Roger Federer has played down suggestions of a 20th Grand Slam title and sixth at the U.S. Open after a year that has far exceeded expectations.
The Swiss returned from a six-month injury layoff to win the Australian Open in January before collecting Masters 1000 titles in Indian Wells and Miami. He then skipped the clay court season before returning to triumph in Halle and add an eighth Wimbledon crown to his resume.
However, he withdrew from the Western and Southern Open citing a back problem that flared up during his final defeat to 20-year-old Alexander Zverev at the Rogers Cup and admits a third Grand Slam triumph is too good to be true.
‘It’s going to be difficult’
“I just make sure I'm 100% ready when the matches come around here in New York. I'm feeling really excited to be here,” said the world number three.
“I'm back on the practice courts and feeling much, much better than a week ago. That's very encouraging for me.
“It’s going to be difficult, you know, and I know everybody says that.
“But I just don’t see myself winning three Slams this year.”
‘I have not overplayed’
The sight of him wincing during his defeat to Zverev in Montreal has been a rarity in a year decorated by glory but Federer says he feels fresh after skipping the Cincinnati Masters and is in the best frame of mind.
“It was a tough week with the back pain, I did a lot of rehab and needed some time away from the tour,” he added.
“Other than the back issue, I'm coming in as good as I can possibly feel because I have played extremely well and I have not overplayed.
“Funny enough, that combination, I don't think I have ever had it to the extent I had it this year.”