The first appearances of Roger Federer and Rafael Nadal, in the first few days of 2017, has already done well to boost the hope of the fans. Although this is just an appetizer of the first true test at the Australian Open, Federer, after six months of absence seemed in good condition and the same applied to Nadal's form.
However the real question is: can the two players be considered contenders to the throne of men's tennis, held now by Andy Murray and also claimed by Novak Djokovic, in what could be a real challenge in the new season? A question which presents some aspects to analyze, especially considering the last poor season of the two.
The distance of Federer from Murray is wide, and hard to fill, at least in a single year. In order to get to Murray, Roger has to win many tournaments, including at least a couple of Slams, and hope that Murray, Djokovic and Nadal are eliminated in the early rounds. This doesn’t mean that the Swiss cannot have a great year. The conditions for his great season are there, even in pursuit of the much dreamed-about eighteenth Slam. Rafa is relatively closer to Andy, in terms of points, but again there is the same argument made for Federer; Rafa has great chances of playing a great season, and why not, to win his tenth title at the French Open.
Perhaps, the discourse related to the points and the fight for the first position of the ATP rankings, could involve, at least in the first part of the season, only Murray and Djokovic, but with Federer and Nadal surprises are around the corner and both the Swiss and the Spanish players will be among the major players in all tournaments, Slams included.
And if expectations will be confirmed, then in the second half of the season the two former world no. 1's will give their all to undermine the throne of men's tennis, making the game much more uncertain, in which all the Fab Four will contend for the tennis scepter.
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