Shortly after winning the Madrid Open, Novak Djokovic looks to conquer another ATP Masters 1000 tournament. The No.1 ranked tennis player in the world is the overwhelming favorite to claim the title in Rome at the 2016 Italian Open.
Djokovic is a consensus odds-on favorite, with his odds ranging from 5/6 to 4/5, depending on the sportsbook. He’s won three of his last four tournaments, and he’s won the championship in Rome in each of the last two years.
The Italian Open has been dominated by Djokovic and Rafael Nadal over the last decade. They are the only two players to win the tournament since 2005, and Nadal is hoping to get his eighth title in Rome in the last 12 years. Nadal’s odds range from 11/4 to 5/1, via Oddschecker.
Nadal came one match shy of meeting Djokovic in the Madrid Open finals, losing to Andy Murray in the semifinals. If Djokovic and Nadal meet in Rome, it will come before the finals. For the first time at the Italian Open, Djokovic, Nadal and Roger Federer are in the same half of the draw.
Federer was one of the favorites heading into Madrid, but he was forced to withdraw because of an ailing back. Federer will return to the court, though, looking to win his first ever championship in Rome. He’s reached four finals, most recently losing to Djokovic just a year ago.
It’s just Federer’s fourth tournament of 2016, and his last appearance came in the quarterfinals at Monte Carlo in a loss to Joe-Wilfried Tsonga. Federer was beaten by Djokovic in the semifinals of the Australian Open, and the closest he came to getting a victory was in the Brisbane International, where he was defeated by Milos Raonic in the finals. Federer said he was playing it safe by skipping Madrid, and he’s hoping to be at full strength this week.
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Even though he hasn’t been active, Federer saw himself move up in the ATP rankings. Failing to defend his Madrid Open title, Andy Murray dropped to No.3 in the world and was replaced by Federer when he lost to Djokovic in the finals.
Murray enters the tournament without his coach Amelie Mauresmo. On Monday, Murray and Mauresmo announced they have parted ways in a "mutually agreed" decision.
"She's been a calming influence in the team and we will all miss having her around," said Murray, in a joint statement with Mauresmo.
"I'll take some time to consider the next steps and how we progress from here, but I'd like to thank her for everything she has done. She's been an invaluable member of the team."
Murray remains the No.2 seed at Rome, and has the same odds as Nadal at many sportsbooks as the second favorite. With odds ranging from 9/1 to 12/1, Stan Wawrinka is the fourth favorite. He’s ahead of Federer, who has anywhere from 16/1 to 25/1 odds in his return.
Prediction: Djokovic. After his impressive performance in Madrid, Djokovic remains on top of his game on clay. While he may receive some resistance from the usual contenders, Djokovic should be able to cruise to the semifinals and capture another title.