Roger Federer concedes it took a family holiday to help him recover from losing to Novak Djokovic in the Wimbledon final, when he blew two match points and lost all three tie-breaks. Yet the Swiss insists he is mentally and physically fit to challenge for a sixth US Open title, confidence that will be tested long before the final on 8 September.
Federer, who turned 38 two weeks ago, always gives the impression the clock is ready to stop for him one more time. It did not happen over five gruelling sets on Centre Court six weeks ago against Djokovic, and the odds are the world No 1 will outlast everyone again in New York. Nevertheless Federer, who won the last of his five US Open titles in 2008 against Andy Murray, says he is prepared to dream of glory for a while yet.
“I’m not putting extra pressure on myself,” he said in the lead-up to his first match on Monday, against a qualifier (with possible matches against Dan Evans and Cameron Norrie after that, or more likely David Goffin in the fourth round, before even contemplating a semi-final against Djokovic.)
“I’m not coming in as overwhelming favourite like I did back in 2006 [when he defeated Andy Roddick] or 2007 [beating Djokovic], but I’m very much aware of how I need to approach the tournament mentally. I’ve had a very consistent last two years [in which he won the Australian Open twice, Wimbledon in 2017 and reached the 2019 final after beating Rafa Nadal in the semis].
“Even though my back locked up on me in Montreal, and I struggled here as well, I’ve been playing well recently again. My win over Rafa at Wimbledon was big for me. I’m happy with my game.”