Losing in the fourth round at Wimbledon to Gilles Muller must have been a pretty hard rock to swallow for Rafael Nadal. Even so, the 31-year-old tennis star has a huge chance next week in Montreal as the gates for the world No. 1 spot are wide open especially after Andy Murray's decision to withdraw from the tournament. As in Federer's case, Nadal is having a surreal season in 2017 being so dominant on clay while on hard he reached three ATP finals, of all sizes. First, it was the Australian Open, then it followed Acapulco only to finish as a runner-up in Miami.

Two of those finals were lost over Roger Federer while the third one had Sam Querrey outplaying Nadal.

Rafael Nadal set to be the first seed at Rogers Cup

With Andy Murray out of the contest, Rafael Nadal will be given the No. 1 seed status which is an important part of the equation. With Roger Federer coming in the second slot it means that a Nadal vs Federer match-up will take place if only both will reach the final. It would be the fourth Fedal of the season and by far a worth-watching encounter. But, there is plenty of roads to cover until the final act will happen.

For Nadal, the Canadian Masters comes with another possible prize too as he can surpass Murray in the ATP rankings if he reaches the semis.

Nadal and Federer are the biggest stars of this tournament even so there might be some infiltrators as Milos Raonic, Dominic Thiem or Alexander Zverev are expected to make their moves. 2014 Rogers Cup champion Jo-Wilfried Tsonga will also be part of the action.

Despite having some huge numbers this season, Nadal seems to have developed a soft spot when it comes to his direct clashes with Federer.

The Swiss player has won all their four last meetings bringing a certain balance in their head to head dispute. Still, Nadal leads Federer by 23-14 but his last success over Roger occurred back in January 2014 in the semis of the Australian Open.

Nadal as the world No. 1 player

By the end of next week, the ATP professional tour is likely to have another leader.

Throughout his career, Rafael Nadal made it on three different occasions to the summit spending a total of 141 weeks there. It's extraordinary how he found out those resources needed for another resurgence. Reaching the final of the 2017 Australian Open was the sign showing that he is not done yet despite struggling with multiple injuries over the past few years. So far,t in 2017 he has been at his peak with few exceptions. Playing with no injury attached weighed enormously. And it seems that he is ready to take the stings in his own hands even so Federer won't step away from a fight.