We take nothing away from the Rogers Cup champion, the surging Alexander Zverev.
But it was clear in the second set of Sunday’s final that opponent Roger Federer was hampered physically.
And Federer has not ruled out pulling out of Cincinnati next week. He is the No. 2 seed and has a small chance of returning to the No. 1 ranking.
After a first-round bye, the 36-year-old would face the winner of a match between Karen Khachanov of Russia and Diego Schwartzman of Argentina.
Had Federer won Montreal, he would have been far better positioned to take over the top spot that will be vacated by Andy Murray a week from tomorrow.
But with the defeat, Rafael Nadal’s road back to the top was eased considerably.
“I’ll travel to Cincinnati tonight, then take a decision in the next couple of days and see how I feel after five days of playing, if I’m ready to play in Cincy next week or not,” Federer said in his post match press conference.
“You know, felt all right all week. Had a bit of muscle pain, aches and pains here and there, just because it’s back on the match courts, on the hard courts. After vacation and practice, it’s always a bit of a shock for the body. We’ll have to wait and see now how I feel in the next couple of days.”
A lot at stake in Flushing
“Next couple days are important for me to take the decision on Cincinnati. Then looking ahead to the US Open, obviously I want to be in the best possible shape. Winning my third of the year, my 20th Grand Slam, would be completely insane,” Federer said. “I just hope I’m going to be 100 per cent ready when the moment arises.”
Another factor to consider is that the type of balls changes for the US Open. Federer alluded to it in his press conference.
The Rogers Cup uses Penn balls, as does the Cincinnati event while the rest of the other US Open Series tournaments (including the women’s Rogers Cup) use the Wilson US Open balls.
Federer is not the only player who feels as though all the warmup tournaments leading up to a major should be played with the same type of tennis balls. But money talks.
(The women switch from Wilson in Toronto, to Penn in Cincinnati and back to Wilson for the US Open. But they tend not to dwell on these sorts of things; they just kind of get on with it).