French Open Draw

When the tournament organizers announced that 14-time Roland Garros champion Rafael Nadal would be facing Alexander Zverev in the first round, there were audible gasps heard throughout the room. Nadal, who might be playing the tournament he's owned for the final time in his career, will have to defeat a legitimate title contender right away if his story is going to continue. And while I’m not sure Nadal has what it takes to win the match, I do think the Spaniard is going to battle. That’s why I like the Over on an alternate game total of 33.5.

If Nadal can win even one set, it’s hard to imagine this match going Under. And I’m willing to deal with -159 odds to play this instead of going with Nadal +2.5 sets at nearly -225. Realistically, the bets aren’t all that different. Assuming this ends in four sets, as long as Zverev doesn’t absolutely pummel Nadal in the other three, the two of them should breeze over this number.

So, can Nadal get himself on the board and avoid getting stomped the rest of the match? I think so.


In the past week, Nadal has won practice sets against Daniil Medvedev and Holger Rune, two of the best players in the world. So, Nadal is clearly a little more comfortable than he was earlier in the clay-court season, and he said so in his pre-match presser. Medvedev himself noted that Nadal looks really good right now, and the Russian also said that he’s happy he didn’t get Nadal as his opening-round opponent—although, what else was he going to say?

If Nadal is truly looking sharper than he has in recent weeks, I don’t see how you can rule out the possibility of this match going four or five sets. Just think about the atmosphere we’ll see on Court Philippe-Chatrier. The fans are going to be all-in for Nadal, which should give him a little extra adrenaline. It could also get under the skin of Zverev. That should give the Spaniard a leg up early in the match. While I expect Zverev to recover and find a way to advance, I’m just not in the business of believing Nadal is going to get hit off the court.

Pick: Over 33.5 Games (-159)