Playing his pension card, Roger Federer is refusing to accept title favouritism as he prepares to defend his Australian Open crown and land an astonishing 20th grand slam singles crown.
"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," Federer said on Sunday.
But that's exactly the way it is after the Swiss marvel dominated 2017 like he was 26 again.
In backing up his magical Open triumph with an eighth Wimbledon title, Federer' achieved a two-slam year for the first time since 2009, and also collected Masters 1000 trophies in Miami and Indian Wells to storm back into the world's top two.
Only Rafael Nadal tops him in the rankings, despite the Spaniard losing all four matches with his career-long rival, including their epic five-set Open decider.
Unlike last year, though, Federer hasn't arrived at Melbourne Park after six months out of the game.
"It's totally different," he said.
"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 (Djokovic) or Stan (Wawrinka) or others are going through this year."
Like Federer in 2016, Djokovic (elbow) and Wawrinka (knee) called an end to their seasons in 2017 after Wimbledon and will be playing their first tournaments back when the Open starts on Monday.
The second seed believes there's no reason the returning stars can't pull off a similar feat themselves.
"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," Federer said.
"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.
"It was the tournament of the year for me, no doubt about it."
Federer views Nadal, the reigning French and US Open champion, as the favourite and believes Belgian David Goffin could the dark horse.
Goffin ended 2017 with victory over Nadal and Federer at the World Tour Finals in London the week before almost single-handedly carrying his country to Davis Cup glory.
"I think he's going to have a good year," Federer said.
"I'm sure the year end he had with the amount of tournaments that he was able to play and also win, then beat the higher-ranked players, that's going to give him some confidence, some information also about how to approach bigger matches, how to play against the best players."
Federer begins his quest to match Djokovic's six Open wins against Slovenia's world No.49 Aljaz Bedene on Tuesday.