Tennis Betting Advice - April 2020

Gut-punches, reality and virtual reality...

Thursday 2nd April 2020

In your Ones to Watch email today:

  • Wimbledon hammer blow...
  • The grass will be greener...
  • Should I buy a PS4?

Wimbledon hammer blow...

Good afternoon. I hope you’re doing okay. Yesterday we got confirmation of the bad news that no tennis player or fan ever wants to hear. Wimbledon is off. For the first time since WWII, there will be no summer fun on the green courts of SW19.

In the scheme of what’s going on in the world right now, of course, a sporting event being cancelled is not that much of a big deal. But as a dedicated follower of the game, losing Wimbledon 2020 feels like a hammer blow.

The grass will be greener…

I’m not going to hide it. I’m gutted.

But, as you’ll often hear me say in your Ones to Watch emails, I am ever the optimist.

Wimbledon will be back. The organisers are first turning their attention to helping the NHS during the coronavirus crisis, in any way they can with the space and facilities at their disposal. Then, when this awful situation finally passes, the early preparations for Wimbledon 2021 will begin.

Wednesday’s LTA announcement was swiftly followed by the ATP & WTA Tours drawing a line through the grass court season and confirming that we now won’t see professional tennis until 13th July at the earliest. Hopefully that date is one that can be inked-in in the weeks to come.

Players have been taking to social media to express their sadness and understanding regarding the Wimbledon news. The same theme is echoed by pretty much everyone: heartbreaking news for those who love tennis, but the right and indeed only thing to do in light of the current circumstances. And there’s Wimbledon 2021 to look forward to.

The 2020 season is going to have an almighty asterix by it, but when the sport does return we’ll have stacks of week-to-week tennis to enjoy, and probably little or no time before the 2021 season rolls right on into action, too. And boy, will we enjoy it.

‘Strange’ and ‘interesting’...

In February, British No.1 Dan Evans made the quarter finals in Rotterdam and then reached the semi finals in Dubai, pushing himself up to a new career-high ranking of No.28 in the world.

His momentum has been halted now. And as Evans himself said in an interview with the BBC today:

“The first tournament [back] is going to be so strange, there’s going to be no form for anyone to go on so it will be interesting to see how it plays out…”

When the weekly tennis comes back, it’ll be an intriguing betting puzzle for us to tackle, too. And that’s just the kind of challenge that I like.

In the meantime…

Should I buy a PS4?

With the major sporting calendar decimated and events all over the UK, Europe & the world either postponed or cancelled right now, people are turning to alternatives for their competitive fix…

The growth of Esports is something I’ve been following from a distance for a while now. With no ‘traditional’ sport on our screens at the moment, the virtual world is getting a lot more attention…

This weekend, we have the Virtual Grand National on Saturday afternoon.

On Sunday, the second Grand Prix in the new ESports Formula One series.

And for football, the inaugural online FIFA20 Quaranteam knockout tournament is reaching the business end.

You can bet on all those Esports events. Familiar names such as Bet365, Skybet, BetVictor, Paddy Power and William Hill have all got Esports markets up.

And those three examples above are just the sports titles. Esports has been big business for a few years already with established games such as League of Legends and CounterStrike drawing huge prize funds and massive online audiences. Betting markets are also in place for those two titles and many more.

With the tennis courts locked up and everyone on lockdown, surely someone is going to get tennis involved in the Esports playing field…

Could we have Roger Federer and Rafael Nadal playing each other online, live streamed for us to enjoy, and the bookies pricing it up, to boot?

That’s hardly a fantasy…

The first Esports F1 race saw a couple of the ‘real life’ pro drivers taking part. This weekend’s online incarnation of the Australian GP has got five of the stars signed up. In the IndyCar racing, nearly every driver got involved last weeked. The FIFA20 tournament has seen a few footballers representing their clubs in the online competition, too.

Tennis has already got a presence in the Esports realm. For a couple of years now, the French Open at Roland Garros has staged an Esports tournament, using the PlayStation 4 game, Tennis World Tour.

Should I order myself a PS4, Xbox or high-powered gaming PC? It might be the closest I ever get to playing tennis with Roger Federer.

And all joking aside, it could develop into a betting market worthy of our attention.

  • It’s worth pointing out that events like the Virtual Grand National and the FIFA20 Quaranteam tournament have got a charitable side to them, with donations from the proceeds going to help the battle against coronavirus

With so much bad news around right now, Esports versions of our favourite sporting events could provide not only a welcome distraction, but also a glimpse of the future…

There’s no reason we couldn’t see a day when professional players are signed up to play as themselves in the virtual equivalents of their chosen sport, alongside their on-court activities.

And as with any sport, Esports has real-life players and form to follow, whether that’s on a grass court at Wimbledon, or from behind a screen with a controller instead of a racket.

  • Rumour has it, F1 driver Max Verstappen is a keen gamer. But he refused to take part in the Esports race as it was being played using a game that he’s not familiar with (F1 2019), and hadn’t had time to practice on. Try telling Max it’s just a game and not to be taken seriously...

This is a subject I’ll be keeping an eye on. I don’t necessarily want to splash out on a games console right now. But it could turn out to be a wise way to spend some of my time in lockdown…

Rest assured, though, ‘actual’ tennis remains very much my priority. I’ve got lots of study and analysis to be getting on with during this downtime. All with the clear & simple long-term goal of helping you & I pick up right back off where we left the start of the 2020 season, with outsiders & big-odds tournament selections our week-to-week tennis lifeblood.

I’ll be back next week with your next Ones to Watch email.

Until then, take care.

Best wishes,

Oliver Upstone

Tom Wilson

Ones to Watch