The men's tennis has been revolving around Rafael Nadal and Roger Federer for the most part of the year. At some point, it seemed that Alexander Zverev may be the one to break off the monopoly but the German's appetite for success has been fading away recently. In these circumstances, Nadal and Federer had another blockbuster of their own last Sunday in the Shanghai Rolex Masters' final. Once again, an inspired Roger Federer cruised past Rafael Nadal for the fourth time this season. It is an unprecedented record for the Swiss who is seeking to close the gap on that world No.

1 year-end ranking. Now, the news that Nadal decided to skip Basel to give his knee extended time to recover stirs things up even more. Av16 match winning streak on the hard took its toll as Nadal's late surge in the US Open, Beijing and Shanghai almost secured his seat.

Nadal off the stage in Basel, Roger Federer to become the No. 1 seed

Although people were hoping for another Fedal matchup, it won't be the case soon. With Rafael Nadal stepping off the stage, the 36-year-old Swiss player will replace him as the highest seed in the main draw. A potential win in Basel would put Federer a bit under 1500 points distance from Nadal, increasing his chances to surpass the Spaniard at the Nitto ATP Finals in London.

Moreover, it would be Federer's eighth title in his hometown and the first one since 2015. That final from two years ago stands as a turning point of one of the biggest rivalries in tennis history. Two years ago, Federer won in three sets over Nadal.

Although Federer indicated that he may not travel to Paris to attend the last Masters 1000 event of the season, a potential win in Basel may force him to adjust his strategy.

After all, if he wins the next two events (Basel and Paris) and Nadal suffers an early-exit at Paris Bercy the gap will become non-existent which will increase the pressure on both during the Nitto ATP Finals.

Nadal needed a break after an unexpected surge on hard

The hardcourt season didn't start well for the Spaniard. As a matter of fact, up until his US Open run, he seemed a bit deflated after that once-again majestic clay court swing.

Nothing seemed to announce the storm that was about to come with the Spaniard winning back-to-back titles at the US Open and Beijing and then reaching the final in Shanghai.

Seeing him wearing a white tape under that right knee for the first time after such a long time, brings back unpleasant memories from the past. But, for a guy who used to suffer from tendinitis in his both knees, it's no surprise at all. A hard surface will always cause knee issues especially after playing an extended schedule on it.