Tennis Betting: Back Djokovic the lone wolf to be the Tiger of the tennis world
Novak Djokovic's three-set demolition of Andy Murray showed how far ahead he is from the rest of the men's tennis contenders. Ralph Ellis says he won't stop there...
"The bet I like is on the Sportsbook where you can get [8.0] against Djokovic pulling off the Golden Slam – all four Majors plus the Olympics. If he wants it, who can realistically stop him?"
There was a time when Tiger Woods was so far in front of the rest of the world's golfers, that he began every tournament as a very short-price favourite to be the winner.
No matter that there were a hundred or more others in the field and somebody could have a hot streak; no matter that any tournament could be subject to the vagaries of bad weather, an unlucky bounce, a couple of putts that lipped in the hole and lipped back out again. Tiger was a strong favourite, everybody queued up to back him, and what's more he almost always made the bet a winner.
We're switching sports here, but the way Novak Djokovic wiped away all-comers including Andy Murray in the Australian Open was exactly like Tiger when his claws were at their sharpest. And yet you can still back the Serb at even money or a fraction more for all of the year's remaining Majors.
For instance, the only thing that might stop him landing [2.08] to win Wimbledon is if he was still a tad tired from the French Open where he is [1.95] to win. But the extra week between the two tournaments has taken away that risk as he showed by going from the final in Paris to lifting the trophy in SW19 last year.
That defeat to Stan Wawrinka in France was the last major final he's lost, and he clearly took some lessons from it. It's the one big prize still missing from his collection of 11 Grand Slam titles in all, so you can bet it will be the focus this time round.
Two weeks in Melbourne were a pretty good clue about how far in front of everybody else Djokovic has become, but if you're in any doubt at all have a look at the latest ATP rankings. He has earned 16,790 points. Second in the world is Murray with, even after reaching the Australian final, just 8,945 - barely more than half the number one's total.
Get down to Rafael Nadal at five and we're talking almost half again, 4,880. By the time you drop out of the top 10, you reach Milos Raonic who gave Murray such a tough time in the semi-final and he has scraped together only 2,630.
The bet I like is on the Sportsbook where you can get [8.0] against Djokovic pulling off the Golden Slam - all four Majors plus the Olympics. If he wants it, who can realistically stop him? His fitness is astonishing, his support team first class, his coaching from Boris Becker absolutely brilliant - about mental approach far more than forehands and backhand top spin lobs.
That's who has made him such an absolute master of handling the pressure that surrounds top sportsmen at top tournaments. And despite his 29th birthday looming this year there is no sign of him relaxing the relentless work ethic that has taken him to the top - if anything he is striving even harder.
"The wolf that is running up the mountain is hungrier than the wolf standing on the hill," was his Eric Cantona style explanation. "I can't allow myself to relax and enjoy. There is a mindset one needs if you want to stay up there - you need to work doubly hard."
That's exactly how Woods approached the game when he was in his pomp. And like Woods, there's every chance that Djokovic will land the short odds when it comes to the crunch.