The 2017 Australian Open starts on January 16th and tennis fans will be looking forward to the Grand Slam return of Roger Federer. The Swiss Maestro was at Wimbledon last season, however he had to miss the US Open as he recovered from a knee problem. He and Rafael Nadal were the two finalists at the 2009 event from Melbourne, but they find themselves more peripheral favorites as the 2017 event approaches.

Roger Federer 16 to 1 to win Aussie

Federer, who was practicing in Perth on Thursday, is currently the 4th favorite for the 2017 Australian Open.

He's behind the recent champions in both Novak Djokovic and Stan Wawrinka. Andy Murray does not have a title from Melbourne Park, however he is many times a finalist there. Furthermore, he is the current World No. 1 and outright favorite ahead of Djokovic, Wawrinka, and Federer. The odds on Federer to win the event outright are 16 to 1 with bet365. Ahead of the start of the event, Federer will continue to practice and play in Perth as he is in that city for the Hopman Cup, an event that runs next week.

Rafael Nadal the 6th favorite

Nadal, who is currently a part of the Mubadala Tennis Championships, will also be at ATP Brisbane next week. That tournament features a deep field with Milos Raonic, Wawrinka, Kei Nishikori, and Dominic Thiem.

The Spaniard suffered a first-round exit at the 2016 Australian Open, losing to Fernando Verdasco. However, Rafa remains the 6th favorite for the tournament. Additional to Federer, Nadal is considered a slightly longer favorite than Milos Raonic. The Canadian is priced at 18 to 1 to win the first Grand Slam event of 2017 while Nadal is out at 20 to 1.

The big news in the last few days regarding the 2017 Australian Open is the withdrawal of Juan Martin del Potro. The Argentine was among the favorites even a week ago, however he is no longer expected at the event. Perhaps an under-rated player heading into the draw will be Nishikori. The Japanese star did well at the US Open a few months ago and if he's sharp in Brisbane, then I think it will bode well for his Melbourne Park chances.

On the women's side, the favorites are Serena Williams and Angelique Kerber (read more). They are the one and two punch for the event, with Kerber entering as the defending champion.