In January 2017, Roger Federer had not won a Grand Slam in more than five years and his glittering career looked to be winding down. Now the Swiss has won three of the last five Grand Slams, and he did not even compete in last year’s French Open.
Careful body management has allowed the 36-year-old to enjoy a marvelous late-career renaissance and take his Grand Slam tally up to 20. He is in sensational form and dropped just two sets en route winning the Australian Open at the weekend – and both set losses were in the final. His backhand has improved, his aggression is terrifying and his aging legs have not let him down. He looks a great option to win further Grand Slam glory during the rest of 2018.
You can write off the French Open. He won it in 2009, but clay is not a strong surface for him, and he will see little point in putting his body on the line this season. In 2017, he skipped the entire clay-court campaign to remain fit for Wimbledon and the US Open later in the year, and it would be little surprise if he did so again this year. As such he is all the way out at 18/1 to win it. Rafa Nadal, the world No. 1, justifies his status as 11/10 favourite with Boyle Sports to win in Roland Garros this year.
The Spaniard won his 10th French Open title last year and remains remarkably dominant on clay. One man who could stop him is young upstart Dominic Thiem, who looks interesting at 9/1 with Marathon Bet, but Nadal should clinch it. If he does, that will take him to 17 Grand Slams, just three behind Federer.
That would put the impetus on the Swiss to seize further Grand Slams to ensure a healthy margin as the all-time leader. He will have a brilliant chance at Wimbledon, where he has reigned supreme over the years. It is his happiest hunting ground, and he has won eight titles there, including last year’s dominant victory over Marin Cilic.
You can get odds of 13/5 with Betfair on him winning Wimbledon this year and that looks like a fantastic set of odds, considering his dominance in Melbourne. His key rivals are crocked – Andy Murray had had hip surgery, while Novak Djokovic’s body has started to creak under the relentless pressure he has applied to it over the years – while youngsters like Alexander Zverev have not made the step up yet, and the likes of Grigor Dimitrov are inconsistent. Murray could always roar back to form and fitness, and he would be a formidable opponent at Wimbledon, but right now it looks a long way back to the top for the Scot, and Federer is in superb physical condition.
Finally, there is the US Open. Federer was favourite to win it in 2017, but suffered a shock defeat to Juan Martin del Potro in the quarter-finals. That paved the way for Nadal to win a second Grand Slam of the year and cement his world No. 1 status. But if those two meet at Flushing Meadows later this year, Federer will be the heavy favourite as he has an excellent recent record against Nadal on hard court. You can get 5/1 on him winning that with Betway and that also looks like exceptional value. Djokovic is the favourite, but the Serb has been struggling badly with injury for more than a year now and does not look like returning to his best any time soon. Backing Federer to win Wimbledon and the US Open could be profitable futures bets for 2018 as he is peerless at present.