Federer on cusp of more remarkable history

Roger Federer has the chance to achieve a number of incredible world records at the 2018 Australian Open.

It might be argued that 36-year-old fathers of four have no business winning grand slam titles but try telling that to Federer as the evergreen Swiss bids to claim a record-equalling sixth Australian Open crown in two weeks' time.

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Federer will saddle up for a 19th time in the main draw at Melbourne Park, looking to frustrate 'Generation Next' once again and defend the title he won last year during a stunning comeback from knee surgery.

No such queries hang over his fitness this year and if bookmakers are to be believed the other 127 men in the draw will be fighting for the scraps from Federer's plate.

Can Federer defend his title? Image: Getty

And on immediate form, few could argue.

If Federer does manage to go back-to-back, he will become the first man in tennis history to win 20 grand slam titles.

Serena Williams (23) and Steffi Graf (22) have achieved the unique feat, and Margaret Court (24) has done it if you include those won before the Open era, but no male player has.

Federer's haul of 19 majors puts him three ahead of Nadal (16), with Pete Sampras (14) and Djokovic (12) after that.

The current World No.2 can also become the first man to reach 30 grand slam finals.

Federer is tied with Serena on 29, both behind Graf (31), Martina Navratilova (32) and Chris Evert (34).

If the Swiss legend claims victory at the 2018 Australian Open, he will equal Roy Emerson and Novak Djokovic's record of six titles here.

The 36-year-old also has an outside shot of becoming the oldest World No.1 in history, but Nadal would have to lose before the quarter-finals for that to eventuate.

If Federer wins the title and Nadal loses before the quarters, Federer would eclipse Andre Agassi's record when he became No.1 at age 33.

The Swiss Maestro also has the chance to equal the world record for most majors won after the age of 30.

Rod Laver and Emerson did it four times, while Federer has three.

Back-to-back crowns would also mark the second time Federer has defended an Australian Open title, and just the 13th time it's been defended in history.

Federer arrives for a first round match against mid-ranked Slovenian Aljaz Bedene after cruising through an undefeated run at the Hopman Cup.

His major rivals, meanwhile, are either carrying injuries or returning from them, or in the case of 'Big Four' cohort Andy Murray, ruled out because of them.

A magical 20th slam might seem a formality for a player who did it all in last year's tournament with the shortest of run-ups, but on closer inspection, Federer's path through the draw is far from straightforward.

Danger lurks at almost every corner, with former Wimbledon finalist Milos Raonic and a resurgent Juan Martin Del Potro, the man who beat Federer for the 2009 US Open title, looming as threats before the quarter-finals.

Yet few would be surprised if the tournament ends in a repeat of last year's final with Federer up against his great Spanish rival and top seed Nadal.

The pair split the four grand slam trophies between them last year, with Nadal, at 31, finishing the season as the ATP rankings' oldest No.1.

with agencies