Roger Federer has decided not to compete in Cincinnati at the Western&Southern Open. What we all saw the other night in the Rogers Cup final especially in the second set turned out to be a back injury that prevented the Swiss champion to play at his best. It's a tough decision given the tremendous success he has had in the past at this particular event. It's the only Masters 1000 he has managed to win on seven different occasions with the last triumph occurring back in 2015 when he defeated Novak Djokovic to deny the Serb his first title in Ohio.

Now, with Federer out of the equation, one thing is certain entering this week; Rafael Nadal will be the new world No. 1 next Monday when the ranking will be updated with Cincinnati results. There is no other outcome, but Nadal could use this week, and especially this lighter main draw to put some distance between him and Federer who will bounce back probably aiming a deep run at the US Open.

Cincinnati and its long list of absences

It may not be a surprise that Roger Federer decided to skip this ATP event, but there is a dangerous trend developing in the professional tennis. Some blame the overloaded schedule especially the mid-part of it when the clay court season and the grass happen so fast.

It's about a month between French Open final and Wimbledon last act.

Men's tennis has quite a problem now as six out of top 10 players are out due to various health issues. Wawrinka and Djokovic were the first to pay the price, then it followed Marin Cilic ( the defending champion in Cincinnati and 2017 Wimbledon runner-up), Andy Murray and his lingering hip injury.

Kei Nishikori withdrew the other day while Federer made his decision earlier today. For the 36-year-old it may not be a tragedy given the things he has already achieved so far in 2017. Winning two Grand Slam titles, two Masters 1000 and an ATP 500 event made him look like in his prime.

Nadal and Zverev are likely to share the stage

Rafael Nadal will step on the summit of the ATP ranking for the fourth time throughout his career. After having a three years sabbatical, he is back at the top. At 31 years of age, he might not be done yet, and he is a name to be considered for 2017 US Open men's singles title. But, he won't be alone, not even in Cincinnati as Alexander Zverev would love to improve his winning streak by making another exceptional run. Initially, he shared the same half of the draw with Federer, but once the Swiss player decided not to play, things seem to work in Zverev's favor. Zverev could face Nadal only in the final, and the young German would want some revenge after losing in the third round of the Australian Open to Nadal.