It may be over a decade since Roger Federer last won the US Open but the Swiss master feels he has his best chance in years to land a sixth title.
Federer, who won five titles in a row between 2004 and 2008, heads to Flushing Meadows having narrowly lost an epic Wimbledon final to Novak Djokovic less than six weeks ago.
Now 38, Federer knows he is running out of time to add to his tally of 20 grand slams but the world number three is not feeling the strain.
“I’m not putting extra pressure on myself. I know it’s going to be tough,” he said.
“I’m not coming in as the overwhelming favourite like maybe I did back in 2006 or 2007. I’m very much aware of how I need to approach this tournament mentally.
“Two years ago I came in with a back issue a little bit, I had a struggle early on with five-setters. Last year I struggled with the heat against (John) Millman. Obviously in 2016 I missed it entirely.
“We were saying on the practice court two days ago that this is probably the best I’ve felt in years coming into the US Open again, which is encouraging.
“I’ve been playing well, and playing well in the slams recently, which has been great. I think also the win over Rafael (Nadal) in the Wimbledon semis was big for me. Also the final, the way I played that, is going to give me some extra confidence.”
🇨🇭🗣🎙August 23, 2019
Federer, who said he went caravanning with his four children to get over his Wimbledon defeat, crashed to a shock 6-3 6-4 loss by Russian qualifier Andrey Rublev in Cincinnati earlier this month, a result which he insists might help in the long run.
“I’m happy where my game is at,” he added. “Cincinnati might be a good thing that I lost early, who knows?
“It’s maybe one of those things that sometimes needs to happen, like when I won at the Australian Open, went to Dubai, lost first round in 2017, then went on to win Indian Wells and Miami.
“Maybe it’s the same thing, I played a great Wimbledon, I needed to get knocked down in Cincy, to get my act together, train hard.
“That’s what I did. I’m ready for the US Open. It’s going to be a tough tournament to win, no doubt about it. I feel like I’m part of that group who can do it.”
Nadal, the second seed, is also a man in form and will be a threat as long as his knee problems do not flare up again.
The Spaniard said: “To arrive to the big events with good feelings helps. My last events have been; win Rome, win at Roland Garros, semi-finals at Wimbledon and winning in Montreal.
“That’s a positive feeling, positive memory on my mind. That helps for the confidence, helps for the positive feelings.
“But the main thing is to arrive here and adapt to the conditions. For the moment I am feeling well.”
- Press Association