Rafael Nadal capped off his improbable comeback from a 2012 knee injury by clinching the year-end No. 1 ATP Ranking for a third time today after defeating Stanislas Wawrinka 7-6, 7-6 at the Barclays ATP World Tour Finals on Wednesday afternoon.
The 27-year-old Spaniard previously finished at the top in 2008 and 2010, and becomes the first player to hold, lose and regain the year-end No. 1 Emirates ATP Ranking on two occasions. Roger Federer and Ivan Lendl each accomplished the feat once. Nadal will be presented with the ATP World Tour No. 1 trophy this week at The O2.
This is the 10th straight season that the year-end World No. 1 ranking has been held by Nadal (2008, ’10, ‘13), Federer (2004-07, ’09) or Novak Djokovic (2011-12).
Nadal returned to World No. 1 on 7 October for the first time in more than two years after reaching his 13th final of a phenomenal season at the China Open in Beijing. He made his comeback in February with a No. 5 ranking following a seven-month injury layoff and won 10 titles, including Roland Garros, US Open and five ATP World Tour Masters 1000 triumphs. He also went undefeated on hard courts (26-0) through the China Open final, when he finished runner-up to Djokovic.
Nadal first attained the No. 1 ranking on 18 August 2008 for a period of 46 weeks, becoming the first Spaniard to finish a season at the summit of men’s professional tennis. He regained the top spot from Federer on 7 June 2010, for another 56-week stretch, before relinquishing No. 1 to Djokovic following the 2011 Wimbledon final. Nadal competes in London at No. 1 for the 107th week in his career.
The Mallorcan is looking to win his first Barclays ATP World Tour Finals title this week at The O2 in London. He achieved his best finish in 2010, when he came in No. 1 and lost to Federer in the final. Nadal is making his sixth appearance at the season finale; he has qualified nine times.
“Today was more important secure the No. 1 at the end of the season. That’s the real thing. Because at the end during all my season I said is not my goal, but the real thing is after all the success I had during the season, winning, you know, five Masters 1000s, playing a final in another, winning a few 500s, playing another final, winning two Grand Slams, so I think that after all what happened last year, I felt I deserved to be there at the end of the season. And today I did. So was one of the, you know, best things that I did in my career: come back to the No. 1 after three seasons. That’s very difficult in our sport, and after a very important injury. That’s an emotional thing for me, for sure. In the same time be able to qualify for the semifinals is an extra thing. And the good thing is after two matches now, I can really be focused only on the tournament because the year‑end is over.
” I don’t want to fight for the No. 1 in the next season. I think is not my (indiscernible) today to fight for the No. 1. My (indiscernible) is fight to try to be enough competitive to keep having chances to win important tournaments, and that’s my goal. That’s my biggest goal, the thing that really motivates me. At the end this year I never fight for No. 1. This year, because all the success that I had, I am the No. 1, but I never thought about that during the season. I will start the next season trying to be fit for Australia, trying to give me more chances to compete for the best tournaments of the year. That’s my motivation, and I will fight for that and I will work hard for that.”
ATP WORLD TOUR YEAR-END NO. 1
2013 Rafael Nadal (Spain)
2012 Novak Djokovic (Serbia)
2011 Novak Djokovic (Serbia)
2010 Rafael Nadal (Spain)
2009 Roger Federer (Switzerland)
2008 Rafael Nadal (Spain)
2007 Roger Federer (Switzerland)
2006 Roger Federer (Switzerland)
2005 Roger Federer (Switzerland)
2004 Roger Federer (Switzerland)
2003 Andy Roddick (U.S.)
2002 Lleyton Hewitt (Australia)
2001 Lleyton Hewitt (Australia)
2000 Gustavo Kuerten (Brazil)
1999 Andre Agassi (U.S.)
1998 Pete Sampras (U.S.)
1997 Pete Sampras (U.S.)
1996 Pete Sampras (U.S.)
1995 Pete Sampras (U.S.)
1994 Pete Sampras (U.S.)
1993 Pete Sampras (U.S.)
1992 Jim Courier (U.S.)
1991 Stefan Edberg (Sweden)
1990 Stefan Edberg (Sweden)
1989 Ivan Lendl (Czech Republic)
1988 Mats Wilander (Sweden)
1987 Ivan Lendl (Czech Republic)
1986 Ivan Lendl (Czech Republic)
1985 Ivan Lendl (Czech Republic)
1984 John McEnroe (U.S.)
1983 John McEnroe (U.S.)
1982 John McEnroe (U.S.)
1981 John McEnroe (U.S.)
1980 Bjorn Borg (Sweden)
1979 Bjorn Borg (Sweden)
1978 Jimmy Connors (U.S.)
1977 Jimmy Connors (U.S.)
1976 Jimmy Connors (U.S.)
1975 Jimmy Connors (U.S.)
1974 Jimmy Connors (U.S.)
1973 Ilie Nastase (Romania)
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Rafael Nadal Clinches Year-End No. 1 Ranking