Rafael Nadal is celebrating being the year-end world No 1 for the fourth time in his career. It was thought that the fight for the position may go down to next month’s ATP Finals in London but Federer’s withdrawal from the Paris Masters ended his chances of beating Nadal to the top spot.

Last week Nadal beat South Korean Hyeon Chung in Paris to put himself out of reach of Federer, despite the 1,500 points that will be available in London next month.

Nadal first reached the No 1 spot in August 2008, at the age of 22, and he has spent a total of 151 weeks and counting in the spot over the last nine years.

The last few years have seen Nadal suffer from knee injuries and there were doubts over whether he could return to the top.

However, after struggling through matches early on, he has returned to become the first man to hold, lose and regain the No 1 ranking four times in testament to his strong character and determination.

Since he lost the Australian Open final to Federer in January he has shown a determination to fight back and went on to win numerous tournaments over the season.

He won the first of his French Open titles in 2005 and then won it for a tenth time this year after winning two landmark ATP World Tour Masters 1000 titles in Monte-Carlo and Madrid and then a third in Barcelona. He also won his third US Open title, his sixteenth Grand Slam overall, as well as the China Open, his sixth tournament of the year.

His uncle and coach Toni Francisco Roig recently said, “Getting back to the top shows how good Rafa is, but also how long and successful his career has been”.