Cast aside Roger Federer at your own peril.
As with any great tennis player, Father Time has hit the star like a ton of bricks. When it comes to tennis players, hitting the age of 30 is like a death sentence to your career.
At 32 years old, Federer's best days are clearly behind him. He's labored in many of his high-profile matches. Since 2010, he's only won two Grand Slam titles. Between 2003 and 2009, he averaged two Grand Slam wins every year. It's quite a barren patch for the Swiss legend.
Don't count him out at the U.S. Open, though. With his dominance at Wimbledon, it's easy to forget just how great Federer has been in New York. He won five titles in a row from 2004-2008 and has made it to the quarterfinal in every year since 2004.
According to ESPN Stats & Info, he's got the ninth-most wins in U.S. Open history.
Federer plays Tommy Robredo on Monday in the fourth round. It should be an easy win for Fed as he's beaten Robredo in all 10 of their meetings.
In the quarterfinal, a date with Rafael Nadal looms. Philipp Kohlschreiber is not going to get in the way of another great Federer-Nadal match.
Nadal has won nine of the last 11 matches between the two, so there's a great chance he would throttle Federer should the two play in the next round. However, in their last meeting, Nadal needed all three sets, and the match could have easily swung in Federer's favor with different results in a couple of games.
Much like a college football rivalry, this is one case where you throw the record book out the window. Anything can happen on the court, no matter what the recent history has shown.
Federer's played great at the U.S. Open so far, failing to drop a set in his first three matches and only having lost a total of 21 games. While Grega Zemlja, Carlos Berlocq, and Adrian Mannarino are not the most intimidating of opponents, Federer can only beat the guys in front of him, and he's done so with relative ease. It's as much as you could expect from him.
When it comes to the U.S. Open, though, age can be irrelevant. Sometimes crazy things happen in Flushing Meadows.
You get Pete Sampras winning in 2002 at the age of 31. Jimmy Connors made the semifinal in 1991 when he was 39 years old. Why can't Federer make a run to the final?
He has the kind of playing style that would always transition well into old age. He doesn't rely on overbearing power or an ability to run around the court like a madman and track down shots he has no business tracking down. Instead, Federer sits on the baseline like a surgeon, making precision cuts and methodically taking out his opponent.
You get the feeling that he's got at least one more run left. One more run where he leaves tennis fans in awe and swats Father Time aside with one of his beautiful backhands.