Rafael Nadal's chances of being crowned world number one with a Masters Series title was dashed after he was beaten in straight sets by Nick Kyrgios in the quarter-finals of the Cincinnati Masters on Friday (18 August).
Despite his loss, the Spaniard will be crowned the men's singles world number one when the ATP rankings are recalibrated on Monday (21 August). He will take over the top spot from Andy Murray, who will drop to second just five points ahead of Roger Federer in third.
Nadal will be reaching the summit of the men's singles ranking for the first time since 6 July 2014 and all his opponents on the ATP Tour believe it is well deserved for a player who is dedicated despite struggling with multiple injury issues in recent seasons. Kyrgios even labelled him the 'greatest ever' for his achievements over the last decade.
The 31-year-old is having one of his best seasons on tour in 2017 despite many questioning his ability to return to his best level after having to cut short his 2016 season due to injury. Nadal has won four titles this year including an unprecedented 10th title at Roland Garros and he will be keen to continue the momentum and end the year as the number one. However, Federer is not too far behind and could challenge the 15-time men's singles Grand Slam winner for the top spot.
Kyrgios, Alexander Zverev and Dominic Thiem have given their thoughts on Nadal's latest achievement with all players sharing the same view regarding his rise to number one.
Nick Kyrgios: "He's arguably the greatest tennis player of all time, and sets such a high example of the rest of the players on tour. He's dedicated to the game, second to none...so saving No. 1 is a spot that I think he does deserve," as quoted by Tennis World USA.
Alexander Zverev: "The fighter that he is, even with some body problems, a few injuries, we always knew that he was going to come back so strong. The way he is playing this year is unbelievable."
Dominic Thiem: "The way he came back after having issues in the last season and I think during the clay season this year he was playing maybe his best tennis he ever did, so it's 100% deserved."