It's hard to believe but there was a time when Rafael Nadal was worried he would never reach No. 1. Ten years ago in 2008, he was chasing down his biggest rival Roger Federer and dealing with Novak Djokovic breathing down his neck.

Despite all the elite competition, the Spaniard, of course, would reach the No. 1 ranking. He first achieved it on August 18, 2008 as a 22-year-old right after winning gold at the Beijing Olympic Games.

Nadal stressed how much more important it is to finish a season at No. 1, something he's done four times. Most recently he capped off his stellar 2017 campaign at the top, at the age of 31. 

"For me personally at my age to finish the year at No. 1 is something very special," he said. 

Nadal is currently ranked No. 1 going into the French Open, where he's seeking his 11th title. 

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