Rafael Nadal said "it was not the goal" to finish 2017 as the world No 1, after securing the year-end top ranking for the fourth time on Wednesday.
The 16-time Grand Slam champion opened up an unassailable lead over great rival Roger Federer, as he dispatched South Korean Hyeon Chung in straight sets at the Paris Masters on Wednesday.
Spanish legend, Nadal started the year down at ninth in the rankings after an injury-plagued two years that saw him fail to reach a Grand Slam semi-final in 2015 or 2016.
But he responded with a truly a remarkable comeback year to become the oldest man to finish a season at the top of the rankings at the age of 31, after a year that saw him win the French and US Opens.
Of course it was not the goal (at the start of the year), said Nadal, who achieved the feat of becoming No 1 once again after doing so in 2008, 2010 and 2013.
It was impossible for me to think about that when you are coming back from a tough period of time without playing tennis and with so many injuries in the last couple of years.
But yes, here we are, it happened. And very happy of course. Means a lot, no? After almost 10 years since the first time that I finished the year with this number.
A raft of injuries had left many thinking that Nadal was a spent force at the end of last year, but he stormed back to prominence by claiming six titles ahead of Paris and the season-ending ATP Finals in London.
I had periods of time that I have been injured, Nadal added. I’ve had periods of time where I was not winning. And when that happened, of course I had doubts.
But at the end of the day for me it’s not about believing in yourself. It’s about belief when you work.
Then when you win, you believe in yourself.
Sky Sports will have the action from the final Masters 1000 tournament of the year in Paris all this week.
The Next Gen ATP Finals in Milan and season-ending extravaganza ATP Finals at London’s O2 in November end another memorable year which will be covered via our website www.skysports.com/tennis with live blogs and updates as the season reaches its climax.
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