Roger Federer facing last chance for Slam no.18 at the US Open

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As with so many legends across so many sports, nobody likes to see the decline of a great man and great player - but time is running out for Roger Federer at the top of tennis' tree.

The Swiss star, arguably the greatest of all-time in his discipline, proved at Wimbledon that he still has the form and legs to reach a Grand Slam final, but winning another is a completely different prospect.

His air of complete domination is becoming less and less fragrant with every Grand Slam that goes by and out of the clutches of the former world no.1.

Time catching up

In most sports, you tend to be considered a veteran from the age of about 30 - especially so in tennis. Federer will be 33 by the time that the first ball is served up at the upcoming US Open and history suggests it will be tough from here on in.

I'm not writing off the 17-time Grand Slam champion at Flushing Meadows, far from it as he proved that would be futile in London a few weeks ago.

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US Open prowess

Federer has won in New York five times - in a row between 2004 and 2008 - and he continues to perform as a crowd favourite, last year was the only time that he failed to reach at least round four since becoming a winner.

The style and majesty of the Rolls Royce-type player will never leave, the way he glides across the court is something that can catch the breath of any fan that sees it in the flesh. All that stands in the way is the pure ridiculous level of competition with the likes of Novak Djokovic, Rafael Nadal, Andy Murray and newcomers such as Grigor Dimitrov and Milos Raonic.

Now could be the best time for Roger Federer to reach Grand Slam no.18 though. Nadal's in the middle of his own slightly rough patch with a laboured clay season and disappointing Wimbledon showing, Djokovic has been busy getting married and the others need more consistency.

Last chance

If he doesn't manage to extend his lead on top of the all-time majors list this time, it may never happen.

Think about it. The Australian Open and French Open are next up - Federer's two lesser triumphant tournaments. Djokovic and Nadal respectively have made those two tournaments fortresses. 

By the time that the grass of the All England Club is next trimmed, luscious and ready to go - the world no.3 will be pushing 34 and his rivals will still be fresh, while newer stars will continue to develop and climb the rankings.

The competitive nature of modern sport means that the real experienced guys find it harder to out-do the ever-younger, ever-fitter players. Only the rare breeds like Ryan Giggs can vouch against that. 

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