Rafael Nadal Becomes World No. 1 in Men's Singles at China Open

Joseph ZuckerFeatured ColumnistOctober 5, 2013

BEIJING, CHINA - OCTOBER 04:  Rafael Nadal of Spain celebrates winning against Fabio Fognini of Italy during his men's quarter-final match on day seven of the 2013 China Open at the National Tennis Center on October 4, 2013 in Beijing, China.  (Photo by Feng Li/Getty Images)
Feng Li/Getty Images

There's a new king in tennis, as Rafael Nadal has reclaimed the throne as world's No. 1 in men's singles.

Coming into his match on Saturday against Tomas Berdych in the China Open, Nadal needed a win to unseat Novak Djokovic, via TennisTV.

It turns out that semifinal win came a bit easier than Rafa had probably thought, with Berdych retiring in the first set after going down 4-2.

For many fans, this is a deserved honor for Nadal. Since he made his return at the VTR Open in February, he's been on an unbelievable run. He's run his record to 61-3 on the year and taken home 10 singles titles.

His recovery process is nothing short of amazing. This is a player who was forced to take a break before last year's U.S. Open. Yet, in less than a year, he's regained every bit of his talent and established himself as the best player in the world.

More importantly, he jumped to third in the all-time standings for men's Grand Slam winners after he won the 2013 U.S. Open.

NEW YORK, NY - SEPTEMBER 09:  Rafael Nadal of Spain poses with the US Open Championship trophy next to Novak Djokovic of Serbia as he celebrates winning the men's singles final on Day Fifteen of the 2013 US Open at the USTA Billie Jean King National Tenni
Matthew Stockman/Getty Images

That followed his win at the 2013 French Open earlier in the season.

What was so impressive about that U.S. Open victory was the way he surgically took apart Djokovic, the then-best player in the world. It was a tennis clinic, and despite the Djoker winning the third set, it was never really a match. That final was the perfect proving ground to see who was the true No. 1, and Nadal was miles better than his opponent.

Now that he's become the best in the world again, the next objective for Rafa is to overtake Roger Federer as the man with the most Grand Slam titles.