NOVAK DJOKOVIC HAS dismissed suggestions he has received the ‘perfect draw’ at the US Open, starting Monday.
World number two Djokovic will not have to face either Roger Federer or Andy Murray, who are on the opposite half of the draw, until the final should he progress that far.
With Rafael Nadal absent due to a knee injury, Spanish fourth seed David Ferrer is the next highest seed and could face Djokovic in the semi-finals.
Defending champion Djokovic said he was staying focused, eager to avoid an early upset at Flushing Meadows.
“I don’t think there is a perfect draw, to be honest with you. The draw is something that you cannot affect. It’s a question of luck, obviously,” he said.
“There are 128 players here who have plenty of motivation to perform their best in the grand slam, the last major of the year, so I’m sure that they want to cause some upsets in the opening round.
“I’m truly taking one step at a time. I had good and bad draws in the past, but as I said, it’s something I cannot affect, so I’m not calculating or predicting anything.
“I’m just trying to focus on my game, which is the most important thing.”
Djokovic faces Italian Paolo Lorenzi in the first round, a player he dropped just two games against at the Australian Open this year.
The 25-year-old believes the gap between the top four and the rest is closing, highlighting Czech Lukas Rosol’s shock win over Nadal in the Wimbledon second round as an example.
“The difference I guess between the top players and the rest is that ability to understand the pressure and accept the challenge and know what to play in the right moments,” Djokovic said.
“But other than that, there is not much difference. They’re fantastic players nowadays on the tour who can play equally well as the top guys.”
Djokovic, a five-time grand slam winner, said he was better prepared for the tournament than last year.
“I do feel physically stronger and very prepared than I did last year. Mentally I had some ups and downs throughout the season, but I think that was maybe expected in a way,” he said.
“Coming into US Open, it was very important for me to get into some hardcourt matches. Hard court is my most preferred surface, so I really look forward to the start of this major.”