Roger Federer has pulled out of the upcoming Masters event in Cincinnati, Ohio which would mean Rafael Nadal will replace Andy Murray at the top of the rankings. Federer had reached the final of Montreal Masters where he lost to Alexander Zverev for his third straight defeat in the final of the Canadian tournament. With the win, Zverev won his second Masters event of the year and stopped Federer’s unbeaten streak of 16 matches. It was also Federer’s first defeat in Grand Slam and Masters events and just third in the year. “I tweaked my back in Montreal and need to rest. I always enjoy playing here. Cincinnati has some of the best fans in the world and I am sorry I will miss them,” said Federer in pulling out of Cincinnati.
In the latest rankings issued on Monday, Murray, who also pulled out of Cincinnati with a hip injury, stood top with 7750 points while Nadal stood second at 7555 points and Federer was third with 7145 points.
Nadal returns to World No 1 for the first time since June 23, 2014 and despite numerous injuries to his knee, has never dropped out of the top 10 in the ATP rankings. This week, Nadal opens in Ohio with a bye before facing the winner of Richard Gasquet and qualifier John-Patrick Smith.
The Spaniard, like Federer, had come into the season on the back of injury troubles in 2016 and both turned the clock with splendid display with the likes of Murray and Novak Djokovic losing out due to poor form and multiple injuries. Nadal lost out to Federer thrice this season – pre-quarters in Indian Wells and finals of Australian Open and Miami. But he enjoyed a perfect clay season with three straight tournament wins in Monte Carlo, Barcelona and Madrid before rounding off the red dirt season to win the French Open. Since then he’s played just two tournaments – stunned by Gilles Muller in the fourth round at Wimbledon and last week by Canadian youngster Denis Shapovalov.