Darron Cummings/Associated Press
Just like Williams, what on earth does a man with 17 Grand Slams—the most in the history of men's professional tennis—have to prove at the U.S. Open? This also being a tournament he has won five times.
He needs to prove he still has Grand Slam wins left in his 33-year-old body.
Federer has a relatively easy road to the final, even after he disposed of the powerful serving Sam Groth, 6-4, 6-4, 6-4 in the second round.
The withdrawal of his Lex Luther, Rafa Nadal, bumped Federer to the two-seed from the three. That translates into a matchup with Novak Djokovic in the final versus the semifinal (assuming things shake out as planned but don't tell that to the women's draw).
Looking at Federer’s run of dominance, he won 15 of his 17 Grand Slams before 2010. In the last four years of play, he has only won two while reaching just four finals in that stretch.
Fans of Federer—or those who like to watch historically great players—would like to see him win No. 18. Maybe he and Williams can snag that 18th win on the same weekend.
The Guardian's Kevin Mitchell wrote:
I would contend, though, that Federer and Williams have timing—if not time—on their side this fortnight. For the first time in many years, there is genuine doubt about the winner, especially in the men’s tournament. Crucially, for Federer, who is playing as well as he has done in years, Nadal is missing. Had he been here and fit, I would have made the Spaniard a slight favourite to retain his title, because I’m not altogether convinced that Novak Djokovic is at full throttle.