Rafael Nadal ends the year by becoming world number after a second-round win over Hyeon Chung at the Paris Masters. Nadal has always been known as the fighting man. From reaching the Australian Open final, winning his 10th title in Monte Carlo to completing La Décima at the French Open, Nadal expressed amazement at all of these accomplishments.
Rafa as he is popularly known as did what he does the best even on Wednesday in Paris after his 7-5, 6-3 win over Hyeon Chung. It is hard to believe, but this is the fourth time that the Spaniard has finished a season at the top, and it makes him, at 31, the oldest man to pull it off since the advent of the ATP’s computer rankings in 1973.
Despite his past achievements, Nadal had a good reason to doubt that he would finish 2017, or any year in the future, at No. 1—not many others in the sport would have bet on it, either. He ended 2016 ranking at no. 9, which was his lowest year-end finish since 2004, and he was also forced to cut his season short due to injuries. He had not made it past the quarterfinals since 2014 and was losing close end matches to low ranked players.
— Rafa Nadal (@RafaelNadal) November 1, 2017
But 2017 was different. He had decided to end all the doubts. At 31, Nadal showed the world that the flame has not yet burned out and that the name Rafa has not faded away. Coming from the bottom Nadal dominated the court this year only to lose to Federer.
This might not be the best year when it comes to Nadal’s own career. But at 31 what more can be expected of an athlete. It is true that it would have been a different story if Roger Federer, who beat him in all four of their meetings, hadn’t sat out the clay season but at the same time, Nadal has been persistent. He reached the finals of the three grand slams and has played 2017 with energy, more of the “right energy,” than anyone else, and that’s why he finishes at the well-deserved No. 1 spot.