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Nadal clinches year-end No.1 ranking

October 19, 2008 09:23 IST

Rafael Nadal [Images] became the first Spaniard to secure the men's year-end number one ranking on Saturday despite losing in the Madrid Masters semi-finals.

Nadal toppled Roger Federer [Images] from top spot in August and after the Swiss also perished in the last four in Madrid the five times grand slam champion was guaranteed to finish the season on top of the ATP rankings.

Saturday's defeat meant it would be the first time since 2003 that Federer, who won his fifth successive US Open [Images] crown last month, would not end the year as world number one.

"To become number one during the year was one of my goals and it is important to have achieved it," said Nadal.

"Moreover, if you finish the year as number one it is even more special," added the 22-year-old after being beaten by Gilles Simon 3-6, 7-5, 7-6.

"I am also very happy to bring something more to Spanish sport, something for Spanish history and for our great tennis tradition."

The Mallorcan is also the first left-hander to claim the accolade since John McEnroe [Images] in 1984.

After bagging a fourth successive French Open title in June, Nadal ended Federer's five-year reign at Wimbledon [Images] by winning what is considered the greatest ever tennis match in July.

He also became the first man since Bjorn Borg in 1980 to win the Roland Garros-Wimbledon double.

Nadal crowned a glorious season by capturing Olympic [Images] gold in Beijing [Images] before ending 27-year-old Federer's record 237-week run as world number one.

The Spaniard leads the circuit with eight titles and an 80-10 match record in 2008.

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