Roger Federer: 16-Time Grand Slam Champ Is a Lock to Win 2012 Australian Open

Adam Spencer@AdamSpencer4Correspondent IJanuary 11, 2012

MELBOURNE, AUSTRALIA - JANUARY 11:  Roger Federer of Switzerland prepares to play a forehand during a practice session prior to the 2012 Australian Open at Rod Laver Arena on January 11, 2012 in Melbourne, Australia.  (Photo by Scott Barbour/Getty Images)
Scott Barbour/Getty Images

Roger Federer has won 16 Grand Slam titles in his illustrious career. Heading into 2012, he'd like to add a few more to that total.

Yes, he's slipped to No. 3 in the world rankings—behind No. 1 Novak Djokovic and No. 2 Rafael Nadal—but the Swiss legend is still an elite player.

He's coming off of some back pain that caused him to pull out of this year's Qatar Open in Doha last week, but he should return to normal in time for the Australian Open.

Federer is a four-time winner of the Australian Open, his last victory at the event coming in 2010.

He has the experience necessary to knock off Djokovic at this year's Open. Djokovic had Federer's number last year, beating him in both the 2011 Wimbledon and 2011 U.S. Open finals.

But Djokovic had a dream season in 2011. The chances that he's able to duplicate that success in 2012 are very slim.

Also, with a motivated Federer coming after him, and too many miles on his body from 2011, it's likely Djokovic will see his dominance start to dwindle.

After all, with all the injuries and aging Federer has been experiencing the past couple years, this could be his last shot to return to dominance. He's 30 years old now. That's pretty old in tennis years, especially in terms of wear and tear on his knees and his bad back, etc.

Playing on the synthetic hard court of the Australian Open won't do Federer any favors on his injuries, but he's been resting for a week now and had some time off last season as well, so he should be ready to make one last run.

Nadal won't be a problem in Australia, since he has only won the Open once, in 2009, and hasn't made it past the quarterfinals the last two years.

That leaves Federer, with Djokovic as his only true challenger. And, when it comes to getting revenge on people who have beaten him in the past, there's no one better than Federer.

Look for an epic match between Djokovic and Federer in the finals, with Federer prevailing and recapturing a bit of his former dominance.