Nadal proud of ‘special’ 2013
Originally published on: 12/11/13 00:00
It is the third time the Spaniard tops the year-end rankings, but despite taking the No.1 crown from Novak Djokovic, it was the Serb who ended the year on a high, winning the Barclays ATP World Tour Finals.
Djokovic extended his unbeaten streak to 22 matches with a 6-3 6-4 victory on Monday to defend his title at the O2 Arena.
However, he was unable to hang onto top spot in the world rankings for a third successive year after a remarkable comeback from Nadal, who won 75 matches this season (75-7) after returning from a knee injury in February.
With 13 Grand Slams, Davis Cup success and an Olympic gold medal, the year-end championship is the one major title that still eludes Nadal, but he played down the magnitude of the defeat.
“Seriously I think [defeat] is not gonna change my career, winning or losing,” Nadal said. “Talking about history I will not be a better player, with that match, or without that match.”
“It is very special what happened this year,” he added. “The emotions of this season after a tough year for all of us have been fantastic.
“The only thing that I can say is congratulate my opponent and at the same time congratulate my team because all the achievements, all the success that I had this year, without my family, all my team, it was impossible to have; all the special feelings, the special moments.”
Nadal’s defeat to Djokovic was the 39th time that the pair had met on a tennis court, more than any other rivalry in history.
“I think it is amazing playing 39 times [against Djokovic],” he said. “What's happening the last five, six years, four years, is just amazing that the same players have been competing for every tournament, every single important tournament of the year. So that's something that didn't happen very often in the history of our sport.”