Olympics Betting: Hints from Wimbledon
The joke that when Murray wins he's British and when he loses is Scottish, is a tired one.
In the shadows of the Fed's win at Wimbledon, Jamie Pacheco tells you what he learned from this to help him find some value in Tennis tournament of the 2012 Olympic Games.
Roger Federer deserves all the respect in the world after his record-breaking exploits at Wimbledon, but the value in Olympic Tennis betting lies elsewhere.
For Federer it was another Grand Slam title, his 17th and a record that's unlikely to ever be beaten. Rafael Nadal has 11 but his body looks too bruised and battered to win another seven. Novak Djokovic has 'only' five and too much catching up to do given that at 25 he's very much in the middle stage of his career, rather than at the start of it.
Anyway, if Sunday's performance in the Wimbledon Final is anything to go by, I don't think Federer is done yet. He could well have won 20 by the time he hangs up that magic wand of a Wilson BLX Pro Staff.
But for Federer, Sunday was about more than just winning his first Grand Slam for two-and-a-half years. It was about proving everyone else wrong.
He was too old; he'd lost it; Djokovic was now the invincible force he himself had been; even Nadal still had the better of him in big Grand Slam matches, and Nadal wasn't even the best.
That's what everybody was saying.
But in interviews the Fed Express said that he genuinely felt he'd be back winning Slams, he felt as good as he'd ever felt and it just hadn't happened for him. But that wasn't down to age: it was just one of those things.
Either way, Wimbledon 2012 is all in the past now.
But only in terms of name.
In terms of venue, the main protagonists will be back there to do it all over again in three weeks' time as they bid to win an Olympic gold medal. How good a form guide then was Wimbledon ahead of this event?
It's a good one but there are subtle differences.
The Olympic event is played on the very same courts at SW19 and we know that grass is arguably the surface that requires the greatest nous, the one where being a specialist makes the most difference. This is partly due to the fact that the grass court season is by far the shortest of the tennis calendar. Unless you're making the latter stages of tournaments during the month-long season, you don't get much experience playing on it.
Nadal, a two-time Wimbledon champ was sent packing early this year in south-west London by Lukas Rosol of the Czech Republic, who beat him in five. There are two ways of looking at this.
On the one hand it was just one of those days when the underdog went for his shots and nailed most of them.
On the other hand it was the latest example of Nadal historically being the most vulnerable of the Big Four in terms of early exits at Slams.
More worrying perhaps was the fact that Nadal was ordered to rest his body (more precisely his knees) after Wimbledon as a result of recent exertions, in particular his record-breaking victory at Roland Garros.
But it should be remembered that the Olympics are played over three sets with only the final played over five, so if Nadal's body needs the most nursing, the 'shorter' format could arguably play into his hands. He is, of course, the defending Olympic champion but I can't see the relevance of a triumph four years ago, played on the other side of the world, on a completely different surface.
If you want to back Nadal @ Betfair odds of (5.2) you at least know he's going to give you everything he's got.
But he's not for me at that price.
And neither is Djokovic @ Betfair odds of (3.2).
His 'annus mirablis' of 2011 may well prove to be the single most impressive season in ATP history given what he won, who he beat and how he did it. But Nadal should have taken him down in Australia in January, and I don't necessarily buy the 'rain break saved Nadal at the French' theory as he surrendered meekly at the hands of Federer in the semis of Wimbledon.
He's no longer the number one ranked player in the world (Federer is) and he may just have recently lost that confidence that made him believe he could win from any position.
I'm not really not sure why he's favourite.
The joke that when Murray wins he's British and when he loses is Scottish, is a tired one. But there may be something in the fact that the Olympic spirit does unite fans more than any Wimbledon would. It's really not important which of the different countries a Great Britain athlete comes from. Who cared that Colin Jackson was Welsh? Or that Liz McColgan was Scottish? Who even remembers? Djokovic has won the Davis Cup with Serbia, Nadal numerous times with Spain and both have enjoyed the patriotic support that comes with these big ties.
But Murray hasn't and I don't really blame him for not bothering to turn up against Kazakhstan or Belorussia or whoever, however much the fans wish he would.
This time he may feel that representing Team GB is easier than being Andy Murray of Great Britain, a subtle difference but an important one. He may feel that everyone really is behind him. And if Jack Houghton is right when he says there are too many mental scars from past GS final defeats for him to actually win one, let's remember this isn't a Slam. That may make all the difference.
So I'll show all the respect in the world to Federer, not least because he won the World Tour Finals back in December here in London, and the Tomas Berdychs and Jo-Wilfried Tsongas of this world, who I haven't even mentioned and who have the big game to win this.
But I can't have Murray as big as (8.8) in very similar conditions to those in which he came agonisingly close to winning his maiden Slam on Sunday.
Recommended Bet @ Betfair
Back Andy Murray to win Tennis Olympic gold medal @(8.8)