Rafael Nadal starts the penultimate week of the ATP World Tour season focused on two more career milestones in what has already been a resurgent 2017 for the Spaniard.

No. 1 is No. 1: Nadal needs to win only one more match to clinch his fourth year-end finish atop the Emirates ATP Rankings (also 2008, 2010, 2013 ). No. 2 is No. 31: The number of ATP World Tour Masters 1000 titles Nadal will have – which would be a record – if he wins the Rolex Paris Masters this week. He is currently tied with Serbian Novak Djokovic for the all-time lead at 30.

Winning one more match is likely to happen here or at the Nitto ATP Finals, to be held 12-19 November at The O2 in London. A 31st Masters 1000 title in 2017 will require Nadal accomplishing a career first and hoisting the “Tree of Fanti” trophy at the AccorHotels Arena in Paris.

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Let’s see. I need to win a match. But I am here to try my best as in every tournament,” Nadal said on Monday during his pre-tournament press conference. “Of course, if that happens, it will be something important for me. But season is not over and this is not the moment to think much about that. I will just try to think about trying to have the right preparation for the tournament and then try to be ready for the first match.”

Most Year-End No. 1 Finishes

Player

Times

Seasons

Pete Sampras

6

1993-98

Jimmy Connors

5

1974-78

Roger Federer

5

2004-07, 2009

John McEnroe

4

1981-84

Ivan Lendl

4

1985-87, 1989

Novak Djokovic

4

2011-12, 2014-15

Rafael Nadal

3

2008, 2010, 2013

The top seed opens against Next Gen ATP Finals qualifier Hyeon Chung. The 21-year-old South Korean routed German Mischa Zverev on Monday, breaking the serve and volleyer five times to advance 6-0, 6-2.

Nadal, a 10-time champion at Roland Garros, has always reached at least the quarter-finals during the indoors Paris tournament. His best finish came during his debut 10 years ago when he lost in the final against Argentine David Nalbandian.

Rafa at the Rolex Paris Masters

Year

Result

2015

Quarter-finals (l. to Wawrinka)

2013

Semi-finals (l. to Ferrer)

2009

Semi-finals (l. to Djokovic)

2008

Quarter-finals (l. to Davydenko)

2007

Finals (l. to Nalbandian)

It will be Nadal’s first tournament since falling to Roger Federer in the Shanghai Rolex Masters final on 15 October. “I needed to rest after Shanghai. I’ve had a lot of matches this year,” said Nadal, who enters Paris 65-10 on the season, including  which includes six title runs.

Nadal’s long-time rival Federer withdrew from the Rolex Paris Masters on Sunday evening after winning his eighth Swiss Indoors Basel title and 95th career crown.

“After winning Shanghai and winning Basel he believes [missing Paris] will be better for his body and for his preparation for London,” Nadal said.

“I am here to try my best as always and just trying to practise well every day… I am just happy to be here in probably the most important city in my career.”



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