The 2017 Shanghai Rolex Masters is now done and dusted having Roger Federer as the men's contest winner. A titlist for a second time in Shanghai and for the first time since 2013, Roger Federer perfectly dialed in to crush Rafael Nadal fourth time this season and fifth time in a row. Playing his first ATP event since that tragic loss at 2017 US Open, Federer traveled to Shanghai with a huge pack of expectations in his bag. As it turned out, he had put in a flawless tennis display, especially when it mattered the most. For those stats addicts, this win means that at least theoretically he is still alive and well in that world No.

1 race. But, even with the loss, Nadal is still sitting comfortably at the summit given Federer almost no room for wrong steps in the next few weeks.

Roger Federer's schedule may include an uncharacteristic stop at Paris Bercy

After Shanghai, there is one more Masters 1000 stop on the ATP's radar. Played in indoor condition at Paris Bercy, France, that's usually a target outside of Federer's range. Traditionally, he goes for Basel, an ATP 500 in his hometown but this time it may not be enough to have a shot to surpass Nadal. A place where he only prevailed once in the past (beating Jo-Wilfried Tsonga back in 2011), Federer is facing a busy schedule. To keep the No. 1 hopes alive he must play all three events Basel, Paris and ATP Finals right in a row.

The existent gap between hi and Nadal has multiple causes too. During the summer swing on hard, Federer hasn't encountered the right amount of success. A runner-up in Montreal, he was later forced to skip Cincinnati due to a back-related injury. And that little flaw hampered his US Open campaign too where it became obvious that he is not fully fit.

On the other side, Rafael Nadal went wild building up a 16-matches winning streak on hard. That title at US Open may go down as the one factor that killed off Federer's bid. 2000 ranking points are weighing a lot in this equation.

World No. 1 aspirations without dirt on the shoes is nearly impossible

Having the concept of longevity buried deep in his mind as a vital part of the future strategy, Roger Federer decided to skip the entire clay court festival of 2017.

As it turned out, it was an inspired decision to give his body a rest after those flashy first three months of the season. He came back rejuvenated to dominate the grass court swing culminating with his eighth title at Wimbledon. But the trade-off he has made translated into several months of drought right in the middle of the season. That has also impacted the way ranking stands at the moment.