FTL Insider: When in Rome…

Published by FTL Insider

On current form Andy Murray may struggle to retain his Rome title. Photo: Getty Images

Note: Game week 15 main draw starts on Sunday so lockout closes early this week

Rome wasn’t built in a day, and nor is a successful fantasytennisleague.com team.

Take this phase of the season for example. Ideally, to save trades, you’ll already be thinking ahead to the grass court swing. But before those heady months of summer we’ve got two heavy clay court tournaments coming up (Rome and Roland Garros), where conditions will favour anyone but the grass specialists. So will you plan in advance and take a hit in the coming weeks, or try to strike a beautiful balance?

Ideally you’ll do the latter, and if you’re looking for winners at Rome there are some familiar faces you might want to add to your team.

Of course, Rome in 2016 kicked off a halcyon spell for current world No.1 Andy Murray ($15.18m). However, Murray is a different player this year, and will struggle to retain his title. A coachless Novak Djokovic ($14.95m) is another former champion struggling this season, and represents an expensive gamble. Instead, look to Rafael Nadal ($19.38m) to captain your team to glory.

Away from the obvious, now is the time to be considering the players who like heavy, damp conditions. Albert Ramos-Vinolas ($9.69m) may have struggled in Madrid, but the conditions in Italy should suit him better. The same can be said for Pablo Carenno Busta ($8.6m) and Roberto Bautista Agut ($7.45m), who will hope to grind their way deep into the tournament.

If you’re feeling thrifty, Pablo Cuevas ($7.1m) and David Ferrer ($3.77m) are capable of causing upsets, and then there’s Fabio Fognini ($6m). The mercurial Italian is a force on home soil, and could well ruffle feathers.

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As results in Madrid have shown, it’s almost impossible to predict what is going to happen in the women’s side of the draw. That said, there are a few players worth taking a punt on.

The conditions in Rome could well favour heavy hitters like Svetlana Kuznetsova ($12.66m), Kristina Mladenovic ($11.45m) and Venus Williams ($11.19m). Simona Halep ($8.02m) appears to have rediscovered her mojo of late, and could well be shaping up to make a run at silverware there and at the French Open.

A couple of players who suffered surprising losses in Madrid are also worth a watch in the Italian capital. Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova ($9.76m) may have struggled in Spain, but will feel more confident next week. So, too, should Garbine Muguruza ($7.74m), who will be desperate for results before she launches the defence of her Roland Garros title.  And expect Elina Svitolina ($11.37m) to power her way deep into the Rome draw after a disappointing showing in Rome.

Buy: Simona Halep ($8.02m) – coming into form at the right time ahead of Roland Garros.
Sell: Johanna Konta ($12.22m) – if there were any queries over her clay court form she’s answered them: there is no form.

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