Eight-time French Open champion Rafael Nadal is aiming to finish the year as the world number one, a feat that is very possible for the Spaniard considering the remarkable run that he’s made so far since his comeback from the tour in February.
Nadal became the first player in history to win the same Major eight times after he secured his eighth French Open title on Sunday with a victory over compatriot David Ferrer. Despite the win, Nadal drops in the world’s rankings this week to number five. However, in the ATP Race to London rankings, he leads all players with 7,000 ranking points.
The Spaniard does have a strong chance to overtake current top-ranked Novak Djokovic by year’s end since he has not participated in any events after his shock second round loss at the Wimbledon Championships last year to Lukas Rosol of the Czech Republic. With only 45 points to defend from Wimbledon, Nadal will be compounding ranking points from hereon forward. Meanwhile, Djokovic is faced with the task of defending massive ranking points in the second half of the season and will have to work hard in order to maintain the ranking points or improve them.
“Without playing Miami and without playing Australia, today I have… many more [points] than what I thought or what I dreamed,” said Nadal. “Everything went much better than what I thought, so I’m in the position that if I’m still doing the things the right way, I’m going to have my chance to finish the year in a very good position on the rankings.”
“To be No. 1 in this era, you have to play during the whole season and do well during the rest of the season, because the rest of the players are very competitive. They’re going to be there,” said Nadal. “I need to keep winning a lot of points if I want to have any chance to be No. 1 at the end of the season.”