Tennis Rankings: Rafael Nadal ends year as World No 1 for fifth time in career; Andy Murray jumps to 126 after European Open title
The Spaniard did not make it beyond the group stage of last week's ATP Finals in London but Novak Djokovic's failure to reach the semi-finals meant Nadal closed the year as No 1
Nadal draws level with rivals Djokovic and Roger Federer, who have also finished the year at the top spot five times
Federer ends the season at No 3 for the second year running
Dominic Thiem moves up to No 4 after reaching the final of the ATP Finals where he lost to Stefanos Tsitsipas
Paris: Rafael Nadal was confirmed as the year-end World No 1 for the fifth time in his career after the ATP released its season-closing rankings on Monday.
The Spaniard did not make it beyond the group stage of last week's ATP Finals in London but Novak Djokovic's failure to reach the semi-finals meant Nadal closed the year with 9,985 points, 840 clear of the Serb.
Nadal draws level with rivals Djokovic and Roger Federer, who have also finished the year at the top spot five times, and moves one behind six-time end-of-year No 1 Pete Sampras.
Nadal and Djokovic have been this year's two dominant players after winning two Majors each.
Djokovic won the Australian Open and Wimbledon with Nadal cleaning up at Roland Garros and the US Open.
Federer ends the season at No 3 for the second year running. The Swiss, who turned 38 in August, has cut down his Tour commitments to focus on events around Grand Slams.
He reached the semi-finals of the French Open where he lost to Nadal and the last eight at Flushing Meadows where he lost in five sets to world number 20 Grigor Dimitrov.
In between he lost an epic Wimbledon final against Djokovic, the first to be decided by a tie-break in the fifth set, suggesting that he still has hopes of a 21st major title in 2020.
Dominic Thiem, who took a set off Nadal in the final of the French Open, moves up to No 4 after reaching the final of the ATP Finals where he lost to Stefanos Tsitsipas.
The 21-year-old Greek closes the year at No 6, just behind Daniil Medvedev, after his triumph in London.
Former World No 1 Andy Murray began the year ranked at 240 and the prospect of retirement.
As he struggled with surgery on a hip injury and the subsequent recuperation he had slipped to 503 in September before a dramatic return to the courts, which produced a remarkable victory at the European Open in Antwerp, lifted him to a year-end 126.
ATP year-end rankings as of November 18:
1. Rafael Nadal (ESP) 9,985 pts
2. Novak Djokovic (SRB) 9,145
3. Roger Federer (SUI) 6,590
4. Dominic Thiem (AUT) 5,825 (+1)
5. Daniil Medvedev (RUS) 5,705 (-1)
6. Stefanos Tsitsipas (GRE) 5,300
7. Alexander Zverev (GER) 3,345
8. Matteo Berrettini (ITA) 2,870
9. Roberto Bautista (ESP) 2,540
10. Gaël Monfils (FRA) 2,530
Known as the 'Happy Slam' because of its bumper crowds, good weather and party atmosphere, the Australian Open — which starts on Monday — has rarely looked so miserable or so uncertain.
After Sunday's deportation of men's defending champion and top seed Novak Djokovic, the first Grand Slam of the year is now in full swing and many are eager to move on from the visa saga.
Djokovic cannot lose his world number one status this fortnight, even if second-ranked Medvedev goes on to win the Australian Open.