Nadal surprised by return to year-end No. 1

Rafael Nadal secured the year-end world number one ranking with a 7-5, 6-3 second-round victory over South Korean Hyeon Chung at the Paris Masters on Wednesday.

The victory makes the 16-time grand slam champion the oldest man to achieve the feat and the seventh to do so on four or more occasions, having previously come out on top in 2008, 2010 and 2013.

"One year ago, for sure, I never dreamed of being world No.1 at the end of the season".

"I'm very, very happy for everything", Nadal told Sky Sports.

Because Roger Federer withdrew from the tournament, this result means that Nadal has clinched the year-end #1 ranking for the fourth time in his career. Federer also won two Slams this year, but the Swiss skipped the French Open, and earned far fewer points than the Spaniard in the spring, as Federer skipped essentially the entire clay court season. Means a lot, no? It has been an unbelievable year.

"I'm very very happy for everything".

After breaks were exchanged in the early stages, Nadal then rallied from a 0/40 deficit before breaking Chung to lead 4-2.

However, it wasn't plain sailing for Nadal against the 21-year-old Chung, who is due to feature at the inaugural NextGen ATP Finals in Milan next week.

Nadal will next face Pablo Cuevas in the last 16 on Thursday, after the unseeded Uruguayan edged out Albert Ramos-Vinolas 6-7 (5/7), 7-6 (7/1), 6-2. "It's been an unbelievable year", he said after his straight-sets win over Chung.

Nadal's results in Paris will give a good idea for how suited he now is to make a run at the biggest tournament he has never won in his career-the World Tour Finals in London in two weeks.

Home hope Lucas Pouille kept his slim hopes of qualifying for the World Tour Finals alive by seeing off Spaniard Feliciano Lopez 6-3, 6-4.

Nadal, who is tied for a record 30 Masters titles with Djokovic, has never won the tournament in Paris.

The Rome Masters and Montreal Masters champion fell to Dutchman Robin Haase in a 3-6, 6-2, 6-2 second-round defeat.

  • Angelo Rivera