Rafael Nadal: How he moved from No 9 to No 1 in eight months

The 15-time time major winner goes back to the top of the rankings on Monday. Here is a month-by-month lowdown on how the Spaniard achieved it.

Aug 6, 2017; Montreal, Quebec, Canada; Rafael Nadal of Spain pratices during the Rogers Cup tennis tournament at Uniprix Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Jean-Yves Ahern-USA TODAY Sports
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Rafael Nadal returns to world No 1 in the ATP rankings for the first time in more than three years on Monday.

So, how did he do it, having started the year at No 9 in the standings.


Started month: No 9

Ended month: No 6

Nadal began the year at No 9, and he remains there after exiting at the quarter-final stage in Brisbane to Milos Raonic.

But a run to the final of the first major of the year, the Australian Open, sees him end the month at No 6 as he gains three places.

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Started month: No 6

Ended month: No 6

A quiet month for the Spaniard with his only action coming at the end of February when he begins his challenge at the Mexican Open, where he loses to Sam Querrey in the final.


Started month: No 6

Ended month: No 7

A fourth-round exit to Roger Federer in Indian Wells actually sees Nadal drop a place in the rankings as he ends March at No 7.


Started month: No 7

Ended month: No 5

A run to the final in Miami, where he again loses to Federer gets him up to No 5, and despite winning his first titles of 2017 in Monte Carlo and Barcelona he ends the month still in fifth place.


Started month: No 5

Ended month: No 4

Another title comes in Madrid and that puts him up to No 4, and though he only reaches the quarter-finals in Rome, he stays in the top four going into the French Open.


Started month: No 4

Ended month: No 2

A 10th French Open and a 15th major title comes his way at Roland Garros and that moves him up to No 2, behind only Andy Murray, as he scores the maximum amount of 2,000 ranking points.


Started month: No 2

Ended month: No 2

The fourth round is as far as he gets at Wimbledon, but due to missing the competition in 2016 he still gains 360 ranking points, while Murray loses 1,640 as he fails to defend his title at SW19, allowing Nadal to close in further on the Briton.


Started month: No 2

Ended month: No 1

Despite only reaching the third round in Montreal, and then the quarter-finals in Cincinnati, thanks to Murray dropping 600 points for not competing in Cincinnati, where he had reached the final in 2016, means that Nadal's tally of 7,645 will put him on top when the new rankings are published on Monday. He will keep the place until at least September 11, with the US Open starting next week.