Roger Federer
Roger Federer lost the Cincinnati Masters final to Novak Djokovic. In this picture, Federer of Switzerland reacts to a shot against Djokovic of Serbia in the mens final during Day 9 of the Western and Southern Open at the Lindner Family Tennis Center in Mason, Ohio, Aug. 19, 2018. Rob Carr/Getty Images

Roger Federer admitted he is still not at his best after taking a break following his exit in the quarter-finals at Wimbledon in July this year.

The Swiss ace chose to skip the Rogers Cup in Toronto before returning to action at the Cincinnati Masters last week. The 37-year-old made it to the final, but lost tamely to in-form Novak Djokovic in straight sets.

Federer admitted after the match that he was struggling with fatigue but is hoping that his form improves ahead of the US Open that begins on Aug. 27 in New York. The 20-time men’s singles Grand Slam champion has struggled for form in recent months with his last title coming at the Stuttgart Open at the beginning of June.

The Swiss tennis legend admits that Masters Series events are hard to play as every match is against a tough opponent. Speaking after his final against Djokovic on Sunday, Federer revealed that he will take a short breather before returning to the practice court as he begins preparation for the US Open.

He admitted that the difference in how the ball plays compared to Cincinnati could catch out more than a few players, but indicated that he could have an advantage in that department as he practiced in New York prior to the Masters Series event in Ohio last week.

“Something is still missing, but I may be able to play being more relaxed thanks to the matches I won here. The most important thing for me is that the serve works. I found the rhythm, I can have a good variety, both on first and second serve,” Federer said after his loss to Djokovic, as quoted on Tennis World USA. “The baseline game depends a lot on legs. I think this is the main difficulty in Masters 1000s: you meet the best players all days, and on the fifth match you end up being more tired than usual."

“I will reach New York and I will probably take rest until Tuesday because I have to recover a little. On Wednesday, I should be back practicing. I have to see how I adapt myself to the balls, here it was difficult for everyone to keep the ball in play,” the eight-time Wimbledon winner explained. “Before Cincinnati, I had already trained in New York; the ball was bouncing a lot, flying probably faster than here.”

Federer was the favorite to win the US Open in 2017, but a back injury during the Rogers Cup saw him fall in the quarter-finals as long-time rival Rafael Nadal went on to lift the trophy at Flushing Meadows.

In 2018, Federer again chose to skip the entire clay court season to focus on the major grass and hard court events later in the year. It has not yielded him the expected results having fallen short at Halle and Wimbledon.

And with Nadal winning the Rogers Cup with relative ease and Djokovic returning to his best at Cincinnati, the Swiss tennis star is no longer considered the favorite for the title at Flushing Meadows.