Roger Federer has been idle during the current clay court season. However, the Swiss Maestro, according to the betting odds with bet365, is the 5th favorite to win the 2017 french open still. That sportsbook makes Federer 14 to 1 to win the title at Roland Garros, odds that are longer than all of Andy Murray's, Novak Djokovic's, Rafael Nadal's, and Stan Wawrinka's.

Federer's pre-French Open absence could hurt

Federer might not play any clay court matches before the French Open this season. That circumstance alone suggests that he will be ill-prepared for success at the event.

It's true that he was not match-prepared when he headed into the 2017 Australian Open, but at least before he entered that tournament he had played in Perth's Hopman Cup. With all the other key players active in clay court events, they should be much better prepared than Federer when Roland Garros starts. The schedule for the event this season is May 22nd to June 11th, less than one month away.

Boris Becker, the former coach of Djokovic, has spoken highly of Federer recently. "He started the year by winning Australian Open," Becker said, "Miami and Indian Wells, but we should not be surprised because he is the all time great and one of the greatest sportsmen ever" (Becker qtd. at

The way Federer shocked the world with the start to his season shows that no one can take an eye off of him. Even without much court preparation, Federer is a former champion at the French Open. He won the event in 2009, beating Robin Soderling in the final.

However, a counterpoint to that is that Federer has only won the French Open one time.

Historically it is his worst Grand Slam and Rafael Nadal has been a major roadblock in the event over the years. With Nadal winning Monte Carlo, the 2017 ATP season thus far feels a lot like it did back in the old days. Djokovic isn't at his best and neither is Murray. Meanwhile, Federer is winning on the cement while Nadal is winning on the dirt.

Murray and Djokovic out of form

When it comes to Djokovic and Murray, they are the respective 2nd and 3rd favorites for the French Open behind Rafael Nadal. They might be over-rated at that with how poorly their starts have been to their 2017 seasons. At present, Rafael Nadal looks like a big favorite to win the French Open. His odds with bet365 are 3 to 2, but perhaps he should be closer to even. Then again, Nadal has not won a Grand Slam since the 2014 French Open. Last year he suffered an injury mid-tournament in Roland Garros and it's possible that that injury could strike again at any time.

The 2017 French Open might be a little more wide open for a peripheral player or first-time Grand Slam champion.

Austria's Dominic Thiem could certainly be dangerous as he has won titles on clay in his career. Nick Kyrgios would need to keep his head in his matches to win the French Open, but the raw ability is there to win a major. An in-form Juan Martin del Potro could not be ignored and neither could David Goffin or Albert Ramos-Vinolas, two players that did well in Monte Carlo last week. The 2017 French Open promises to be a spectacle, a tournament with more contenders in it than perhaps many realize right now.