Roger Federer: Aging Legend Still a Title Contender at 2013 Australian Open

Austin GreenCorrespondent IJanuary 5, 2013

MELBOURNE, AUSTRALIA - JANUARY 26:  Roger Federer of Switzerland looks on in his semifinal match against Rafael Nadal of Spain during day eleven of the 2012 Australian Open at Melbourne Park on January 26, 2012 in Melbourne, Australia.  (Photo by Lucas Dawson/Getty Images)
Lucas Dawson/Getty Images

Roger Federer will turn 32 this year, but the Swiss legend should still be considered a favorite at the 2013 Australian Open.

He proved he could still be a dominant player last year, winning six singles titles and rising to the world's No. 1 ranking for a time, ending the year at No. 2. He even added to his career Grand Slam singles record, taking out Novak Djokovic and Andy Murray on his way to the 2012 Wimbledon title.

It was Federer's seventh Wimbledon crown and his 17th career Grand Slam title.

Federer also made it to the semifinals at last year's Australian Open. He lost in four sets to Rafael Nadal, but with the Spaniard sitting this one out, the field is weaker than usual.

Of course, Federer's age did show at times in 2012, especially in his straight-set defeat against Murray in the Olympic final. Djokovic notched a straight-set victory over Federer as well, dominating him in the French Open semifinals.

But while Federer occasionally looks old and slow, his amazing technique, strong will and limitless knowledge make him a threat to eliminate the world's best at any given time. His game has never been about speed and power, so even as his athleticism fades, he can still win matches by outsmarting opponents.

He should also be fresh at this year's Aussie Open. After a grueling 2012 schedule, Federer opted not to participate in any tournaments leading up to Melbourne. While this may lead to some rust in his early matches, he should be healthy and energetic when the competition heats up.

Djokovic, the defending champion, should be favored to win the title, and Murray is certainly a force to be reckoned with. But Federer is still a championship-caliber player, and no one should be surprised if he wins the first Grand Slam of the new year.