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Swiss Superstar Roger Federer, Still In Contention Against Nadal For Year-End No. 1 On The ATP Tennis World Tour

Switzerland’s Roger Federer in action during his first round match against USA’s Frances Tiafoe at the Swiss Indoors tennis tournament in Basel, Switzerland, 24 October 2017. EPA-EFE/CHRISTIAN MERZ



Federer, still in contention against Nadal for year-end No. 1, wins Basel opener on Tuesday


By Ricky Dimon


With no more than three tournaments remaining on anyone’s schedule for the remainder of the 2017 tennis schedule, it’s crunch time in the race to the World Tour Finals and also in the battle for the year-end No. 1 ranking. The latter contest, of course, all comes down to Rafael Nadal and Roger Federer.


Although Nadal leads Federer by 1,960 points (10,465 to 8,505), the 36-year-old Swiss is still clearly in contention. Exactly 3,000 points are available to be had at this week’s Swiss Indoors Basel, next week’s Paris Masters, and next month in London. Federer is currently playing in Basel and is obviously slated to suit up for Paris and London. Nadal withdrew from Basel citing a knee issue but is expected to be ready for the final two tournaments.


The two all-time greats have dominated an otherwise injury-plagued 2017 ATP Tour campaign that has seen Novak Djokovic, Andy Murray, Stan Wawrinka, Kei Nishikori, and Milos Raonic–among others–succumb to significant injuries. All five are out for the year and will not make repeat appearances at the O2 Arena.


Rafael Nadal of Spain in action during his men’s singles final match against Nick Kyrgios of Australia at the China Open tennis tournament in Beijing, China, 08 October 2017. EPA-EFE/WU HONG

No one other than Nadal and Federer owns more than 4,400 points in this season. After all, Nadal and Federer have been too good to share the wealth. They split the four Grand Slams at two titles apiece, with Nadal triumphing at Roland Garros and the U.S. Open while Federer was the last man standing at the Australian Open and Wimbledon. Nadal has also captured Masters 1000 titles in Monte-Carlo and Madrid in addition to 500-point victories in Barcelona and Beijing. Federer’s title haul also includes 1000-pointers in Indian Wells, Miami, and Shanghai plus a 500-pointer in Halle. So how is Nadal so far ahead? Well, he finished runner-up at the Australian Open and cleaned up this spring while his rival skipped the entire clay-court swing.


Although Nadal plans to return for Paris, he may not be 100 percent and it has never been one of his best events. The 16-time major champion has not reached the final since his first appearance at the tournament in 2007 and he last advanced to the semis in 2013. Nadal has also never won the World Tour Finals, whereas Federer is 52-12 lifetime at the year-end championship with six titles.


“My first qualification was back in 2002, so a long, long time ago,” Federer reflected. “I’ve always played very well there and I have a great record. I won it twice in London, twice in Shanghai, and twice in Houston, so I’d love to win again. It’s nice to know that you’re already qualified; it settles the nerves a little bit here at the indoor season at the end of the season. It would be an amazing finish to the season, but I know other players have the same idea, so we’ll see what happens.”


Federer kept himself in contention for year-end No. 1 by treating the home Swiss crowd to a 6-1, 6-3 rout of Frances Tiafoe on Tuesday.


Ricky contributes to 10sballs.com and also maintains his own tennis website, The Grandstand. You can follow him on twitter at @Dimonator.

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