Rafael Nadal has a 1960-point lead over Roger Federer at the top of the world ranking but that according to the Spaniard's long-time coach and uncle Toni Nadal may not be enough to secure the much coveted year-end number one ranking.

The 31-year-old strengthened his position with his win at the recently concluded US Open when Federer, who is defending no points until the end of the season, lost in the quarter-finals.

Nadal is only defending 100 points at the Shanghai Masters until the end of the season and is scheduled to play five events including the year-end ATP Masters Finals in London. Federer, on the other hand, is playing four events but will have enough opportunity to catch his long-time rival in the race for number one.

There are 4500 and 4000 points up for grabs respectively and uncle Toni believes that it will be a close race until the final week of the season between the two legends of the current era. Nadal's coach believes that Federer is at an advantage as the upcoming events are on hard courts which suit the Swiss ace more than the Spaniard.

However, Nadal has shown that he can play at a high level even on hard courts this season and his uncle reckons that he can do well despite fast nature of the surface favouring Federer.

"He has a lead of almost 2,000 points," Toni Nadal said, as quoted by the Metro. "We will see what happens at the end of the year, though, with tournaments that usually favour Federer."

"At indoor hard-court tournaments, like Basel, Paris or the Nitto ATP Finals, Federer has the advantage."

"But I think that Rafael's level is high enough to do well in those events," he explained.

The 16-time men's singles Grand Slam champions long-time coach also recently backed his nephew to catch Federer's record of 19 major titles before the end of his career.

Rafael Nadal
Rafael Nadal and Roger Federer have faced each other three times in 2017 with the latter winning on all occasionsGetty