LONDON – Rafael Nadal has clinched the year-end No. 1 Emirates ATP Ranking for a fourth time — to break a number of historical records — after beating #NextGenATP South Korean Hyeon Chung at the Rolex Paris Masters on Wednesday. The Spaniard will be presented with the ATP World Tour No. 1 trophy at the Nitto ATP Finals, to be held at The O2 in London from 12-19 November.
Nadal, who replaced Great Britain’s Andy Murray at No. 1 on 21 August, has enjoyed a stellar season, capturing six titles – including two Grand Slams and two ATP World Tour Masters 1000s — from 10 tour-level finals. At 31, Nadal is the oldest player to finish year-end No. 1 in Emirates ATP Rankings history (since 1973). Having previously finished at the top in 2008, 2010 and 2013, Nadal becomes the first player to hold, lose and regain the year-end No. 1 on three occasions.
He is also the first player to finish No. 1 four times in non-consecutive years, the first aged over-30 and the first to finish in the top spot four years since he last achieved the feat (2013). The nine-year gap between his first year-end No. 1 season (2008) and his last (2017) is also a record.
Nadal is the seventh player to finish the year at the pinnacle of men’s professional tennis on four or more occasions, following in the footsteps of Pete Sampras (6), Jimmy Connors and Roger Federer (5), Ivan Lendl, John McEnroe and Novak Djokovic (4). This is the 14th straight season that the year-end World No. 1 ranking has been held by a member of the ‘Big Four’ — Federer (2004-07, ’09), Nadal (2008, ’10, ’13, ‘17), Djokovic (2011-12, ’14-15) or Murray (2016).
“I’m very, very happy for everything,” said Nadal in his on-court interview. “It has been an amazing year. One year ago, for sure I never dreamed about being World No. 1 again at the end of the season. It’s something that means a lot to me. But the season is not over.”
Chris Kermode, the ATP Executive Chairman and President, said, “The year-end No.1 ranking is the ultimate achievement in our season, demanding the very highest standards in terms of excellence, consistency and endurance. By becoming – at the age of 31 – the oldest player in the game’s history to achieve this spectacular feat, Rafa has once again demonstrated his unwavering work ethic, determination and passion for the game. He continues to re-write the record books, and is a credit to our sport. On behalf of the ATP, we congratulate him on a phenomenal season.”
The Spanish superstar, who ended the 2016 season early due to a wrist injury, has returned in 2017 playing some of the best tennis of his career. After finishing 2016 at No. 9, Nadal has made the biggest single-season jump to year-end No. 1 since Andy Roddick went from No. 10 in 2002 to No. 1 in 2003.
In compiling an ATP World Tour-best 66 wins, Nadal has captured six trophies this season, including historic 10th titles at Roland Garros (d. Wawrinka), the Rolex Monte-Carlo Masters (d. Ramos-Vinolas) and the Barcelona Open Banc Sabadell (d. Thiem), in addition to a fifth crown at the Mutua Madrid Open (d. Thiem). He also lifted his third trophy at the US Open (d. Anderson) and his second at the China Open in Beijing (d. Kyrgios). He has reached four other finals – the Australian Open (l. to Federer), Abierto Mexicano Telcel in Acapulco (l. to Querrey), the Miami Open presented by Itau (l. to Federer) and the Shanghai Rolex Masters (l. to Federer).
Nadal, who first ascended to No. 1 on 18 August 2008 at the age of 22, has spent four stints in top spot for a total of 152 weeks — 46 weeks between 18 August 2008 and 5 July 2009, 56 weeks from 7 June 2010 to 3 July 2011, 39 weeks between 7 October 2013 and 6 July 2014 and currently 11 weeks since 21 August 2017. Only Federer (302), Sampras (286), Lendl (270), Connors (268), Djokovic (223) and McEnroe (170) have spent more weeks at No. 1 since 1973.
This month, the Mallorcan is not only looking to win his first Rolex Paris Masters trophy, which would represent a record 31st ATP World Tour Masters 1000 crown, but is also aiming to clinch his first title at the Nitto ATP Finals, which he has qualified for on 13 straight occasions (seven appearances) since 2005.
ATP WORLD TOUR YEAR-END NO. 1 PRESENTED BY EMIRATES
2017 Rafael Nadal (Spain)
2016 Andy Murray (Great Britain)
2015 Novak Djokovic (Serbia)
2014 Novak Djokovic (Serbia)
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)