This time last year Roger Federer was coming to the end of an idyllic break, spending quality time with his family and hiking in his beloved Swiss mountains.
He was soon to get back into serious training, a long spell of which has paid off with spectacular results that, incredibly, sees him arrive at the bustle of the US Open with the chance of winning a third Grand Slam of 2017 and his chances boosted by the withdrawal of Andy Murray on Saturday night.
As he did not even enter the French Open, that would represent a 100 per cent record, something that seemed unthinkable when he began his season in Australia.
Yet at 36 it is hardly surprising that Federer is not immune to the spate of injuries that has swept across the ATP Tour since Wimbledon.
It is usually October that sees an earnest debate within the sport about the physical toll the circuit takes, but this year it has been brought forward two months.
Federer, who looked slightly laboured at the Canadian Open earlier this month and then pulled out of Cincinnati with a stiff back, is among what is a majority of top players with fitness concerns.
On Saturday night, Federer struck an upbeat tone: ‘I have been on the practice courts since last week. I have been playing practice sets the last few days, and I’m really happy how I’m feeling,’ he said.