Rafael Nadal has been the best player on tour this season. He's No. 1 on year-to-date rankings, he was in the Australian Open final, and he won the French Open to cap a successful clay-court campaign that included other titles. Since he has won Wimbledon twice before in his career, it's certainly natural to think that he has a good chance to win the tournament again this season given his distinguished form in 2017. He is the 3rd favorite for the title behind both Roger Federer and Andy Murray according to bet365's betting odds. However, Nadal's history at the event between 2012 and 2016 inclusive could make some skeptical of his chances.

Nadal is a two-time champion at Wimbledon

Nadal last won Wimbledon way back in 2010 when he defeated Tomas Berdych in the championship match. The next season Nadal made the final. However, Novak Djokovic won that match in a result that was an upset at the time. Djokovic would go on to claim two more Wimbledon titles, and he may yet claim more. But since last appearing in the final back in 2011, it has been a very tough go for the Spaniard at the All England Club.

Nadal didn't contest last year's draw, but in 2015 he fell in the 2nd round to Dustin Brown. At the time of their match, the German was only ranked No. 102. In 2014, Nadal fell to Nick Kyrgios, and in 2013 the Spaniard fell to Steve Darcis.

Lastly, in 2012 Nadal fell to Lukas Rosol. At the times of the four matches just referenced, all the players that defeated Nadal were ranked 100th in the world or worse. Even in recent seasons where Nadal has won the French Open, he has not carried over his success onto the grass-court surface.

Those looking to assess Nadal's chances have to see a situation that is difficult to examine.

There is Rafa's incredible short-term form in 2017 to consider, one that has made him the best player on tour through the first six months of 2017. But with the Spaniard's recent history at Wimbledon, there is certainly plenty of reason to be skeptical.

That said, Nadal also has to be compared to his main competitors. Andy Murray, the current World No.

1, is slumping. Novak Djokovic, three times a champion at Wimbledon, is not having a good season either. Roger Federer is bet365's favorite to win Wimbledon, and he's another player that's tough to assess. Yes, he won the Australian Open to start the season, but he will be 36 years old soon. That has to affect his energy levels, especially deep in Grand Slams. Just because he persevered in Melbourne Park, doesn't mean he will do so in the greater-London area.

Will an underdog win?

Will Wimbledon 2017 produce an underdog champion? In truth, the event has not seen one in ages for men's singles. No one outside of the Big Four has won the event since 2002, but you have to go all the way back to 1996 to find a champion that was totally out of the blue.

That season Richard Krajicek won the tournament through Pete Sampras and Malivai Washington.

You might think that times are changing on tour as Murray and Djokovic slump, but the long-term history suggests that there will not be a surprise champion at the All England Club. That said, Milos Raonic, Alexander Zverev, and Marin Cilic are the brightest lights outside of the Big Four in my view. If there truly is a crack in the armour for the top-four favorites, then Wimbledon 2017 might see one of those trios emerge victoriously.

But in the final analysis, Nadal should probably be considered the favorite over the slumping Murray and aging Federer. The result from the Melbourne Park final should not sway many at this point in the year. The Aussie has been Nadal's toughest Grand Slam over the years. I don't think Wimbledon 2017 has a heavy favorite, but I still have more confidence in Rafa right now than anyone else.