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Nic Ladds 4th Jun 2009 - 17:31

It could pay at Wimbledon to side with the long shots

With Wimbledon just around the corner and the giants of the ATP Tour being felled left, right and centre it could be time to look at just who we want our money with.

The French Open has been full of shocks with many of the fancied players meeting untimely ends at the hands of supposedly inferior opposition, and while this could be perceived as a nightmare for punters, perhaps we should start looking further down the market for some great bets at huge prices.

The shock heard around the world was when 'The King of Clay', 'The Conquistador', 'The Matador', 'The Bull' otherwise known as Rafael Nadal was dumped from the French Open in the fourth round by Robin Soderling who doesn't appear to be well known enough to have a nickname and had pre-tournament odds of 250/1.

As a result 'Rafa' has been eased to odds of 7/4 for the Wimbledon crown and his Swedish conqueror has been slashed in to 33/1 in the betting.

Should Soderling go the whole way in the French Open, which at the time of writing is still at the semi-final stage, then you can be sure not only will his price shorten, but he will be a man to fear at Wimbledon.

What he has done is shown the whole tennis world that Nadal is no longer a man to be feared.

He is not injured, not tired, was on his favoured clay surface and there will now be a whole host of stars and wannabes queuing up to have their shot at Grand Slam glory.

Roger 'The Fed Express' Federer, who was previously unbeatable at Wimbledon was beaten by Rafa last year and has so far this year not set the world alight.

He shares 7/4 favouritism with the Spaniard but 'The Swiss Maestro' no longer has the authority to make his opponents dance around like puppets to his merry tune.

Third favourite Andy Murray carries the hopes of our eager nation on his Scottish shoulders and he is one man who knows full well Nadal is beatable.

He may only stand with two victories to Rafa's seven in the head-to-heads but he will always know he can beat him and the curly haired, hot-head is partial to a spot of tennis on a grass surface and 3/1 looks fair.

Murray too though was beaten into submission by Fernando Gonzalez in the quarterfinals of the French Open and you can get a whopping 66/1 on 'Gonzo'.

If you know full well that someone like Gonzalez on his day can comfortably dispose of Murray, which price would you rather have?

Of the top 10 in the world, only Federer and Juan Martin del Potro remain in the French Open (del Potro is 25/1 for Wimbledon glory).

Of the others, most notably Nikolay Davydenko who is 150/1 for Wimbledon was humiliated 3-0 man of the moment Robin Soderling.

Andy Roddick was battered 3-0 by Gael Monfils, (20/1 and 66/1 respectively for Wimbledon), and while Roddick always plays well at the All England Tennis Club, would you want 20/1 about someone who so often inexplicably struggles against inferior opponents?

Anyway, the point is the French Open has shown us that perhaps players at longer odds are worth having a look at rather than getting your fingers burnt backing Nadal at 1/20, this especially applies to those who play for small stakes.

Some people play grass very well and if they can get a decent draw and/or a good run going then money can be made.

Some ones to look out for this year could be Marat Safin who would just as likely smash his racket around his opponent's head as serve an ace but he reached the semi-finals of Wimbledon last year and is 150/1.

Mario Ancic has had some good finishes at Wimbledon and is 100/1, while Mikhail Youzhny always seems to run in to a big opponent early on but if he can get a favourable draw then he could make a mockery of the 200/1 on offer.

Also, once more prices are released, Jeremy Chardy and Jurgen Melzer are two former junior Wimbledon champions who have the serve to trouble the best.

There will always be punters who will more than happy to steam into the short-priced favourites, especially as Nadal has now drifted to a very back able price for outright glory.

The men's tennis competition is currently so competitive with so many closely matched competitors that it can sometimes pay to look further down the field and while the perceived risk may be greater, the handsome rewards are obvious.

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