Fed up? Roger no longer No. 1

Aug 24, 2008 6:45 PM

by Mark Mayer | Roger Federer had been the No. 1 men’s tennis player in the world for over five years and was on the verge of winning the most Grand Slam titles in history. But the unthinkable has happened. Federer is not the favorite to win the U.S. Open, which begins Monday morning in New York.

The Hilton SuperBook has French and Wimbledon champion Rafael Nadal, the new No. 1, at 3-2 to win the men’s singles title. Federer has slipped to 7-4. While that’s still very low, Fed is 0-for-3 in Grand Slam events this year and in danger of being shutout.

Australian Open winner Novak Djokovic is a very strong contender at 5-2, but everyone else would have to be considered a longshot. The closest on the Hilton board are the Andys – Murray at 10-1 and Roddick at 25-1. Others on the board are 60-1 or higher. The field is 20-1.

If the men’s bracket is basically a three-ring circus, the women’s singles is a battle-royal. Serena Williams is the 5-2 favorite at the Hilton, but her best effort in a Grand Slam this year was the final at Wimbledon. Justine Henin would have been the consensus favorite, but she retired prior to the French Open. Ana Ivanovic, who went on to win the French and gain the No. 1 ranking, is second choice at 3-1. However, a wrist injury forced Ivanovic to pull out of the Olympics.

Venus Williams, who beat Serena in that Wimbledon final, is 4-1 but hasn’t won a Grand Slam other than Wimbledon since the 2001 U.S. Open. Dinara Safina, who lost in the finals at both the French and the Olympics, is a fashionable pick at 5-1. Safina was listed as high as 15-1 at Caesars Palace. Olympic champ Elena Dementieva and soon to be world’s No. 1 Jelena Jankovic are each at 10-1 on the Hilton board.

An added prop at the Hilton has Federer and Nadal at +220 that they will both reach the U.S. Open finals. The odds are -300 that one or both won’t make it to the final.

If you have $5 to blow on a whim, here are a few suggestions:

Men: Richard Gasquet 60-1, Marat Safin 80-1. Stan Wawrinka 100-1 (Wawrinka won the gold medal with Federer for Switzerland in the men’s doubles at Beijing).

Women: Nicole Vaidisova 50-1, Amelie Mauresmo 60-1, Marion Bartoli 100-1. (Mauresmo has won two Grand Slam titles and showing signs of life after a two-year slump).