Roger Federer begins his bid for a sixth Basel title Monday. In his opening match the Swiss native and top seed meets qualifier Benjamin Becker of Germany.
With Djokovic in a commanding point lead up over 2,000 in the 2012 points race, Federer will need to leave with another title to keep his slim hopes alive of finishing No. 1.
Vienna champion Juan Martin Del Potro is seeded second in the field. The Argentina could meet No. 3 seed Richard Gasquet in the semifinals while Federer is seeded to face countryman and No. 3 Stanislas Wawrinka.
The tournament announced on Saturday that Andy Murray withdrew to rest a tired back. The 25-year-old Scot is not expected to miss any further time from the tour with Paris and London ahead.
In Valencia, Spanish favorite and two-time tournament champ David Ferrer has been installed as the top seed. He’s joined by London hopefuls Jo-Wilfried Tsonga, Janko Tipsarevic, Juan Monaco, John Isner, Milos Raonic, Marin Cilic and Nicolas Almagro. In all, eight of the Top 15 players are in Spain this week.
Tomorrow, Isner faces Fabio Fognini, Spaniards Tommy Robredo and Fernando clash and Lleyton Hewitt takes on Monaco.
The tournament will also mark the retirement event for No. 1 and Spanish great Juan Carlos Ferrero.
“It’s the best possible stage for me to retire,” said the 32-year-old Ferrero who twice won the Valencia title. Ferrero will play Almagro in the first round on Tuesday following Ferrer’s match. He’s also in the doubles.
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Berdych, Wawrinka Bomb Out Of Basel, Federer In Action Wednesday; Gulbis v Isner In Valencia