Roger Federer has done a number on the ATP Tour through the first three months of the 2017 season. Firstly, Federer shocked the world with a run to the Australian Open title as the No. 17 seed in Melbourne Park. He suffered a setback in a small tournament after that, however that loss remains the only one he has so far season to date. With two titles in Indian Wells and Miami, Federer is the far-and-away best player on tour when it comes to year-to-date rankings. The Swiss Maestro defeated Rafael Nadal in the Miami final 6-3, 6-4 for what was Federer's third victory over the Spaniard already this season.

With the Australian Open, Indian Wells, and Miami bagged Federer has won all of the big tournaments so far this season. Those tournaments alone give him 4000 ranking points. To put that into perspective, even if Federer missed the entire remainder of the season for some reason his results from Melbourne, Indian Wells, and Miami alone would be very likely to keep him in the top 10. In short, Federer has done in three tournaments what the huge majority of players on tour can't do in 20. Most impressively, he has done it all in the calendar year when he'll turn 36 years old.

The clay-court season begins

But with his age, there's reason to doubt that he'll regain the No. 1 ranking. What he has done through three months is incredible, but to get to No.

1 you have to be the best player in the world over 52 weeks. How long will Federer's form last, keeping in mind that the clay court season is historically the worst time of year for Federer?

The winner of 18 Grand Slam titles has won Roland Garros just one time, that coming in 2009 when he defeated Robin Soderling in the men's final.

He has numerous clay court titles to his credit over his entire career. However, since winning the 2009 French Open, Federer only has two titles on dirt. One of those titles was at Istanbul 2015, a low-tiered tournament on the ATP Tour. The other post-2009 French Open clay court title came at the 2012 Madrid Masters.

Tennis fans that have followed the tour long-term will remember that Madrid 2012 was the blue clay fiasco.

Federer's form is unlikely to continue over the course of the clay-court season. I see Rafael Nadal as exacting some revenge should the two players meet in the months ahead. I don't have a lot of confidence in Novak Djokovic right now, but I do think that Dominic Thiem is going to do some major damage in the 2017 clay court season. Furthermore, Andy Murray has shown that he's a man for the surface in recent seasons. The World No. 1 has started the season off-form, but due to his immense talent he can't be expected to be idle for long.

Wimbledon and late-season tournaments key

I'm not expecting even one title for Federer in Monte Carlo, Madrid, Rome, or Paris this season.

As I see it, the key for Federer will be Wimbledon and all the hard court tournaments that take place in the latter half of the ATP season. A decent clay court season that sees him pick up 1400+ ranking points would be a good goal for the Swiss Maestro. If he claims a title at Wimbledon then he'd be in a battle to stay fit for the balance of the season to possibly finish the year as the top-ranked player in a season that has so far seen Djokovic and Murray struggle to stay healthy.

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