Roger Federer has withdrawn from the Western & Southern Open in Cincinnati due to a back problem, which means Rafael Nadal will become the new world No. 1 when the new rankings are released on Monday August 21.
Federer, who lost to Alexander Zverev 6-3, 6-4 in the Montreal final on Sunday, had hinted he was suffering from various aches in his body, as a result of the break he took between Wimbledon and Canada.
“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, a seven-time champion at the event.
As a result of his withdrawal, Nadal will return to the top of the rankings for the first time since July 2014, thanks to a stellar 2017, in which he won a 10th Roland Garros title along with three other trophies.
Since he first reached the top spot in August 2008, Nadal has spent three stints at No. 1 amounting to a total of 141 weeks.
Federer had a chance to return to No. 1 for the first time since November 2012 had he contested Cincinnati. He can still catch Nadal over the next few months in a bid to end the year at the summit.
The 36-year-old will be bidding for a third Grand Slam title of the season, and 20th overall, at the US Open, which commences August 28.
Federer joins a long list of high-profile absentees from the Cincinnati draw. Others who have pulled out include last year’s finalists Marin Cilic and Andy Murray, along with Novak Djokovic, Stan Wawrinka and Kei Nishikori.
Nadal is the only top-six players in the draw.
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