Roger Federer distanced himself from favouritism for the Australian Open, highlighting his advancing age as the defending champion talked up the chances of world number one Rafael Nadal and six-time winner Novak Djokovic.
Evergreen Swiss second seed Federer, 36, returns to Melbourne Park in his quest for a record-equalling sixth Australian Open title and 20th grand slam.
Federer – enjoying a relaxed a stress-free preparation for the year's opening slam which gets underway on Monday – is the early favourite to reign supreme on Rod Laver as Nadal and Djokovic battle to be fully fit in Melbourne.
However, the former world number one insisted he is far from favourite to take out the 106th Australian Open.
"I feel like maybe somebody like a Rafa, with the year that he's had, and Novak with the six titles he's had here, even if it's unknown how he's feeling, they could very well be the favourites too," Federer told reporters on Sunday.
"At the end of the day, it's all just talk beforehand. The draws are always tough, you know, I must admit. Never look at a draw and think. That was lucky, that was a bad draw. It's always tough because everybody can play.
"My focus needs to be early because I have my own problems, you know, to get through my section of the draw, my game. That's my focus, not the other players really further down the line.
"It's nice that one year later I am second in the world and seeded highly. Okay, I have even more points to defend this year rather than last year. Last year I was looking at slipping outside the top 30. This year that's not going to happen.
"It's just great to be back. I'm so, so happy the Australian Open, it's time again. I can't believe it's been a year, but it's okay. I'll make the most of it."
Federer added: "This year I hope to win the first few rounds and get rolling hopefully, whereas last year I was just hoping to win. It was more of a 'let's see what happens' kind of tournament, maybe similar to what Novak or Stan or others are going through this year. It's like, let's just see what happens.
"I'm not at 100 per cent, but you never know in a week's time what's going to be happening. If you're in the draw, you give yourself a chance. That's what happened for me last year. All ended up way better than I thought it would, as you know.
"It was the tournament of the year for me, no doubt about it. All the five-setters, as well. Having no expectations was so nice after all these years always having expectations, like now this year again.
"With age, I feel like I play down my chances just because I don't think a 36-year-old should be a favourite of a tournament, it should not be the case. That's why I see things more relaxed, you know, at a later stage of my career."
|Cavaliers, Nance agree to four-year extension|
|Ramos wants Spain to believe in Luis Enrique´s team|
|De Laurentiis: I´ve spoken to Genoa and agent about Piatek|
|Kaka tips bright future for Paqueta after Milan agreement|
|Suns star Booker set to return for season opener|
|Warriors coach Kerr not expecting fast start from NBA champs|
|Fultz to start for 76ers as Brown eyes NBA Finals|
|Maltese champions Valletta want Usain Bolt|
|It would have been normal to kill them! Luis Enrique slams abysmal Spain|
|Seahawks, Trail Blazers owner Paul Allen dies aged 65|
|Red Sox ace Sale released from hospital, still set for game five|
|Beer-throwing fan banned by Patriots|
|Southgate lauds ´tremendous´ attackers after famous Spain win|
|Djokovic closing in on summit as he scales new heights|
|Monaco the natural move for Henry - Martinez|
|Ending England drought a ´beautiful feeling´ – Sterling|
|Halep to face Pavlyuchenkova in Moscow comeback|
|NBA 2018-19: Five non-LeBron James storylines to follow|
|Spain 2 England 3: Kane inspires Three Lions as Sterling ends drought in style|
|Bosnia-Herzegovina 2 Northern Ireland 0: Dzeko double leaves O´Neill´s side on the brink|
|Mannarino stops the rot in Moscow|
|Neymar pleased Brazil will not face Messi in Argentina clash|
|Buccaneers fire defensive coordinator Mike Smith after loss to Falcons|
|´Surprised´ Deschamps accepts he could´ve made more effort with Koscielny|
|Kuwait 0 Australia 4: Socceroos deliver win for new coach Arnold|
|Van Dijk fit for Liverpool return - Koeman|
|NBA 2018-19: Eastern Conference predictions|
|NBA 2018-19: Five rookies to watch|
|Denly replaces injured Dawson in England ODI squad|
|Low confirms under-fire Neuer to start against France|
|NBA 2018-19: Western Conference predictions|
|Bolt offered two-year deal by European club, says agent|
|NBA 2018-19: LeBron the Laker - what it means|
|Griezmann ahead of Mbappe for Ballon d´Or - Modric|
|Billy Vunipola ruled out with fractured arm|
|Get the chequebook out! - Mayweather talks up potential Khabib clash|
|Amla ruled out of Australia tour|
|Class act Hamilton more complete than ever - Wolff|
|NBA 2018-19: It´s a big season for - Ball, Kawhi, Carmelo, Love & Cousins|
|Bellew: I have no fear of Usyk|
|Birthday boy Ozil is the most creative player in Europe|
|CSA reveals De Villiers and Rabada involved in Mzansi Super League|
|FA condemns England supporters involved in trouble in Seville|
|Gascoigne hits back over Scottish Hall of Fame snub|
|NBA 2018-19: LeBron closing in on Jordan, Curry chasing Miller and Allen|
|Ter Stegen should start ahead of Neuer for Germany – Matthaus|
|England´s Sterling impressed by Sancho´s work ethic|
|Vandoorne seals switch to Formula E|
|Halep to end 2018 as world number one|
|Sri Lanka´s Jayasuriya charged by ICC with breaching anti-corruption code|
|Vermaelen out for six weeks with hamstring injury|
|LeBron and Irving did not fall out, says ex-Cavs trainer|
|Ramsey out of Wales´ clash with Republic of Ireland|
|Bolt angry with drugs test|
|Bad luck is not a coincidence – Kimmich concerned by Germany form|
|Mahomes: Chiefs need to win like Brady and the Patriots|
|Schuster warns Real Madrid not to panic-buy striker in January|
|We´re here to win! - Paine not happy celebrating a draw|
|Injured Thauvin out of Germany clash|
|Southgate hits out at early Premier League start|
|Modric to Inter talk is ´fantasy´, says Guardiola|
|Pats hand first loss to Chiefs after wild shoot-out|
|Cowboys, Ravens dominate as Pats beat Chiefs in NFL classic|
|Brady becomes first QB to 200 regular-season wins in NFL|
|Red Sox level series against Astros|
|Mbappe leaves red-faced Dembele on his backside|
|Red Sox ace Sale admitted to hospital with stomach illness|
|From UFC to NFL? McGregor throws pass for Cowboys|
|Ancelotti praises ´dangerous´ Mbappe|
|Uncapped Papalii named in All Blacks squad|