Nadal wins first match in Paris to clinch year-end No. 1 ranking

For the fourth time in his career, Rafael Nadal is going to finish a season as the No. 1 player in the world.

Nadal mathematically clinched the year-end top spot when he defeated Hyeon Chung 7-5, 6-3 in round two of the Rolex Paris Masters on Wednesday afternoon. The Spaniard broke serve four times and committed just one unforced error off the backhand side before prevailing in one hour and 48 minutes.

“I’m very, very happy for everything,” Nadal said during 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.”

It is not over for Roger Federer, either, but the second-ranked Swiss has only the Nitto ATP World Tour Finals remaining on his schedule. After capturing his eighth Basel title last week, Federer announced his withdrawal from Paris. In London there are 1,500 ranking points available to an undefeated champion; Nadal now has an insurmountable 1,550-point cushion over his closest rival.

The 16-time Grand Slam winner is the oldest player to finish a year as world No. 1 in the history of the ATP rankings (since 1973). He is the first player to hold, lose, and regain year-end No. 1 three different times (he also finished in the top spot in 2008, again in 2010, and again in 2013). Nadal is also the first player to finish No. 1 four times in non-consecutive seasons, the first over-30 player to finish No. 1 four years after his previous such accomplishment, and the nine-year gap between two different year-end No. 1 finishes is also a record. Seven men have now been year-end No. 1 at least four times in their careers, a list that also includes Pete Sampras (6), Jimmy Connors (5), Roger Federer (5), Ivan Lendl (4), John McEnroe (4), and Novak Djokovic (4).

“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,” ATP president Chris Kermode commented. “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.”

Nadal will be presented his No. 1 trophy at World Tour Finals in London, where he will be joined by Federer, Alexander Zverev, Dominic Thiem, Marin Cilic, and Grigor Dimitrov. The last two spots remain up for grabs.

40 Comments on Nadal wins first match in Paris to clinch year-end No. 1 ranking

  1. Ladies and gentlemen, 2017 Year end world No 1..RAFAEL NADAL

    Congrats Rafa, Congrats Rafans. Well deserved.

    I was very nervous about this one and I knew he would be very tight given the occasion and guess he was and played all up and down. I expect him to loosen up now on but dont think he will go all out for Paris and beat himself up. I think he has his eyes on WTF though I know Fed is clear favorite there ..

  2. Congrats to Rafa and Roger and their millions of fans for truly amazing seasons! We fans “suffered” a lot during the last few years but this has been a “pinch me, I must be dreaming” year.

    Btw there’s a nice congratulatory write-up on the ATP site.

  3. Since so much is being made of Feds 5 in a row vs Rafa..did you guys know this? On twitter even now there are few trolls marking both Roger & Rafa and making comments like Rafa maybe No 1 but hasnt beaten Fed this year..

    Rafa’s 3 5W streaks over RF that too over 2 surfaces each time and in 05 wasnt Fed no 1? Did they say the same thing then? I hate double standards.

    • Sanju- those trolls are worthless. They are not worth anyone’s time and energy. The best thing you can do is ignore them, as they want you to get worked up.

      Rafa beat Fed 4 straight times in 2006 when Fed was #1, but Fed ended up getting the last two wins of the season at Wimbledon and WTF, making in 4-2 Rafa at the end of 2006. But let’s face it- had Fed played the clay swing this season, there is a good chance that they would have met on clay at least once or twice which Rafa probably would have won. So you could argue that the only reason the head-to-head this season is at 4-0, and not something like 4-2, is because Fed skipped clay. So if you’re going to give those trolls any time of day, tell them that had Rafa skipped Wimbledon and WTF in 2006 like Fed skipped clay in 2017, then Rafa would have been 4-0 vs Fed in 2006… But alas, it is more worth while to not respond at all.

      Big 3 trolls get off more on talking shit about the other two guys than they do on the success of the player they claim to love. It’s so pathetic. You know what your favorite player has achieved this season, Sanju. That’s all that matters. 🙂

      • Yes kevin best to ignore but I at times can’t understand people’s pettiness and negativity and how they even live with it. It’s such a cross to carry day everyday in life. They rather spend that energy doing something good in their own lives.

  4. This Chris Fowler moron is supposedly a tennis analyst and his tweet is so full of sour grapes and he even marks Federer in it (height of it). The reply given to him is perfect :-). Deservedly he got trolled and whacked. How can a tennis analyst publicly wear Federer tinted glasses 🙂

    TroubleFault‏ @troublefault 2h2 hours ago

    Another more accurate & honest way to say this: Rafa earned #1 by fighting on all surfaces w/o needing to drastically curtail his schedule.

    Chris Fowler‏Verified account

    Congrats! @RafaelNadal – #1 for ‘17 (his 4th year on top). Didn’t solve @rogerfederer but earned #1 by fighting thru a fuller schedule

    • There were lots of people who were always of the opinion that Fed cannot be GOAT if he is dominated by a peer. Its subjective. On the same lines some people are crying at the end of the day that Rafa never beat Fed this year.

      I guess at the end of the day majors matter. Both had a stellar year. One guy had to be number 2 at the end of the year, just like one guy would have less slam count than the other guy when both of them just walk away from tennis.

      They have been great great ambassadors and their fans should have the dignity and not go into useless comparisons and enjoy till these guys are on tour.

    • The internet was made for trolls. Don’t feed ’em, don’t let ’em get to you.

      During one of Roger’s stints at #1 a writer asked Rafa if their h2h record didn’t make Rafa better. He replied that “if you think that makes me a better player you don’t know nothing about tennis”. Writer persists and – only Rafa could say this pleasantly – “so you don’t know nothing about tennis”.

  5. Both players had amazing memorable season! High five for both geniuses!

    Now that they are older their weaknesses get more exposed in their encounters…Fed being able to beat Rafa on his favorite surface does not come as such huge surprise…Rafa’s achievement is higher though since he actually played great in the second half of the year-the feature he wasn’t able to make so often and also he played the whole year without skipping major tournaments…Fed OTOH was smart enough to skip entire clay season knowing Rafa would have been impossible to beat…so overall, Rafa fully deserves the Y/E No1 ranking as the best player of the year!

    Vamos Rafa! Vamos Rafans-the best fans of the best player! ❤️

  6. Congratulations to Rafa and his fans. Probably his second best year ever (after 2010), remarkable at the age of 30-31. Well done and very well-deserved!

      • Maybe even fourth best.

        2011 was no slouch either. The year he began his longest consecutive stretch of five consecutive slam finals winning two. His three losses coming against a true great who had the best year of all time in 2011.

  7. I signed up to Tennistalk (the precursor to this site) just under 10 years ago. But I am still mystified by the etiquette which demands congratulating not just the player but also his fans for winning – it’s not as if we had played any part in the result. Perhaps somebody would be kind enough to enlighten me.

    • Seems to be common to congratulate fans when their player/team wins. For instance, years ago David Ferrer blogged that Rafa’s favorite soccer team had won and “I have to congratulate him for that.”

    • anyone who has something good happen to them can be congratulated for it. It doesn’t matter if you did anything to deserve it.

    • if you win the lottery I will congratulate you. It doesn’t mean you did anything. You just sat on your couch and got lucky. Just like you sat on your couch and got lucky when you got to watch Nadal clinch No. 1.

      • I don’t think ed said you shouldn’t. She just never saw the need herself.

        If you win the lottery, you did something by buying a ticket that has changed your life. You didn’t do anything when Rafa clinches top spot and your life shouldn’t be affected (shouldn’t being the operative word).

        Glad ed said it.


        • We fans suffer without being able to do anything to influence the outcome and getting absolutely nothing in return as such except joy to see our favorite player do great things. Hence congrats are in order for all the fans too for going through the ups and downs. Rafa himself sent thankyou message to all his fans and the support of fans is very very important to every player. The biggest high for a player is winning a big title and having whole stadium applaud him/her.

  8. Rafa will now hold number 1 for minimum 5 months more looks like as his nearest competitor Roger has 4000 to defend early next year in first 3 months whereas rafa has only around 2100 odd till march. This should take rafas period at no 1 to minimum 175 weeks .

  9. My personal ranking for rafas best years are :

    2010 : 3 slams , completed career grand slam and ended world no 1.

    2008 : first time reached world no 1, won I guess 8 plus titles,2 slams and first off clay , beat Roger in arguably best match of all time , Olympic gold.

    2013 : 10 titles , 15 finals , remarkable comeback from injury , ended year as no 1 , 2 slams

    2017 : remarkable comeback again from injury, 2 slams , ended year as no 1, 10 finals and 6 titles and counting 🙂

  10. Thank you all for your comments. I will celebrate Rafa’s achievements and be devastated by his losses but don’t expect to find me joining in the self-congratulatory fest.

  11. It definitely depends on what “congratulations” means to each person. I think I prefer to tell fans of a player who has done something good that I am very happy for them. Saying congratulations feels a little strange when they didn’t win anything themselves, but that doesn’t mean that people who do say congrats to fans are wrong in any way. Plus, I’m pretty sure I’ve said congrats to fans on this site before anyway…. So with that being said… Congrats to all the Rafans!! 🙂

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