|Federer thinks Djokovic is the favorite despite their recent meeting in Cincinnati. (Getty Images)|
Roger Federer is the No. 1-ranked player in the world. Many contend he is the No. 1 player of all time. He's a six-time winner of the U.S. Open and he is the last man to have won a Grand Slam tournament, taking Wimbledon.
Yet he wants everybody to know he's not the favorite. That title should belong to No. 2, Novak Djokovic.
"Novak to me goes in as the favorite still because he's the defending champion," Federer reasoned (via Sky Sports). "He's probably won the most titles on hard courts the last couple of years. It's where he felt most comfortable.
"He's beaten me the last couple of years as well. Then again, I've had a great summer. So has [Andy] Murray. It's going to be an interesting U.S. Open. I'm happy I'm through the first round."
Alright, that's some sound reasoning, the Djoker is always at his best on the hard courts, that's for sure. Of his five career Grand Slam wins, four have been on the hard courts (three Down Under). And he has been to the U.S. Open final in back-to-back years.
|U.S. Open Day 2|
But this is Roger Federer we're talking about here. The guy has his own supply of the fountain of youth, who is as good as he is effortless on the court. He just breezed through Donald Young in barely more than an hour and a half on Monday night. Granted, it's been a train wreck of a year for Young but that's still impressive to finish a best-of-5 match that quickly.
Something Federer didn't mention was what happened the last time he met Djokovic. It wasn't long ago, just in Cincinnati. Feds looked as dominant as usual in taking out Djokovic in the final, including an opening-set bagel on the board.
Now for what it's worth, the odds makers at Bovada.LV agree with Federer. They instilled Djokovic as a 3/2 favorite coming into the tournament with Federer going off at 5/2 (Murray was next at 4/1). It's just so hard to not look at a tournament in New York where Federer isn't the favorite, not when he's playing at this top level again and not when Rafael Nadal isn't in the draw.
One of the many things I like about tennis is the humility the sport brings. Athletes in other sports usually believe they should win and will often be willing to tell you as much. They want everybody to know how great they are and that they are the team to beat. Not in tennis, at least not often.
It's why so often the word "class" is used as a synonym for Federer. They go together like the Swiss and army knives.
Just don't count me among those who would dare to count Federer out.