Tennis Betting Odds: Novak Djokovic Aims To Win 7th Title In Rome

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Novak Djokovic celebrates after winning the match against Luca Van Asche of France at the ATP 250 Srpska Open 2023 on April 19, 2023. (Srjan Stevanovic/)

World No. 1 Novak Djokovic is back in the mix to defend his 2022 Rome title, after sitting on the sidelines as 20-year-old Carlos Alcaraz won his fourth title of the year in Madrid.

There is no word on whether clay-court god Rafael Nadal will play the French Open later this month. Djokovic and Nadal have won the Italian Open 16 out of the last 18 years. Nadal has accounted for 10 of those titles, and Joker was runner-up in six. Djokovic a shoo-in with Rafa's exit? Let's break it down.

Carlos Alcaraz +130

Novak Djokovic +335

Jannik Sinner +650

Holger Rune +1100

Stefanos Tsitsipas +1800

,full list right here,

In fact, there are only two players who can be considered to have a high probability of winning, Djokovic and Alcaraz. The conditions in Rome are slower than in Madrid, similar to Roland Garros, which is why Rafa has been so dominant at the Italian Open over the past two decades. Rome's surface favors heavy top spin balls or players like Djokovic who have the reach and versatility to counter every shot.

Carlos Alcaraz +130

Alcaraz has it all. Take the best shots from The Big 3 and put them in one player and out comes Alcaraz. His drop shot is a thing of beauty and works wonders on slow clay surfaces. The ball is dead and the opponents have no answer.

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The problem with supporting Alcaraz: The Spaniard may be a young 20 years old, but he's spent a lot of time on the court. He won consecutive tournaments in Barcelona and Madrid before making the semifinals in , where he suffered a hand injury that forced him out of the Monte-Carlo Masters. He looks pretty healthy now but Carlitos has put on miles in the past few weeks.

Furthermore, he never played in Rome. Each clay court surface required time to adjust and he could face one of the better clay court opponents, Albert Ramos-Vinolas, right out of the gate in his first match. The two went full five sets at last year's French Open, with Alcaraz winning the fifth set 6-4. Ramos is a threat on clay, especially in the early stages.

Novak Djokovic +335

Djokovic is 64-10 in Rome, having won six titles. Six of his 10 losses were against Nadal, including the 2021 final. Joker is 17-3 on the year, losing two of his last three matches, in the round of 16 in Monte-Carlo to Lorenzo Musetti and in the quarterfinals in Banja Luka to Dusan Lajovic in straight sets.

The World No. 1 opted to miss Madrid to recover from an elbow injury. Good news: Joker was rehearsing in Rome without sleeves. It is a positive for a player who is very comfortable in this tournament. If he is at full health, there are still a few things to contend with. One is fatigue. In his recent two losses, Djokovic appeared to lack the fitness to a title.

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He is still the best returner in the world, and he is still considered to be in the top two in any tournament. However, Djokovic has played only 20 matches this year, while someone like Alcaraz has played more than 30 matches. Lack of match play may hinder their path to the finals. Beyond that, Djokovic has a slightly tougher draw, possibly facing Stan Wawrinka in the second round, young gun Holger Rune in the quarterfinals and then perhaps Janik Sinner in the semifinals. Returning from injury with a possible lack of stamina, this could be a tough call for title number seven.

Jannik Sinner +650

can look at Djokovic's draw in two ways. One, that he will be tried and tested in each round, preparing him for a final match in which he will be warm and ready to go. Or, that he might possibly fall and as bookies, we ponder to whom he might fall. Enter the generic sinner. Earlier this year, I wrote about Sinner winning the Masters 1000 this year. He's come close.

The 21-year-old is 26-6 on the year, winning the ATP 250 Montpellier, an indoor hard event in early February. Since then, Sinner has reached at least the semifinals in four events, losing to Alcaraz in the semifinals at Indian Wells, Daniil Medvedev twice (in the Rotterdam final and then the Miami final) and Holger Rune in the Monte-Carlo semifinals (where he later admitted to feeling ill). I still have hopes from Papi. He has been the only one to truly put up a fight against Alcaraz, splitting the one-off last year and knocking out Carlitos in the Miami semifinals this year. He could have caught Djokovic at the right time, possibly tired enough or out of rhythm enough to move on to another final.

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The tournament is a bit hard to predict due to the unknown of Alcaraz playing in Rome, while Djokovic is trying to find his form again. If Alcaraz decides to withdraw or fall early, he opens the door for other players like Stefanos Tsitsipas (+1800).

Prediction: Novak Djokovic is in form once again. Backing the player with the most titles in Rome as the second favorite at more than 3-to-1 in the region is a line grab, whether it works or not. We can all hope to see the Alcaraz vs Djokovic final, but I think I'll save that drama for the French Open.