Players continuing French Open preparation
The major players on tour have one final opportunity to fine-tune their preparation for the French Open, this week in Rome, with very few tending to choose to play in the final warm-up event before a Grand Slam.
So, with the French Open starting 22nd May, there's not long to go before the clay season highlight - and performances this week will have an influence on the outright market for that event also.
Slower conditions than Madrid should assist Nadal
Conditions in Rome aren't likely to be as quick as they generally are in Madrid. Service points won and aces per game figures are marginally higher than the ATP Tour average across the last few events, but there's not much in it, and I'm pretty happy with grading this event as pretty medium-paced.
Considering this, it's probably not a surprise to see that Rafa Nadal has a much better record here than in his home capital, with the King of Clay having won 10 titles in Rome, including last year and three of the last four events.
He's beaten Novak Djokovic to celebrate his last two titles, and has done so four times here in the final previously, with the Serb getting revenge on two occasions.
Djokovic with drop in level so far this season
World number one Djokovic takes the top seed billing, but there isn't much to split him and Nadal in the current outright market, with the duo fighting it out at the top of the market at 3.55/2 and 3.814/5, respectively.
Their status as market leaders has been improved by the withdrawal of Madrid winner Carlos Alcaraz, who has made the decision to rest ahead of the French Open.
Both Djokovic and Nadal are in the top half of the draw, which rather negatively impacts on the chances of the other two seeds with first-round byes in that bracket, Felix Auger-Aliassime and Casper Ruud, and it seems pretty logical to think that it will be the illustrious duo fighting it out in the semi-final.
While Djokovic has marginally better year-long clay data, his level has markedly dropped this year which can probably be attributed to the off-field controversies preventing him from playing all the events he wanted to this year.
Given this, and the Spaniard's history at the venue, I'm happy to lean towards Nadal over Djokovic as my market favourite.
Thiem unlikely to challenge Zverev or Tsitsipas
In the bottom half of the draw, only 2017 winner Alexander Zverev of the main seeds has made the final previously, so there's a decent chance of a new finalist from that section - the German, plus Stefanos Tsitsipas look the most likely to progress there.
That bottom half of the draw though will be moved around following the withdrawal of Alcaraz, and there's some capable unseeded players too, including Jannik Sinner, Cameron Norrie and, historically at least, Dominic Thiem.
However, even at his best, Thiem's record in Rome has been a little uninspiring, with three defeats in his last four matches here and just one semi-final to show for his efforts - in which he won just one game against Djokovic in 2017.
The Austrian has lost all four of his matches since his injury comeback in March, all as pre-match favourite against players ranked outside the top 60, so expectations on him should be rather dampened. He opens against Fabio Fognini, in what is definitely one of the trickier first round matches to predict.