The No. 1 ranking was a special way for Rafael Nadal to cap a successful season in which he won two Grand Slam titles and two Masters events.
The Spaniard said he was a little surprised to finish at the top because he had decided not to chase the ranking. He limited his tournament play to avoid further wear and tear and considered taking a break midway through because of injuries. He first finished No. 1 in 2008, and has done it five times during his career.
"Yeah, super happy for everything, honestly. Have this trophy with me with this big gap between the first time until today, 11 years, is a big thing," he told press at London. "Of course the team and the family played a very important role this year, even more than other times because have been some tough moments at the beginning of the season."
The 33-year-old, who took a break to get married a month ago, had consistently good performances—reached the semifinals or better in 11 events.
"I'm going to do my normal calendar, because you have to make decisions to try to play as long as possible or to try to fight for No. 1," he said. "But the thing is when I have been playing, I have been playing very well.
"So that's why I'm put in a position that I am where I am today, having this trophy with me. I achieved almost every single time the last rounds of every tournament."
Nadal equals his two biggest career rivals by finishing No. 1 for a fifth time, saying injury has prevented him from competing for it at other times.
"No, no, for me, of course it's important to share five years each other with Novak and with Roger," he said, "but at some point I feel that I have been in a position that I had big chances to be the year No. 1, and I got injured, a long injury.
"Because I remember 2012, for example, I have been playing great, and I have been in a position that I think I was playing great since Roland Garros... I had to stop for eight months for my knee. Then in 2009 something similar happened."
Nadal is also the oldest player to finish the season at the top of the rankings. The No. 1 is next competing for Spain at this week's Davis Cup finals.