Roger Federer has all but conceded his battle with Rafael Nadal for the year-end number one ranking after withdrawing from the Paris Masters beginning on Monday (30 October) after capturing his seventh title of the season at the Swiss Indoors in Basel on Sunday.
The Swiss ace defeated Juan Martin del Potro 6-7, 6-4, 6-3 in two hours and 31 minutes to win for the eighth time in his hometown and close the gap to Nadal at the top of the world rankings to 1460-points. Federer dropped just two sets in his five matches, but admitted that it was a difficult game owing to the exertion during the course of the season.
The 36-year-old has faced the Argentine on four occasions this season and has lost just once, but that was in the quarter-finals of the US Open when the latter won in four sets. It was a close encounter again in Basel, and Federer admitted that it could have been anyone's game.
"I think we're both tired from a long season. Plus he's been playing four straight weeks now, very successful, so we tried to give it all we had," Federer said, as quoted on ATP's official site. "The crowd really enjoyed themselves and at the end there is always going to be a winner unfortunately in tennis. But I think we both can be very happy with the week today."
After initially suggesting that he will play in Paris, Federer had dropped hints that he could skip the penultimate event of the year during his run to the final in Basel. He went on to confirm his decision after his win over del Potro in order to be fit for the ATP Finals in London later next month.
The 19-time men's singles Grand Slam champion's decision to skip the event will see him drop out of the running to finish as the year-end number one. Nadal can confirm his place as 2017's top ranked player with one win at the Paris Masters.
The Spaniard, who skipped the event in Basel, confirmed recently that he was ready for Paris and is likely to wrap up the number one ranking before the ATP Finals in London. He currently leads Federer by 1460-points
"My body is asking for a break," the Swiss star said, as quoted on Fox Sports. "Basel takes a lot out of me emotionally. I had five matches in six days. I feel sorry and sad for Paris."
"I love to play at Bercy, it's a few times now that I've not played there. It's a tough one but they have to understand that it's for the cause of staying injury-free and healthy. I'd like to be fully fit for London (the World Tour Finals) and for 2018," he added.