Roger Federer played down Andy Murray's elevation to the world number two ranking on Monday, saying the Scot would merely be one of many contenders for his US Open title next month.
The world number one steps up his preparations at the Cincinnati Masters this week, looking to hone his game before he bids to win his sixth consecutive US Open title and claim a record 16th Grand Slam crown.
Murray lost to Federer in the final in New York last year but the Swiss said there are plenty of other players who could be just as dangerous.
"If you look at last week's draw [in Montreal], so many guys are very equal, I think, right now," Federer told reporters in Cincinnati.
"The final was close, for instance. I think there are many guys who are beating each other right now so it's quite an interesting dynamic.
"We all know Rafa [Nadal] was injured, so he couldn't put in the fight he wished to concerning the rankings.
"Now he's back, I'm back playing again after a few weeks. Everybody seems healthy again, and that can only be a good thing for the rest of the season. I'm sure Nadal will bounce back strong if he's really fit and healthy."
Murray,who won the Montreal Masters on Sunday, leapfrogged Nadal to become the first Briton to be ranked number two.
Federer admitted that the 22-year-old has become a force on hard courts through his results in the past 12months.
"I think [Murray]announced himself when he won here last year," Federer said.
"Fromthen on he had an unbelievable run, especially on the hard courts. He's almost won everything there is to win... he's done really well so it doesn't come as a surprise to many people now."
In Federer's first event since winning Wimbledon and since wife Mirka gave birth to twin girls last month, he was beaten in the quarter-finals in Montreal by Frenchman Jo-Wilfried Tsonga having led 5-1in the final set.
Nevertheless, the 28-year-oldsaid he is happy with his game, even if he will not be putting too much pressure on himself to do well this week.
"It would be good [to do well],but it's not crucial," he said.
"I'mgoing to try everything to have a good tournament here. This tournament has been tricky for me. Either I won or I lost early. I hope it's one of those years where I can go all the way again.
"Ifeel my game is good enough to do really well here. Then again, I still have to do little adjustments playing on hard courts again. I'm very excited to be [heading] back to New York."