French Open 2022 Free Picks and Betting Preview

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This combination of file photographs shows (L) Spain's Rafael Nadal and Serbia's Novak Djokovic. (Photo by Anne-Christine POUJOULAT and JULIEN DE ROSA / AFP)

The most anticipated match of the 2022 French Open is here. Novak Djokovic and Rafael Nadal will meet in the quarterfinals. The long and storied rivalry will continue with its latest edition today.

Novak Djokovic is favored by ATP odds, but is he the right tennis pick?

Novak Djokovic vs. Rafael Nadal

Tuesday, May 31, 2022 – 02:45 PM EDT at Court Philippe-Chatrier

Djokovic vs. Nadal: The Matchup

The defending Roland Garros champion takes on the man who has captured the most French Open titles when Novak Djokovic and Rafael Nadal take the court in the quarterfinals of this year's French Open.

While this match is worthy of being in the finals, because Rafael Nadal is seeded fifth, they are meeting early in a match that everyone is looking forward to.

These men have played so many times that there is not much to hide in the way that each man will approach the game:

  • Both men are ferocious returners of serve.
  • Both men have an indomitable fighting spirit.
  • Both men are champions looking to take advantage of this year's field.

Novak Djokovic Analysis

Novak Djokovic is coming off a tournament win in Rome. Djokovic has now won nine matches in a row after defeating Diego Schwartzman in the round of 16. He has not dropped a set since his loss to Carlos Alcaraz in the semifinals in Madrid.

Djokovic is best on hard courts, but he has beaten notable clay players such as Casper Ruud, Stefanos Tsitsipas, and Diego Schwartzman in the lead-up to today's match.

After starting slowly from all the time off, Djokovic has regained his form and is now back to his top level. This means that very few men in the world have a reasonable chance to beat him. However, one of those men is Rafael Nadal.

Rafael Nadal Analysis

Rafael Nadal has been struggling with a foot injury. After making the final in Indian Wells, Nadal skipped Miami in order to rest for the clay-court season. His return was in Madrid where he lost to Carlos Alcaraz. Alcaraz is the younger version of Nadal and they have already played 2 classic matches this year.

Nadal had a disappointing outing in Rome. He lost to Denis Shapovalov. Shapovalov played excellently in that match, but Nadal at his top form could have matched Shapovalov's level. The loss to Shapovalov lowered the odds for Nadal to win this tournament. Especially as Djokovic looked to be finding his top-level play after his long layoff.

The Spaniard cruised through the first three rounds here and Roland Garros before a five-set thriller against Felix Auger-Aliassime. The match was not ideal for Nadal who had to spend 4 hours and 23 minutes on the court before this high-profile matchup.

Even at age 35, Rafael Nadal has excellent fitness, but being extended in such a grueling match before today's epic showdown will have a slightly negative effect. If anyone can overcome this, however, it is Rafael Nadal.

Who Won the Last Time They Met?

When these two men met on this very same court at the French Open last year, Novak Djokovic won in an impressive fashion.

After dropping the first set, Djokovic cruised to victory and it felt like the match was never in doubt. Nadal's level play had dipped a bit and his legendary consistency waned a bit.

Nadal will have to keep his level for 5 sets potentially, which is something he has struggled to do as he has gotten older.

The Match Conditions

Because this is the most anticipated match of the tournament, it will be played during the night session. This is a distinct advantage for Novak Djokovic.

During the daytime, the courts are hotter, and the ball bounces higher. During the night, the ball will be heavier and the shots will bounce lower.

While Nadal may have preferred to play Djokovic during the daytime, due to the high-profile nature of this match, being assigned to the court for the premier session was really never in doubt.

Rafael Nadal Performance in Night Sessions

  • Nadal prefers a high bouncing court, that really accentuates his topspin and allows him to dominate court position.
  • He is quite comfortable playing six feet or more behind the baseline, but most players are not.
  • Nadal loves to pin his opponents way deep in the court which allows him to be less vulnerable to aggressive attacks.

Novak Djokovic Performance in Night Sessions

  • Djokovic will have a much better chance to take the offensive role earlier in the points during the night session.

Djokovic vs. Nadal: Pick and Prediction

Our play for today is Rafael Nadal's moneyline. Most observers, including the best sportsbooks and betting sites, give Novak Djokovic the huge advantage to win this match. I can understand why.

Djokovic is playing in this fine form, while Nadal has been struggling physically. Nadal is also coming off a brilliant 4 and a half hour match, and his stamina isn't what it once was. He is entering the years of physical decline, and Djokovic is still in his prime.

Regardless, I think the people are counting out the king of the clay court a little bit too easily and are making too much of the night session. Nadal has a great chance to win here, and he can never be doubted, especially in the friendly confines of Court Philippe-Chatrier.

ATP Pick: Rafael Nadal ML (+185) at Bovada (visit our Bovada Review)

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Rafael Nadal ML (+185)
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*The line and/or odds on picks in this article might have moved since the content was commissioned. For updated line movements, visit BMR’s free betting odds product.