Rafael Nadal returned to no.1 in the world rankings on Monday after reaching the final of the China Open in Beijing.
Novak won his 38th career trophy and fourth crown in 2013 on Sunday with a 6-3, 6-4 win over the Spaniard and remains competitive with the Mallorcan for the rest of the season.
Djokovic acknowledges Nadal’s remarkable year, but remains focused on the task: a third consecutive year-end no.1 in the ATP Rankings. “It’s obvious that being no.1 at this time, especially in this era, is an ultimate goal and challenge for anybody. I know how hard it is because I’ve been fighting for that place for last couple of years. I know what a player needs to do in order to end a year at no.1.”
The 26-year-old Serb has had two stints at the summit of men’s professional tennis for a total of 101 weeks. Nole first became no.1 on July 4, 2011, for a period of 53 weeks. He regained top spot from Federer on November 5, 2012, and added 48 weeks to his tally.
The difference between Rafa and Nole is only 40 ATP points.
ATP top 10 as of October 7:
1. Rafael Nadal (ESP) 11,160
2. Novak Djokovic (SRB) 11,120
3. Andy Murray (GBR) 6,895
4. David Ferrer (ESP) 6,710
5. Juan Martin del Potro (ARG) 4,925
6. Tomas Berdych (CZE) 4,610
7. Roger Federer (SUI) 4,515
8. Stanislas Wawrinka (SUI) 3,150
9. Jo-Wilfried Tsonga (FRA) 3,115
10. Richard Gasquet (FRA) 3,095
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