardcourt surface.
Djokovic has had the edge over Murray in recent times, but the world No.2 deserves consideration after his Wimbledon triumph and the fact he won gold in 2012.
Other contenders for the top prize, according to William Hill punters, are Stan Wawrinka ($15) and Kei Nishikori ($19).
Milos Raonic, who fell short against Murray in the Wimbledon final, has withdrawn because of fears over the Zika virus, while Australia’s Nick Kyrgios will also not take part.
John Isner, Dominic Thiem, Bernard Tomic and Feliciano Lopez are other big names not competing.
It is shaping as a mouth-watering competition, but only a brave punter would bet against Djokovic – especially after his unexpected fourth-round exit at Wimbledon.
On the women’s side, Serena Williams is $2.90 with Centrebet and William Hill and $2.20 with Sportsbet.
One of the greatest players of all time, Williams has made every major final so far in 2016 and was the women’s singles champion in London.
Expect the $2.90 odds to be crunched in coming days after the withdrawal of Victoria Azarenka, who was the second favourite to win the event.
Azarenka, who will miss the games after revealing she is pregnant, was rated a $4 chance with Centrebet and William Hill on Monday night.
Angelique Kerber, who won the Australian Open final in January, is priced at $11 with Sportsbet, while Petra Kvitova ($13), Agniezka Radwanska ($15) and Madison Keys ($26) will also come into the thoughts of punters.
But it is difficult to see Williams being conquered. She has already lost two grand slam finals in 2016, and she will be primed for this tournament.
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