Seven-time champ Roger Federer withdraws from Western & Southern Open

Rafael Nadal was thrilled to learn he would return to World No. 1 for the first time in three years but sorry it came because Roger Federer withdrew from the Cincinnati Masters tournament.

Third-ranked Federer said that he injured his back at the ATP tournament in Montreal, where he lost in Sunday's final to Germany's Alexander Zverev in a key hard- court tune-up for the US Open. The withdrawal by Federer assures Nadal will be top of the rankings when they are issued on August 21.

Nadal has spent 141 weeks at the top spot but hasn't been No. 1 since 6 July 2014.

Rodger Federer withdrawal adds to a host of household names including Andy Murray, Novak Djokovic and Stan Wawrinka that will miss the Cincinnati Masters due to injuries.

Both Zverev and Austria's Dominic Thiem, who is 23, have separated themselves from the younger generation and have established themselves as top-10 players ready to challenge the top guns.

"I've always loved playing here".

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Wimbledon champion Roger Federer has withdrawn from the Western & Southern Open, which he has won seven times.

"Obviously, it's bad news for the (Cincinnati) event that Roger is not playing".

The 20-year-old German used his booming serve to overpower Federer 6-3, 6-4 Sunday as the Swiss superstar never got a chance to get into the match. At the end of 2016, Nadal was ranked No. 9, while Federer was ranked No. 16, with many wondering if the two legends may have lost a step.

Entering the Rogers Cup in Montreal, Canada, no player had a brighter spotlight on them than Rafael Nadal. It's part of our sport. "I think everything is going pretty natural. That's the most important thing for me now". It's very tough to come back and be number one. I really hope I don't face 7-6 in the first round here again even though it's kind of a good-luck charm.

"We'll have to wait and see now how I feel in the next couple of days".

Federer played down his physical problems, most likely to avoid detracting from Zverev's achievement, but the back tweak he suffered was sufficient for him to choose to sit-out the final event on his schedule before the US Open, which starts on August 28. "And Dominic is right there too", Nadal said, declining to offer either advice. "You need to do your own way and experience it for yourself".

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