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I deserve to be No. 1 - Nadal

Ismail Vedat at the O2
November 6, 2013 « McCoy seals landmark 4,000th win | Chartbeat test »
Nadal secures No. 1 spot

Rafael Nadal has labelled his return to the year-end world No. 1 as one of the best achievements, and only began to focus on securing the top spot for the season after the US Open.

The Spaniard overcame Stanislas Wawrinka in two tiebreaks on Wednesday afternoon to ensure he will end 2013 as the No. 1 player for the third time, and he believes he deserves to have that honour after making an explosive return to the circuit in February having been sidelined for seven months with a knee problem.

"Today was more important to secure the No. 1 at the end of the season. That's the real thing. Because at the end during my season I said this is not my goal," Nadal said, who showed his delight on court after clinching the win and a place in the last four of the ATP World Tour Finals.

"I think after all that happened to me last year, I feel I deserve to be there [at No. 1] at the end of the season."

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Novak Djokovic has been top dog at the end of the campaign for the past two years, with Nadal last holding the spot in 2010. And the Spaniard felt emotional after being asked what it meant to return to the summit.

"It's one of the best things that I have done in my career to come back to No. 1 after three seasons. That's very difficult in our sport, and after an injury," Nadal explained.

By reaching the final of the China Open last month, Nadal moved ahead of Djokovic in the rankings, and he admitted to thinking about that spot when he beat the Serb at Flushing Meadows in September.

"It became important after the US Open, because winning five Masters 1000 events and two grand slams, I felt that I had everything to be there," he said, jokingly adding that he did not play at the Australian Open and lost in the first round at Wimbledon.

"But at the same time I have a zero in Australia and a zero at Wimbledon. A lot of zeros to be No. 1, but I think it's a great effort because I have unbelievable competitors in front [of me]. That makes the year-end No. 1 very, very special."

Nadal revealed he can now focus on winning the World Tour Finals for the first time, but once again reiterated his point that the indoor surface suits other players.

"I am in the semi-finals, but I am very far away from winning this title. I am not the favourite, I know that, but I am going to try," Nadal said.

Wawrinka came within two points of taking the opening set off Nadal - which would have been his first set won against the Spaniard - but was foiled by a lob which Nadal only realised how good it was when he saw the shot on television after the match.

"At the end there were two amazing points at the end of the first set. One lob that I don't know how I put it there. I felt that I was very far away from the ball and put the ball in a dream place, because I could not put the ball in a better place than that position," he said.

The French and US Open champion was pressed on what he thought of Djokovic's scathing attack on WADA and the ATP on Tuesday night for the Viktor Troicki doping case.

Djokovic said he "lost trust" in the anti-doping agencies and blamed the doping control officer for the "negligence and unprofessionalism" of her actions for Troicki - who had his ban reduced from 18 months to 12 months - after being told he could return 24 hours after the requested day to provide a blood sample after feeling unwell and worried he might faint from his fear of needles.

But as he has done in the past, Nadal distanced himself from the debate and is only concentrating on matters that are more important to him.

"All the words that I can say aren't going to change anything. I prefer not to talk about these things," Nadal said, who once again offered his backing to Troicki.

"We have rules, whether we like them or not, but we have rules. I am very sorry for Viktor because I believe in him 100%. Probably the doctor made the mistake, but he knows that he has to pass the doping.

"But I am focused on my tennis. I am the guy that when I do things, I do things with everything that I have."

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