Roger Federer’s announcement that he has withdrawn from next week’s Cincinnati Masters has brought good news for old foe Rafael Nadal.
The Majorcan will take over from Andy Murray as world number one in the updated rankings list being published next Monday morning.
Federer was the only player who could have denied Nadal taking the top spot in the rankings from Murray.
The Swiss was injured in Sunday’s Rogers Cup final defeat by Alexander Zverev in Montreal and has now confirmed that setback will be enough to stop him competing in Cincinnati.
Murray pulled out of Cincinnati last week as he continues to recover from a hip problem with one eye on the season’s final Grand Slam, the US Open in New York City, in a fortnight.
“I am very sorry to pull out,” said the world number three Federer.
“Cincinnati has some of the best fans in the world and I am sorry I will miss them.
“Unfortunately, I tweaked my back in Montreal and I need to rest this week.”
The reigning French Open champion Nadal returns to the top of the rankings for the first time since July 2014, despite going out of the Rogers Cup in the last 16 against wildcard Denis Shapovalov.
Alongside Federer and Murray, fellow top-10 players Kei Nishikori and Marin Cilic have withdrawn from Cincinnati, while Novak Djokovic and Stan Wawrinka have already confirmed they are going to miss the remainder of the 2017 season with injury problems.
Federer is 2.10 to win the US Open at Flushing Meadows, with Nadal 3.25 and Murray 7.00.