Tennis: Roger Federer gets lift in bid to regain world No. 1 ranking

16-time Grand Slam champion Rafael Nadal told his Facebook followers he was skipping the Oct 21-29 tournament owing to a knee injury.
16-time Grand Slam champion Rafael Nadal told his Facebook followers he was skipping the Oct 21-29 tournament owing to a knee injury. PHOTO: REUTERS

Knee pain puts top-ranked Nadal out of Swiss Indoors, battle set to culminate at ATP Finals

MADRID • Rafael Nadal has announced that he will miss next week's Swiss Indoors tournament in Basel, boosting arch-rival Roger Federer's dream of ending the season as world No. 1.

The 16-time Grand Slam champion told his Facebook followers he was skipping the Oct 21-29 tournament owing to a knee injury.

"I sadly announce that I have to pull out of the Swiss Indoors Basel, after seeing my doctor in Spain," the world No. 1 wrote.

"I am suffering from an over-stressing of the knee and the problems were already present at the tournament in Shanghai which now forces me to take time off on advice of my doctor.

"After two great weeks in China, with the title in Beijing and the final in Shanghai it is time for some rest.

"I want to send a special message to the many tennis fans in Switzerland which have always showed great support and respect also on my matches with Roger. Hope to see you next year."

Federer beat the Spaniard at the Shanghai Masters on Sunday to close the gap at the top of the ATP rankings.

World No. 2 Federer has closed to within 1,960 points of Nadal, with 500 on offer in Basel, followed by the indoor tournament at Bercy in Paris (1,000 points) and the end-of-season ATP Finals in London.

Their battle for the year-end top spot could go down to the wire with the winner of the ATP Finals, which will be held from Nov 12 to 19, receiving up to 1,500 points.

The last time Federer was at world No. 1 was way back in 2012. However, the Swiss maestro still holds the record of being the top-ranked player for a total of 302 weeks - American legend Pete Sampras is second on 286.

Nadal, 31, is currently nine weeks into his reign, and has accumulated 150 weeks at the top.

Federer put on a masterclass to beat Nadal 6-4, 6-3 on Sunday, the 36-year-old lifting his sixth trophy this season and underlining a turnaround in fortunes against his long-time nemesis.

He ended a sequence of five straight defeats at Basel last year, before winning their gripping Australian Open final in January. The rivals have also enjoyed a resurgence in their careers this campaign, splitting the four Grand Slams between them.

AGENCE FRANCE-PRESSE, REUTERS

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on October 19, 2017, with the headline 'Federer gets lift in no. 1 bid'. Print Edition | Subscribe