World number one Roger Federer will begin his quest for his fifth Western & Southern Open title in Cincinnati as the top seeded player of the men’s singles draw.
The Swiss Maestro, who has received a bye in the opening round, will start off against the winner of Finland’s Jarkko Nieminen and Alex Bogomolov Jr. of Russia in the second round.
Federer retained his top ranking even after losing to Great Britain’s Andy Murray in the final of London Olympics. He would have been overtaken by Novak Djokovic had the Serbian finished one position better than him but that did not happen.
The Swiss star pulled out of the ongoing Rogers Cup in order to take a short break and recharge his batteries after a long stretch of tournaments. Federer will be favourite to win the Western & Southern Open crown as he would be fresher than all of his competitors. The 17-time Grand Slam champion, who celebrated his 31st birthday this week, won this title in 2005, 2007 and 2009-10.
Federer’s closest rival would be second seed Djokovic, who is currently featuring at the Rogers Cup in Toronto. The Serb will play French player Richard Gasquet of France in the final on Sunday and then head straight to Cincinnati to take part in this ATP World Tour Masters 1000 event.
Rafael Nadal has already pulled out of the event due to his prevailing knee injury. This is the third straight top level tournament from which the Spaniard has withdrawn and chances are looking bleak that he would be able to regain his full fitness before the US Open.
Murray, who withdrew from his third round match against Milos Raonic at the Rogers Cup due to knee injury, is the third seed at Western & Southern Open. The Brit tweaked his knee during his second round match in Toronto. He will be defending his title in Cincinnati as he had won here last year.
Spain’s David Ferrer will be the fourth seed but his compatriots Fernando Verdasco and Nicolas Almagro have pulled out of the event.
Local hopes will be on American number one John Isner. Mardy Fish and Andy Roddick will be the other two home favorites.