I was probably going to lose at some stage, the quarter-finals or the semi-finals at best because I would just run into a red-hot Djokovic, Murray or Nadal and my game wasn't going to be good enough. But now it's just my tennis bag.
"I appreciate that. I'm grateful and flattered that people see me as one of the favourites", he said.
While Melbourne Park maestro Djokovic will bid for a record seventh Australian Open title, those fans hoping for a shake-up of the establishment may look to 20-year-old Alexander Zverev after his stellar 2017.
"Even if it's 100% healed, after six months of no competition, you never know how you're going to react". Battling illness, the Argentinian came back from the dead against Dominic Thiem before shocking Roger Federer and went on to finish the season very strongly.
The 2014 winner only made the final decision to play after completing a practice set on Saturday.
The six-times champion, who last played competitively at Wimbledon in July, withdrew from the Mubadala exhibition tournament in December citing his elbow injury. The duo picked up a total of 13 titles between them and rolled back the years as the new generation failed to have an impact. I hope I'm fully recovered and 100 percent fit when Laver Cup comes around. Not trying to sound cocky or anything, but I've always said that I've always been working hard physically, I'm always trying to improve the performance at the grand slams.
Back on 14 is Pete Sampras, who dominated the sport before Federer burst onto the scene by winning Wimbledon in 2003.
Nadal almost claimed a second Australian Open title last year, only to be edged by Roger Federer in a thrilling final.
The 12-time major champion revealed his elbow is not 100 per cent but he is "fine and adequate" to play at Melbourne Park, where he will face Donald Young in the first round.
Nadal's uncle Toni Nadal has been with the Spanish ever since he began to play tennis but this Australian Open will be slightly different.
"The knee is getting way better".
"He won a couple Grand Slams".
However, 16-time Grand Slam Champion is positive ahead of the Australian Open and is rearing to go and is motivated ahead of the tournament. Both were said and thought to be over the hill but at the 2017 Australian Open, they showed [they met in the final] that they were not ready to abdicate their thrones.
"I mean, he's (Federer's) a great example of someone that manages to take care of himself, knows how to prepare well and peak at the right time".