Five-time U.S. Open Champion Roger Federer made a rather surprising admission on Monday night.

"I still think Novak [Djokovic] is the favorite for the title coming in here," Federer told reporters. "He's the defending champion, he's probably won more hard court titles than anyone in the last few years and he also beat me here in the last two years."

Djokovic won the title in 2011, but it was his first career title at Flushing Meadows, and Federer remains a top contender for the title.

The comments by Federer didn't include one prominent name: Rafael Nadal. The Spaniard won the U.S. Open in 2010, but is not participating in the 2012 tournament due to injuries. Federer may not have made such a grand statement about Djokovic if Nadal was participating in the grand slam.

Federer breezed through the first round on Monday. He defeated left-handed American Donald Young, 6-3 6-2 6-4. It was a typical victory for the veteran Swiss star, as Federer put his full array off well-placed shots on display on a humid night in Queens.

"I think it was a good start in difficult conditions," Federer said. "He was a talented opponent and I'd never played him before but it was good."

Federer faces Bjorn Phau of Germany in the second round.