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Nadal completes long road back to top

Paris, Thursday @PeopleSports11

Rafael Nadal continued a remarkable season by ensuring that he will end the year as the world number one for the first time since 2013, completing a long road back to the top of the sport.

The 16-time Grand Slam champion beat South Korean Hyeon Chung in his second-round match at the Paris Masters to open an unassailable lead over Roger Federer in the race to finish the year at the top of the rankings.

Nadal, 31, has now ended four years as the world’s best player, having first achieved the feat in 2008 when he won his maiden Wimbledon title with an epic victory over Federer. He is the oldest player to end a season as number one and the first over the age of 30, despite starting 2017 ranked ninth after two years plagued by problems with form and fitness. But he dug deep, using his renowned work ethic to rediscover his very best form.

“It’s about the passion for what you are doing,” Nadal said on Wednesday. “It’s about the mentality of waking up every morning with the right motivation to go on court and improve something.

“Everybody wants to win when we are competing and when we are on the tennis court. “Another thing is (to) wake up every morning with the passion to go on court and with the passion to improve something and practice every day with the right attitude to try to make that happen. “So that’s another story, no? Not everybody is able to do it.”

When Nadal reclaimed the world number one ranking in August, it was the first time in more than three years he had topped the list. And when Federer withdrew from the final event of the regular season in the French capital, Nadal knew he needed to win just one match to be certain of ending 2017 at the summit. -AFP

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