ESPN's Peter Bodo wrote an article on Monday about Roger Federer, Rafael Nadal, and the "race for No. 1" for the balance of the 2017 season. Bodo makes a fair point that a lot of tennis fans aren't overly aware of tennis' schedule in the fall, with that circumstance attributable to the fact that the Grand Slam season is over. However, with his point that there is a race for No. 1 still to be settled on the ATP Tour, there actually doesn't appear to be much of a race for the balance of the season. The result from the 2017 US Open has made Nadal an enormous favorite to be No. 1 at season's end.

No third candidate for No. 1

Looking at the rankings, the 'race' is entirely a two-horse race. Federer trails Nadal by 1860 ranking points and neither player has any points to defend for the balance of the year, a pertinent point that Bodo makes. That means that there is no need to adjust the ranking points from last season: it's about positive points for the balance of this season with Federer needing to outscore Nadal by 1861 points to overtake him in the tour's rankings.

How Federer could possibly do that isn't difficult to figure out. If Federer wins Shanghai, Basel, Paris, and the ATP World Tour Finals, then he'd stand a chance of overtaking top spot. Despite reduced post-Wimbledon form, Federer is capable of winning those tournaments.

However, Federer probably won't be in Paris, as Bodo points out that "Neither man has entered the rankings-points rich Paris Masters." So that would leave the Swiss Maestro a balance of Shanghai, Basel, and the tour finals to attack Nadal's lead with. If Federer won all three of those tournaments and Nadal ended his season without playing another match, then the Swiss player would be No. 1.

However, think for a second about how unlikely both of those scenarios are.

Nadal's edge is enormous

Not only does Nadal have a lead over Federer that is significant, but Nadal is also the one playing a heavier schedule for the balance of the year. Both players are in the no-ranking-point Laver Cup next week. After that, Nadal will be in the tournaments that Federer is expected to be in: Shanghai, Basel, and the tour finals.

Furthermore, Nadal is expected in the China Open, a 500-series event. In short, Federer has to make up an 1860-point deficit in fewer tournaments. The deficit would not be easy to overcome, even if Federer was the one expected to play in a larger number of events.

Regarding the balance of the season, Bodo claims that "We might have one or two more Federer-Nadal clashes -- one of them on Federer's home turf in the Basel ATP 500." If you think about the implications involved with that statement, it further suggests that the race for No. 1 is not interesting at all. After all, if Federer and Nadal met in two more tournaments, it would only be in tournament finals. That's because they are the top-two players in the world and, accordingly, they will be opposing in any draws that they both enter.

If a healthy Federer is going to catch Nadal, without the Spaniard picking up an injury, then Fed would need Nadal to go out early in draws - not make tournament finals.

If Federer beats Nadal in championship matches, that wouldn't give the Swiss enough relative ranking points compared to the Spaniard to overcome the big deficit. The difference in Basel between first and second is just 200 points. In Shanghai, it's 400 points. That doesn't add up fast enough to eliminate a 1860-point deficit before season's end.

Nadal's clay-court results make all the difference

Nadal and Federer each have two Grand Slam titles this season. Both have additional credentials on top of those titles. However, Nadal didn't take the clay-court season off, and that's what makes him the best player right now.

On the injury front, we'll probably find out Nadal's post-US Open playing status soon. He's in the Laver Cup, and if anything is bugging him after Flushing Meadows, expect an announcement in the days ahead. If he stays healthy for the balance of the season, Federer's chances of catching Nadal are very slim. After all, a healthy Nadal doesn't go out early too often, and that's what Federer would need to see happen while performing well himself.

If Nadal does have an undisclosed injury the Laver Cup may reveal that. In that case, Federer's chances of getting to No. 1 improve drastically. But aside from injury news, there is no intrigue with the year-end World No. 1 ranking race right now: Nadal looks like a slam dunk. Bodo headlined "Nadal, Federer race for No. 1 makes this fall must-watch tennis." The way it actually looks is that tennis fans will have to watch for other reasons.