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What Nadal & Federer Must Do To Seize No. 1 in Cincinnati

All-time greats will battle for No. 1

More than 10 years after they first battled for No. 1, Rafael Nadal and Roger Federer will play for the top Emirates ATP Ranking this coming week at the Western & Southern Open in Cincinnati. With current World No. 1 Andy Murray sidelined by injury, either Nadal or Federer will seize the top spot the Monday after Cincinnati.

World No. 3 Federer continued to gain ground on No. 2 Nadal by reaching the final of the Coupe Rogers in Montreal, although his defeat in the title match to Alexander Zverev means the Swiss will spot the Spaniard a 320-point lead heading into the seventh ATP World Tour Masters 1000 event of the season.

However, both players have destiny in their own hands. Should either win the title, they will also leave Cincinnati with the honour of being the new World No. 1.

NADAL & FEDERER's POTENTIAL POINTS IN CINCINNATI

Cincinnati

DNP

2R

3R

QF

SF

Final

Title

Nadal

7,465

7,475

7,555

7,645

7,825

8,065

8,465

Federer

7,145

7,155

7,235

7,325

7,505

7,745

8,145

Federer, who turned 36 in Montreal, will prioritise getting his body back into shape after admitting that ‘aches and pains’ hampered his performance during the Montreal final. “After vacation and practice, it's always a bit of a shock for the body,” he said.

While he would like to return to No. 1 after Cincinnati, Federer is thinking longer term at a record-equalling sixth year-end No. 1 finish. Asked in his post-match press conference whether he would prefer to get to No. 1 before the US Open or finish the season No. 1, Federer said: “Year-end if I could choose, yes. It would mean more. Then I could be on vacation with No. 1, not a bad thing (smiling). Pre-US Open all I have to do is talk to the press about it, how I would feel. Not as good (winking).”

Throughout his career, Federer has spent a record 302 weeks at No. 1. He last held top spot on 4 November, 2012 and was last year-end No. 1 in 2009.

Nadal has spent 141 weeks at No. 1 (seventh most weeks all-time) and last was at the pinnacle of the sport on 6 July, 2014. He has three times finished year-end No. 1, most recently in 2013.

Federer has won five titles this season, including a record eighth Wimbledon and ninth Halle title. He began the year by winning the Australian Open before claiming the ATP World Tour Masters 1000 'Sunshine Double' in Indian Wells and Miami.

Nadal has won four titles this year, including historic 10th titles at Roland Garros, Monte-Carlo and Barcelona. He has also reached three other finals, including the Australian Open and Miami, where Federer took the honours.

Both players receive first-round byes in Cincinnati. Top seed Nadal could face a tricky opener against Richard Gasquet. Second seed Federer will play the winner of Diego Schwartzman and Karen Khachanov first up and could meet his Montreal final conqueror Alexander Zverev in the semi-finals.