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Rediff.com  » Sports » Nadal takes over as No 1

Nadal takes over as No 1

August 18, 2008 11:26 IST

Spaniard Rafael Nadal claimed to the No 1 position in the ATP Rankings on Monday, replacing his great rival Roger Federer of Switzerland, who had held the top spot for a record 237 consecutive weeks (since February 2, 2004).

On the Indian front, Somdev Devvarman continued his ascent in the rankings, breaking into the top-250 after a quarter-final finish at the Legg Mason Tennis Classic.

Somdev, who lost 4-6, 1-6 to Russia's Igor Kunitsyn at the Washington ATP, climbed 75 places, and is now ranked 239 on the chart. He is the second highest-ranked Indian behind Prakash Amritraj (217).

Sania Mirza stepped up two places from last week, and is placed 63rd on the latest WTA rankings.

Nadal, who was ranked No 2 behind Federer for a record 160 consecutive weeks (since July 25, 2005), guaranteed himself the world No 1 ranking after reaching the semi-finals earlier this month at the Western & Southern Financial Group Masters in Cincinnati.

But Nadal celebrated his rise to the top sport in perfect fashion on Sunday, winning the Olympic singles gold medal in Beijing.

"Nowhere in my best dreams I can imagine something like what I did this year," Nadal said in Beijing Sunday. "I am playing an unbelievable season, no doubt. I have to be very happy for everything.

"The feeling for sure is very happy for being No 1, but the feeling doesn't change too much because the last years I did very well too. It is a satisfaction... I want to enjoy these two days probably, but later I have to be focused on New York [for the US Open, which begins August 25]."

By earning the No 1 ranking, seven years after turning professional in 2001, the sport's ultimate warrior has vindicated his decision to improve on all surfaces in order to surpass Federer.