Tennis fans will certainly remember the fierce run of form that Andy Murray went on last season after the US Open. The Scot lost in the quarterfinals of that Grand Slam to Kei Nishikori, but then Murray seemed unstoppable for the balance of the year. He would win numerous titles at the end of 2016, including the year-end World Tour Finals. Murray's incredible run would see him supplant Novak Djokovic as the World No. 1 player and the Scot has been there ever since for what is now a modestly lengthy run as the top-ranked player in the world for men's tennis.

However, as strong as Murray was to close 2016, he simply has not been the same player in 2017. Murray's form has left a lot for his fans to desire this season, best 'lowlighted' by his fourth-round exit at Melbourne Park. That is a venue that Murray has done so well in over the years and it certainly was eyebrow raising to see the Scot crash out of the tournament so early. As it turns out, there might be a cause-and-effect relationship between Murray's incredible form in late 2016 and his poor season so far in 2017.

Roger Federer says Murray was tired, injured

“Andy was tired after getting to No. 1 at the end of last year," Roger Federer claimed recently in Halle, Germany, "and then has been struggling with injuries” (Federer qtd.

by The Guardian's Kevin Mitchell). Federer himself is currently preparing for Wimbledon 2017 with a warm-up event that he stands a good chance to win this weekend.

But whatever the reason is for Murray's plight, the fact is that he is entering a very important time of his season. Wimbledon has been his best Grand Slam in terms of title counts over the Scot's career.

He has won the event twice, including last season when he defeated Milos Raonic in the championship match. Due to his title from last season, Murray has a full 2000 ranking points to defend at Wimbledon this season.

Rafael Nadal could be No. 1 soon

Rafael Nadal is the current World No. 2 and the Spaniard did not play at the All England Club last year.

What that means is that Murray has 2000 ranking points to lose this season while Rafa could gain as many as 2000. That amounts to a 4000-point potential swing between the two players. Despite the fact that Nadal is over 2000 points behind Murray, in short, if Murray does poorly at Wimbledon and Nadal does well then it could easily mean that the Spaniard will regain the top ranking. If that happens it will be as much to do with Murray's poor form in 2017 as Nadal's strong results, especially during the clay-court season.