Yet making a case for any other man in the draw is nearly impossible.
Andy Murray and Kei Nishikori had to pull out of the Australian Open because of injuries and Stan Wawrinka's participation in Melbourne is shaky at best at the moment after he withdrew from the pre-Open Tiebreak Tens where Novak Djokovic and Rafael Nadal made their first appearances for the season. Winning the ATP Tour final in London past year should give him more belief in his abilities to battle the likes of Nadal, Federer, and Djokovic to win a first Grand Slam title.
Despite being a year older Federer has higher expectations this year and says his build-up has been "perfect".
"Whenever I get asked that question, it always comes across in really kind of an nearly negative way instead of acknowledging how many great players we have", Johanna Konta, who reached the Wimbledon semifinals a year ago, said Saturday.
'Last year was more of a "let's see what happens" kind of tournament, maybe similar to what Novak or Stan [Wawrinka] or others are going through this year, ' said the 19-time Grand Slam victor. Considering his age and that he had never had such a long time away from the game owing to injury, it was probably the first time in a decade and a half that no one gave him a realistic chance of being in contention for a non-clay major.
The 30-year-old Scot even found time to attend a meeting of the ATP player council, of which he is a member, on Friday night at a city hotel.
The 37-year-old Venus Williams arrives here as the closest thing to a defending champion, as it was she who was defeated by her already pregnant sister, Serena, in last year's final. "Having no expectations was so nice after all these years always having expectations".
"Whenever I get asked that question, it always comes across in really kind of an nearly negative way instead of acknowledging how many great players we have", Johanna Konta, who reached the semifinals of Wimbledon past year, said in her pre-tournament news conference Saturday.
'I feel like maybe somebody like a Rafa, with the year that he's had, and Novak, with the six titles he's had here, even if it's unknown how he's feeling, they could very well be the favourites too'.
Last year, Federer trumped great rival Rafael Nadal in a five set thriller at the Melbourne Park and won his fifth title at Australia.
Federer added: "I think he's incredibly talented". I can't believe it's been a year, but it's okay.
"I haven't been spending too much time around the courts".
As for winning big tennis tournaments, Federer manages still, at 36, to combine the laid-back mien of a contented father of four and the relentless passion of a man who has been a champion for most of his career.
If there is to be a victor outside the top guns in Melbourne, those who look most likely are Bulgarian Dimitrov, third in the rankings behind Nadal and Federer, Germany's Alexander Zverev and tempestuous Australian Nick Kyrgios.
The Australian Open takes place from 15-28 January. "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". Do I enjoy it more now?
The six-times champion, who last played competitively at Wimbledon in July, says he is still managing the injury, which has caused him to abbreviate his service action.
"I mean, that was extremely cool". It's like a little boy in the candy store. That was okay. Now it's different. As I mentioned previously, Djokovic in any semblance of his best level, should be a heavy favourite to progress, but that's a big if. I'm expected to win a lot of matches. "I feel myself more or less playing well", he said, which should strike a chord of fear in the hearts of his opponents.