Abu Dhabi, UAETuesday 12 November 2019

Rafael Nadal leapfrogs Novak Djokovic as battle for year-end top ranking goes down to the wire

Spaniard was last world No 1 in November 2018 but injury could scupper his hopes of retaining top spot by the end of the season

Rafael Nadal reached the Paris Masters semi-finals before withdrawing with injury. AP Photo
Rafael Nadal reached the Paris Masters semi-finals before withdrawing with injury. AP Photo

Rafael Nadal has reclaimed the ATP Tour's top ranking from Novak Djokovic, despite the Serbian winning a fifth Paris Masters title on Sunday.

Nadal, who was last top of the rankings 12 months ago, leapfrogs Djokovic the day after his rival's 6-3, 6-4 victory over Canadian Denis Shapovalov in the French capital.

The Spaniard withdrew from his semi-final against Shapovalov in Paris with an abdominal muscle strain. Djokovic slips down the rankings because he loses the points he won a year ago in London when Nadal was absent.

The 2019 battle between Nadal, winner of the French and US Opens, and Djokovic who triumphed in Australia and Wimbledon, is set to go down to the wire as either could still finish the year at No 1.

If the Spaniard does not play or fails to win a round-robin match at the World Tour Finals, Djokovic must claim two group-stage victories and make the final to pass him.

Djokovic would also be sure of the year-end top ranking should he win the tournament and Nadal does not reach the semis.

Nadal first reached No 1 on August 18, 2008 when he was just 22. He has spent 197 weeks at the top, the sixth highest in ATP history behind Roger Federer (310), Pete Sampras (286), Djokovic (275), Ivan Lendl (270) and Jimmy Connors (268).

Gael Monfils returns to the top 10 for the first time since February 2017 after reaching the semi-finals in Paris while 20-year-old Shapovalov climbs 13 places to a career-high 15.

Updated: November 4, 2019 04:01 PM

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