Roger Federer has advanced to the quarterfinals of the 2013 Australian Open with great ease. This is vital to the great champion's (who is playing on old legs) chances at claiming an unprecedented 18th major title.
Federer is 31. That is not old in general terms. In most sports, that is typically considered the tail end of one's prime. However, tennis years are approximately equivalent to running back years. In other words, once a player hits 30, it is time to start contemplating their life after tennis.
The age factor is an even bigger concern at majors. Players have to navigate deep and talented fields while battling in best-of-five-set matches. This is going to take a toll.
Let's just say that Federer's run has not been overly taxing on his body. He has yet to lose a set at this Australian Open, and he hasn't even been that challenged in the sets he has won.
He's had one set in each of his past two wins that went to tiebreakers, but other than those two, his opponent has not won more than four games in a set.
Federer took on the hard-serving and dangerous youngster Milos Raonic in his last match. Federer dispatched of him quickly and easily to advance to his 35th straight quarterfinals in a major.
In that match, Federer only lost five service points and blasted 34 winners. In other words, he was essentially doing anything he wanted.
This is a testament to the great form that Federer is in. He is moving wonderfully, on point with his serves and in full control of that epic forehand. That right there is a strong sign for his chance to roll to the title.
Combine that with the fact that Federer's easy victories will help him battle his future opponents—like the pair of dominant 25-year-olds Andy Murray and two-time defending Australian Open champion Novak Djokovic—on a more even surface.
They will not enjoy the perks of youth that lead to quicker recovery times, because Federer has yet to undergo anything his body has to overcome.