ATP Rome Tips, Analysis & Preview | Our Picks For This Week’s Tennis

Andy Watson in Tennis Betting Tips 15 May 2023
Jannik Sinner (Credit Image: © Benoit Doppagne/Belga via ZUMA Press)

Novak Djokovic is the number one seed and defending champion at the famous old complex in Rome. The Serbian is in the draw with Carlos Alcaraz for the first time in 2023, which has a lot of observers very excited for this tournament.

It is also the final ATP Masters event before Roland-Garros, and conditions here have more similarity with the French Open than most other clay court tournaments. This is why we often see a top draw here in Rome.

Carlos Alcaraz brings his unbeaten clay court run of two tournaments here to Madrid, but, interestingly, Alcaraz has yet to play Rome so we do not have any evidence of his form here. Last week in Madrid it did take Alcaraz a set and a half to find the right style of play for that particular event. It is possible that he might have to take time to adjust again here.

Djokovic and Rafael Nadal have dominated this event to such an extent that there have only been two other champions since 2005. Andy Murray and Alexander Zverev, both in the draw here, won the tournament in 2016 and 2017 respectively, both defeating Djokovic in their finals.

ATP Rome Betting Tips

Jannik Sinner 1pt EW 6/1 @ Bet365

Holger Rune 1pt EW 10/1 @ Bet365

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Event In Focus: ATP Rome

The Italian Open is often seen as the key tournament in preparation for Roland-Garros. It is the last Masters event before the Grand Slam and the court conditions are relatively similar. We also now have a little more information about how the players are performing on the clay in 2023 and most players should be fully adjusted on the surface by now.

Ranking Analysis

Novak Djokovic is still world number one in the official rankings, but he has slipped to #7 in the clay ELO ratings. Whilst this is obviously too low based upon what we know of the great man, it does go to show how poor his recent form has been on the clay and the tune up worl required here in Rome.

Daniil Medvedev is improving on clay, but his clay ranking shows that he is an outlier at the top of the rankings. Andy Murray, fresh off a Challenger 175 title which won’t show in the ATP Tour stats, is rated much higher on clay at the moment than his official ranking. Other players that fit this description are Alexander Zverev and Jannik Sinner. Ben Shelton has spent a lot of time on court over the last few weeks in an attempt to acclimatise to the European clay and those efforts are to be applauded and could begin to pay off soon.

2023 ATP Tour Form

These figures don’t include the opening United Cup, but do give us a pretty good picture of how players have started the season.

Alcaraz’s data is unbelievably good. He has the highest win perentage in the field and his games won rate is far beyond elite. It is Medvedev who comes in second to the Spaniard in both of those metrics, just ahead of Djokovic. The Serbian has obviously played far fewer matches than most players in the data though.

Jannik Sinner also has superb data from the opening of the season. His decision to take Madrid off may pay dividends now has he will have rested up for this tournament, which is a home Masters event for the Italian.

Stefanos Tsitsipas and Karen Khachanov are the other players over 110 in the games won percentage. This is usually the barometer for world class, so that is a real positive for Khachanov especially.

Shelton, Borna Coric, and Andy Murray are the only players in the sample to have lost more games than they have won on tour so far this season.

Career Clay Court Analysis

Despite his electric start to his career, Alcaraz is slightly behind Djokovic at the moment on games won percentage over their careers. Obviously, Alcaraz is only just starting out so there is plenty of time to improve that data.

Other players that could be considered to be experts on clay from their career data are Casper Ruud, Tsitsipas, and Sinner. Andy Murray hasn’t really played the clay court season since his hip replacement, but in his pomp he was elite on this surface as well.

Seb Korda’s data is fairly promising off a small sample. Tommy Paul and Shelton demonstrate how tough the U.S. men seem to find the clay early in their careers. Those two, plus Frances Tiafoe, are the only players in the sample with more losses than wins on tour on clay.

Form & Rome Record

Coric and Shelton come in with below 50% form, but Tiafoe, Khachanov, and, especially, Alexander Zverev, should be concerned by their lack of recent wins against the other top players.

Novak Djokovic has a flawless recent record against his main rivals and that puts him head and shoulders above the rest in that area.

As prefaced above as well, the Serbian has a superb record here as here. Six times the world number one has won this title, and he also has been runner-up here six times. This is his key event in the clay court swing, where he dials up for Roland-Garros. If the Serbian plays poorly and goes out early here, then alarm bells may be ringing.

Casper Ruud has done well here in the past, and Tsitsipas and Zverev will be confident in their form at this famous venue.

ATP Rome Draw

Rome has a 32-seed, 96-man draw. The top 32 seeds will be given a bye into the second round.

ATP Rome Betting Tips

It has been mentioned in this piece a few times already about the importance of this tournament in building up to Roland-Garros. This has the effect of making the cream rise to the top in this particular tournament. Obviously, Rafael Nadal and Novak Djokovic have dominated winning this, but even the finalists have been world class operators. Tsitsipas, peak Diego Schwartzman, Fernando Gonzalez and David Ferrer are the some of the more surprising recent finalists, and they were all top 10 ranked players. Outsiders are tough to consider here.

Jannik Sinner 1pt EW 6/1 @ Bet365

However, there are reasons to oppose both Carlos Alcaraz and Novak Djokovic. They aren’t statistical reasons, we have seen how dominant Alcaraz has been on paper, but the young Saniard has never played this tournament before, so we don;t know for sure how he will adapt to the conditions and the crowd.

The support will surely be there for Jannik Sinner. The Italian #1 possibly isn’t as charismatic as past Italian #1s such as Fabio Fognini, but he does have the ability to get close to winning Italy’s first men’s singles Grand Slam title since Adriano Panatta’s French Open in 1976.

His data this season is sensationally good, and he has an elite history on clay too. He is yet to win a title as big as this, but has been a serial winner on tour, especially this year. He could be the man to take advantage of Djokovic’s lack of form if it does not return for him.

Holger Rune 1pt EW 10/1 @ Bet365

In the same half of the draw, but in Djokovic’s quarter, is a player that we already know can defeat Djokovic at Masters level events.

Holger Rune has been strong on the clay, reaching the Monte Carlo Masters final and winning the Munich title as well. Wisely, like Sinner, he missed Madrid last week and will be mentally and physically ready here.

Rune could defeat Djokovic even if the Serbian is playing fairly well.

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