Roger Federer is the most successful professional men's tennis player in the history of the sport.
During the 2013 season, however, Federer has hit a steady decline, winning just one title and moving closer to finishing the year without a Grand Slam championship.
Fortunately for Federer, his path to the quarterfinals is clear at the 2013 U.S. Open.
Federer has won a men's record 17 Grand Slam events, three more than Pete Sampras, who ranks second. That includes five consecutive U.S. Open titles from 2004 to 2008, helping to solidify his status as the greatest to ever do it.
In 2013, however, Federer has hit a low that no one expected to see.
Shocking would be an understatement.
Federer is more than capable of bouncing back and recovering with an extraordinary performance at the U.S. Open. Even with a seeding of No. 7, Federer has a clear path to the quarterfinals, where he'd potentially face Rafael Nadal.
Plain and simple, there just aren't any players who can be considered as more than long shots to take down the great one.
Ranked Players & Notable Opponents
Prior to the quarterfinals of the 2013 U.S. Open, only three players are ranked besides Federer. Those players are No. 11 Kei Nishikori of Japan, No. 19 Tommy Robredo of Spain and No. 26 Sam Querrey of the United States of America.
Other notable players in Federer's half of the bracket include Robin Haase of Netherlands and Bernard Tomic of Australia.
Robredo and Querrey are two of the more respected veterans on the tour, but neither is viewed in the same light as Federer. Even on his worst day, Federer is one of the most precise players in the world, and both Robredo and Querrey defeating him would be considered a massive upset.
Haase is also a veteran, and has been successful in recent weeks, but he's No. 59 in the world.
Nishikori and Tomic as players worth watching, as they're viewed as two of the best up-and-coming players. Nishikori, 23, is currently ranked No. 12 in the world, while Tomic, 22, is No. 52, but viewed as a true rising star.
Upside or not, Federer remains one of the true elite.
Losing to any of the players in his bracket would be a stunning turn of events, especially after his legendary performances in years gone by.
Advancing further than the quarterfinals at Flushing Meadows is another topic of conversation, but Federer is still a favorite.
Federer has won five U.S. Open championships, achieving glory in every season from 2004 to 2008. Since then, Federer has made four consecutive appearances in the quarterfinals, three in the semifinals and one in the final.
Don't count on Federer laying a second consecutive egg after a second round exit at Wimbledon.
When Federer lost in the second round of the 2013 Wimbledon, it was the first time he'd exited before the quarterfinals of a Grand Slam since the 2004 French Open. The last time Federer faced consecutive defeats before the quarterfinals of a Grand Slam was 2003.
Ten years later, we're inclined to believe Federer is too wise to commit the same mistakes twice.
Federer has something to prove in New York, needing to establish himself as a remaining elite in tennis. With many questioning whether or not he's a legitimate threat at 32, Federer will not take any opponent lightly.
The only question now is whether or not we'll be granted a Federer versus Nadal rematch in the U.S. Open quarterfinals.
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