Roger Federer is expected to be a part of International Premier Tennis League action in early December. However, any involvement in those matches will not count toward his ATP ranking. If the Swiss Maestro is to improve on his World No. 16 position then the 2017 Australian Open is the next major event where he can gain some ranking points. He and Rafael Nadal enter the 2017 season as major afterthoughts to win finish 2017 as the World No. 1 in what has to be called the late stages of their respective careers.

Roger Federer 33 to 1 for top ranking

Federer, who has held the top ranking for more weeks than anyone else, will turn 36 years old in 2017.

It's very hard to expect any thing close to his best tennis next season because of that. It's not just that Federer is losing a step in terms of his own on-court abilities, however players like Kei Nishikori and Milos Raonic are gaining in confidence as well. Furthermore, it's incredibly difficult to picture Federer keeping up with the physicality of Scotland's Andy Murray. Those considerations may be part of the reason that the Swiss Maestro is 33/1 with Betfair to finish 2017 as the World No. 1.

Rafael Nadal 25 to 1 for top ranking

With Rafael Nadal, the Spaniard is not as advanced in years as Federer. However, Nadal has always been different than Federer in terms of injury proneness. Where Federer's injury problems are a mid-30s thing, Nadal had injury problems even in his prime.

For example, in 2009 he lost the top ranking in the world with lower-body problems that kept him out of Wimbledon that season. Other problems have been intermittent and it is hard to picture him putting an entire season together in 2017 as well. Accordingly, Nadal is 25/1 to finish 2017 as the World No.

1 player, odds that suggest a less than 4% chance of doing so.

Andy Murray and Novak Djokovic are the market favorites at short odds of 11/10 and 5/6 respectively (Betfair). But Kei Nishikori is the interesting player to watch in my view. He's injury prone too, but at 25/1 (Betfair) he is likely under-rated.

I see him as a promising prospect for major damage in 2017. Should he falter, then either Murray or Djokovic should claim top spot next season.

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