Rafael Nadal will end the year as the number one ranked male tennis player for the fourth time after defeating Chung Hyeong at the Paris Masters
The Spanish superstar clinched a straight sets victory over the South Korean, making sure he kept his long-time adversary Roger Federer, who withdrew from the event last week, away from the top spot.
The clay king notched his 10th French Open championship at Roland Garros this year, and then added a third US Open at Flushing Meadows this past September.
Nadal becomes the oldest player to end a calendar year as the top ranked in the ATP, and it marks a spectacular turn around in form for the 31-year-old, who has struggled for form since being plagued by a wrist injury since late 2014.
Before Nadal reached ‘La Decima’ of French Open titles this year, he hadn’t notched a Grand Slam since winning the 2014 outing, and has well and truly outshined the likes of Andy Murray and Novak Djokovic, who have been missing since crashing out of Wimbledon 2017 with injury.
Speaking after the defeat of 21-year-old Hyeong: ‘Rafa’ said: “I’m very happy for everything. It’s been an amazing year.
“One year ago for sure I never dreamed of being world No. 1 at the end of the season so I’m very happy for everything.
“But the season is not over, I’m here in Paris and want to carry on this amazing season.
“For me I think I played well since the beginning but, of course, the most important moment of the year was the clay season and winning a 10th Roland Garros.”
Nadal will face 31-year-old Uruguayan Pablo Cuevas in the last 16 of the competition, who is currently ranked 32nd in the world, and if he goes on to win the title, he will go ahead of former world number one Djokovic in the number of ATP World Tour titles won, with both currently standing on 30.
Despite Federer not being in the competition, he could still come face-to-face with the Swiss man later in the year, as the two will compete in the ATP Finals in London in December.
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