The excitement at the heart of tennis betting is the risk being taken when entering that unknown realm of odds. Of course, you can always bet on the likely winner, play it safe, but the real fun comes when taking the bigger risk, betting on someone’s potential and hoping for the big payout. Below is a list of some of the tennis world’s tennis underdogs beating the betting odds and forcing favourites into shocking early exits.
1. Novak Djokovic v Sam Querrey
Betting against Djokovic is always a big gamble. The world ranked number 1 was looking to make history as the second only tennis player to get all four Grand Slam titles in one calendar year. But it was not meant to be. In Wimbledon 2016’s biggest upset, the Serb lost to American, Sam Querrey, in the third round, making this Djokovic’s earliest exit in a major since 2009. Tennis Betting odds were 20-1 against Querrey, but he toppled the legendary Djokovic and anyone betting on him would have walked away very happy.
2. Robin Soderling v Rafael Nadal
The king of the clay courts, Rafael Nadal, was knocked out in the fourth round of the 2009 French Open, having won four consecutive French Open titles previously. However, it wasn’t one of the other ‘Big Four’ that sent the Spaniard packing, but rather the 25th-ranked Swedish national, Robin Soderling, who seemingly came out of nowhere to take the win. The tennis betting odds were stacked against Soderling 28-1 with Nadal looking set to, once again, dominate the clay at Roland Garros.
3. Steffi Graf v Lori McNeil
Before Serena Williams dominated the world of women’s tennis, there was Steffi Graf. In 1994, she entered Wimbledon having won five previous Wimbledon titles, and was definitely a favourite going in. However, in a shocking move, American, Lori McNeil, made history by dethroning the reigning champion in the first round. The 22nd ranked player brought a more aggressive game which just wasn’t matched by Graf on the day. Tennis betting enthusiasts were speechless in one of the greatest tennis upsets of all time.
4. Serena Williams v Roberta Vinci
With four consecutive Grand Slam titles under her belt and the ultimate calendar-year slam within her grasp, nobody anticipated tennis titan, Serena Williams, losing out at the 2015 US Open. However, not only did she lose the semi-finals, but she lost to the relatively unknown Italian player, Roberta Vinci. The tennis betting odds going in on this one were 18-1 so anybody taking a chance on the 32-year-old Italian player would have been celebrating that night.
5. Richard Krajicek v Pete Sampras
The three-time Wimbledon champion entered the 1996 quarterfinals as the outright favourite, sure to dominate the 17th seeded Richard Krajicek. The Dutch competitor came into the contest having never previously progressed past the fourth round. Although he had a serve to take on the best, he was not seen as a potential to take away the sought-after title. However, in a twist of fate, Krajicek went on to beat the American ‘King of Wimbledon’, in straight sets with Krajicek going on to take the 1996 Wimbledon title. Betting fans the world over were stunned into silence at this win.
6. Goran Ivanisevic v Patrick Rafter
There are few sporting moments quite as memorable as Wimbledon wildcard entry, Goran Ivanisevic’s 2001 victory over Australia’s Patrick Rafter. Having reached the finals in 1992, 1994 and 1998, only to be knocked out by tennis greats, Andre Agassi and Pete Sampras, the Croatian’s career was certainly on a downward slide by the time the 2001 Wimbledon Championships arrived. Clutching his 125 world ranking, Ivanisevic was granted a wildcard entry into the grass court contest, winning over hearts, and eventually the hardware, in a toughly-contested final. With tennis betting odds of 150-1 against the Croatian, one British punter was happy to walk away with more than half a million rand in a wildcard win.
Anything can happen in the world of tennis betting.
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