OTW Extra Email Archive - May 2020
Wednesday 6th May 2020
In your Ones to Watch EXTRA email today:
German event was a good start…
Florida this weekend…
And some bigger names...
It was good to see a few professional tennis players back on court and competing last weekend.
The Tennis Point Exhibition Series event in Germany gave me a feel of how these new national exhibition tournaments will be run…
Most of the Match Winner prices in the German event were priced with heavy favourites. Dubbed ‘The Re-Open,’ this was the first competition of any significance since the main tours were suspended in early March, and the bookies were taking no chances with their odds.
Yannick Hanfmann and Dustin Brown were by far the best-known of the eight players that took part in this low-key competition, played behind closed doors with no spectators.
So it was, then, that Hanfmann and Brown finished in the top two places in the group stage, then met in the 1st place playoff on Monday. Hanfmann was the overall winner.
Despite the prevalence of short odds & favourites over the weekend as a whole, there were a couple of upsets along the way. Monday morning was interesting as Hanfmann and Brown - who were basically already through to the final - both lost their last group matches to 5/1 underdogs.
Spare a thought for Werner…
One man didn’t register a single win though, and that was Jean-Marc Werner. The 29-year-old German, who peaked at No.482 in the world and is currently without an ATP ranking, lost all eight of his matches.
Modest event is a sign of the times…
All things considered, the Tennis Point Exhibition Series in Germany was a good start to this new, low-key version of tennis. The organisers and sponsors already have plans to hold more events like that one, at the same venue. And more are on the cards elsewhere, too.
Players entered the court wearing face masks, and the sports centre was laid out so that they didn’t need to touch any door handles etc on the way through.
There were no line judges or ball kids. The umpire was sat at a greater distance from the players than usual.
The behind-the-scenes layout was modest, with each player fenced off from the other in the ‘waiting room,’ and pre-packed sandwiches and energy bars as the only on-site catering.
Things get slightly more glamourous this weekend, with some much more familiar names taking part in the Universal Tennis Rating (UTR) Pro Match Series in Florida, USA…
This exhibition event features four men, who will play in a round-robin group stage:
Matteo Berrettini - world ranking No.8
Reilly Opelka - No.39
Tennys Sandgren - No.55
Tommy Paul - No.57
That’s more like it...
Those players are far more regular contenders on the ATP Tour than the eight guys that took part in Germany last weekend. Opelka is on our Ones to Watch list for 2020, and Berrettini got a mention in that report, too.
The 22-year-old Paul is a newcomer making good progress in recent months, with a semi final and quarter final on tour so far in 2020, achieving a new career-high ranking.
The UTR Pro Match Series will take place at a private court in West Palm Beach, Florida, with a skeleton staff, and no spectators. There will be prize money up for grabs, and matches will be streamed live online.
The event is also set to feature a couple of technological enhancements, such as players wearing microphones at changeovers to be able to communicate with the TV commentators in Los Angeles. American tennis hero Andy Roddick is one of the pundits lined up for a Skype appearance, too.
Travel needs to be kept to a minimum right now, of course. Three of those four players are Americans. And Opelka is one I’m keen to follow - depending on the prices - as he’s done well at ‘home’ venues before. Not least in winning ATP Delray Beach in Florida in February, just before the coronavirus situation took over proceedings.
As Opelka said after the Delray Beach final, “I love playing at home.”
Paul also resides in Florida.
And Sandgren speaks for a lot of players right now I’m sure when he says, “I want to compete, whether it’s in a Grand Slam stadium or on a private court somewhere.”
Play starts Friday...
The UTR Pro Match Series starts from noon on Friday, Florida time. That will be 5pm, UK time.
With a couple of bookies already pricing up the matches today, we should have a solid betting market to look at come end of day Thursday, giving us plenty of time to get involved if any prices catch the eye…
If you want in on this, join me on my members-only Ones to Watch service here.
With the higher rankings and calibre of players taking part in this Florida event, we can expect some more competitively-matched encounters - with the odds following suit.
There’s also a women’s roster confirmed for this Florida event, for the weekend of 22nd May
And on the weekend in-between the two UTR tournaments, the ‘Ultimate Tennis Showdown’ in France is scheduled, too (15th May)
Considering the state of the international sporting calendars right now, tennis looks to be doing okay with these new exhibition events giving both fans & players something to look forward to.
To get my betting preview and analysis for the Florida men’s event on Thursday - and all upcoming May tournaments, too - get onboard as a Ones to Watch member here.