Rafael Nadal capped off one of the greatest comeback seasons in the history of the sport. He toppled Swiss Stanislas Wawrinka in straight sets to earn a spot in the semi-finals of the ATP World Tour Finals, and ensure that he ends the year on top of the Emirates ATP rankings.
“Today was more important [to] secure the No. 1 at the end of the season,” he said. “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, 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 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.”
For Rafa, the securing of the year-end No. 1 ranking was near-impossible considering he had not participated in the Australian Open and lost in the opening round in Wimbledon. The fact that he was able to battle against the odds and come out ahead of the likes of Novak Djokovic, Andy Murray and Roger Federer makes the victory that much more satisfying for the Spaniard.
“ I have a zero in Australia, I have a zero in Miami, I have a zero in Wimbledon.” Nadal said. “A lot of zeros to be No. 1. I think is a great effort because I have unbelievable competitors in front. That makes the year‑end No. 1 very, very special. You can feel how tough is everything that winning all the things that I win this year, until the last tournament, I was not able to make it. So that makes everybody think how difficult [it] is be there.”