Written by Staff Writer
Novak Djokovic pulled off a stunning turnaround on Wednesday, returning to the world No. 1 spot, after three failed attempts to reach the summit since Wimbledon last year.
The Serb, who captured the 2016 French Open crown before being lost in the French Open quarter-finals earlier this year, won his maiden ATP World Tour Finals title with victory over Rafael Nadal in the London tournament final.
Serena Williams and Kim Clijsters are the only other players to have held the No. 1 spot on at least four occasions, but the rankings are now dominated by the resurgence of 32-year-old Djokovic.
Nadal, Williams, Clijsters and Roger Federer joined him at the summit of the ATP top 10, while the Serb, who went into the final at the O2 Arena just the No. 2 seed, also equaled Federer’s record of seven ATP World Tour Finals titles.
Prior to Wednesday’s final in London, Djokovic had lost four of his last six matches, including back-to-back defeats at the ATP Masters 1000 finals in Paris and Madrid.
However, after beating Stan Wawrinka in the quarter-finals in London, he then stunned Nadal, who had not played since a shock Australian Open quarter-final defeat by Wawrinka in January, with a superb performance that has propelled him to the summit of the ATP rankings.
Nadal’s last appearance at the top of the rankings was in 2014 when he reclaimed it after the Spanish great was sidelined for the rest of the season following an injury.
The 25-year-old had looked to be set to return to the No. 1 spot on Wednesday when he defeated Dominic Thiem 6-2, 7-6 (7-3) in a semifinal, his 20th consecutive win in the tournament, but his hopes of extending his lead over Djokovic were dashed by the failure of the Serb to win the decisive set in their London final.
It means Nadal will remain on top for at least another week but he will not get a chance to defend his title at the ATP Finals after being eliminated by Wawrinka in the quarter-finals earlier this week.
Clijsters and Williams hold the women’s record for most weeks as top ranked player in the women’s world rankings, with four rankings titles each. Williams regained her top spot for the first time since February 2016 last month.
Clijsters regained the No. 1 ranking she last held in 2009 when she won the Australian Open while Wawrinka will go into next week’s ATP World Tour Finals seeded No. 1 for the fourth time.