Roger Federer was impressed with both Novak Djokovic and Rafael Nadal during their ATP Cup battle. World No 2 Djokovic toppled his Spanish rival 6-2, 7-6(4) as Serbia won the inaugural tournament in Sydney.
Federer opted against competing at the ATP Cup and Switzerland were consequently pulled out of the tournament.
The 38-year-old cited he wanted to spend more time with his family so did not participate at any events prior to the Australian Open.
When he makes his return in Melbourne he will face a fierce battle with Nadal and Djokovic for the first Grand Slam of the season.
But Federer does not think he should be considered a front runner for the title.
"I'm aware that at 38 I shouldn't be the favourite, it should be someone probably in their 20s, but the three of us have been able to stay as the favourites which is great for us," Federer said.
Roger Federer watched Novak Djokovic beat Rafael Nadal (Image: GETTY)
"Both guys are already showing great signs. I was watching a little bit of their ATP Cup match and thought that was a great match.
“Both guys, injury free, are always tough to beat."
Federer kept himself busy in the off-season as he toured South America alongside young prodigy Alexander Zverev.
The pair played four matches across the region which included setting world record for the most amount of spectators at a tennis match in Mexico.
But he arrived in Melbourne over the weekend raring to go and fight for his 21st major title.
"I'm aware that at 38 I shouldn't be the favourite," Federer said.
"I've trained long and hard in the off-season and I didn't have any setbacks, which is crucial," Federer said at a promotional event in Melbourne.
Roger Federer is hunting a 21st career Grand Slam at the Australian Open (Image: GETTY)
"Last week I was asking myself 'am I happy to go to Australia? Or should I just stay here and stop packing immediately? Because I can.
"I could easily just stay home and I was like, 'no, no, I'm really happy to go to Melbourne and kick off the season there'.
"I have kept myself in good shape, obviously I had an amazing team around me."
Honestly the fact that Federer is still hungry and forcing himself to train a head of time is admirable. I really wonder how much longer he is going to want to do this though? In the end your family should always be greater then a legacy and right now his kids are nine and five years old respectively. I think its great that part of him just wants to become Daderer and hang up the racquet. He could help the kids with homework , help pack their lunches and do controlled playing so he doesn't hurt his back. He wants to spend time with his family , he is not the wiley 25 year old long haired Federer anymore, but a dad with four kids. Imagine the outcry that his kids have when they have to go everywhere. I'm pretty certain his five year olds are not interested in a five hour competition with Djokovic, but want to hang out with their friends and run around. It's easy enough to hire the best nanny in the world, but for those on MTF who have kids , you must attest and or relate to Federer's struggle a little bit?
I wonder how much external pressure he has to stick around in comparison to internal pressure? For example is Tony Godsick whispering all these multi-million dollar deals in his ear, or is it the media telling him Nadal is only one away, or is it Luthi and Lubjcic telling him he as at least two more slams and a Gold Medal in him? Or is it Federer internally yelling about missed match points or screaming about Nadal probably breaking records in 2020, or Federer's just continued love for tennis?
I think this point in time is fascinating for Federer. As he is on the cusp of so many things. He can still challenge for all slams (minus RG) and Master titles, 38 year old Federer is better than 90% of twenty somethings. At the same time it must be really hard to have four kids who you want to hang out with and see them grow up. I wonder if it is not the body that is going to force him out of the game, but his family.
Sorry for the rambling , run on sentences... but what do you think MTF.