This Week on the ATP Tour

By: Glen Howe

We move over from Madrid to Rome this week and it’s the same cast of characters since it’s another Masters event. The Masters events were invented a few years back to get all of the best players in the same place at the same time when it’s not a Grand Slam.

The top players are automatically entered and they need to drop out supposedly for injury reasons. At times they can plead “mental fatigue” which is code for “I need a week off”, and the ATP buys it, but at least this process has greatly improved the attendance in these events.

The reason we bring this up is because Novak Djokovic who took out Murray in yesterday’s final in Madrid is now alone in first place in Masters Shields with 29. He was tied with Rafa before that. If you notice those two names are relatively young players and still will be winning Shields for a few more years.

Just as the sack record in NFL is a bit off as is the save in baseball, if you take a record that has only been around since the 70’s, 80’s or 90’s it doesn’t factor in the old time guys. There are defensive ends from the 50’s and the some old time baseball pitchers who would be up on the charts for those stats if they were kept a few years back.

Such is the case here as guys like Connors, Mac and Vilas never had the chance to “rack up” Masters Shields in the day. Still 29 Masters Titles is nothing to sneeze at. Most players don’t have 29 careers titles at any level and Novak should be proud about this, at least until Rafa re-catches him this week in Rome.

We also wanted to give kudos to two other guys who played really well last week and pushed the Champ to the limit. First is Nishikori who we have been praising a lot lately cuz we really feel he is a dark horse at Roland Garros in 2 weeks, and the other is Andy Murray.

Nishikori was playing some amazing tennis in the Semis but as usual his body was starting to give out and lost a tough tiebreak in the second set, he did show however that he is capable of hanging with the World’s NO.1 on clay. The odds on him at America’s Bookie are around 30-1.

Also kudos to Murray who after getting killed in the first set and came back and won the second set in the Final and although his is not technically a “clay court guy”, he can keep the ball deep, play angles and never miss, which is 90% of the battle on the “slow shit”. Murray comes in at odds of 10-1.

Now for our winner of the week. Take Dolgopolov +1.5 sets -120 vs. Thiem. Both of these guys are 2 of our favorites as they both always give you an honest day’s work and over achieve. This should go three sets so the Russian should cover the modest -120 spread. Enjoy the tennis. See you next week guys.

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