We are watching the mid-2000s Roger Federer.
After winning "just" one major over the last two years, Federer, who dropped to a lowly No. 3 in the world rankings, was seen as "done." Over the hill.
But a sheer dominant performance at Wimbledon and a return to No. 1 for Federer has everyone jumping back on the bandwagon of arguably the best player ever. Now that he's "back"—OK, I'm done with the quotes, seriously—the U.S. Open is his to lose.
Let's take a look why.
The top players in the world are in such unbelievable shape that we often forget just how much tennis they play in such a short amount of time.
Any extra rest they can get is an absolute bonus.
That's why Federer, who has yet to lose a set and got a walkover to the quarters after Mardy Fish withdrew because of a health scare, is in great shape for the next few rounds. Some might say he'll suffer from rust by missing a round, but in reality, it just means the 31-year-old will meet Tomas Berdych with a full tank.
When Federer is healthy and has enough energy, he's impossible to beat, especially considering the recent form he has showcased.
He Has Djokovic and Murray's Numbers
Is Roger Federer gonna have to Djokovic?
After beating Fed-Ex four straight times from the 2011 U.S. Open to the 2012 French Open, Novak Djokovic has suddenly forgotten how to beat the only man ranked above him.
Federer got him fairly easy in four sets in the semis at Wimbledon a few months ago, but that was grass. We all figured Djokovic still had the advantage on the hard surface.
But then Cincinnati happened.
Fed-Ex threw a bagel on Djokovic and won a second-set tiebreak to take home the Western & Southern Open title. Suddenly everything had changed.
Djokovic will certainly bring more passion should they meet in the final this year, but Federer took him to the wire the past two years at Flushing Meadows and is clearly playing even better this time around.
Of course, Federer still has to get past Andy Murray to even see Djokovic, but he knocked off the Scot during their only other hardcourt matchup this season and beat him handily at Wimbledon.
Murray got revenge in the Olympics, but he won't have the home crowd or the boost of playing for national pride on his side this time around.
Djokovic and Murray are huge obstacles, but with the way Federer is playing, he always has the advantage, however slight it may be.
Like the new article format? Send us feedback!