Rafael Nadal clinches year-end No. 1 ranking after winning 3rd Grand Slam title in 2010

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Rafael Nadal has clinched the year-end No. 1 ranking for the second time in three years.

The 24-year-old Spaniard, who won the French Open, Wimbledon and the U.S. Open in 2010, also finished at the top of the ATP rankings in 2008.

"It has been an incredible season — one of my best ever, if not the best," Nadal said Thursday in a statement. "I worked very hard to get back to the top and it feels really good to know I will end the year as No. 1."

Nadal leads the rankings with 12,025 points, almost 5,000 more than second-ranked Novak Djokovic, who has 7,145. Roger Federer is third with 6,735.

Nadal has won nine major titles in his career and is one of seven men to complete a career Grand Slam. He leads the ATP tour with six titles this year and has a record of 59-7. Since April, he has won 43 of his 46 matches.

Nadal, Federer and Ivan Lendl are the only players to have held, lost and regained the year-end No. 1 spot in the 37-year history of the rankings. Federer did it last year.

Since the rankings began in 1973, only eight other players have finished the year at the top more than once. Of those nine, Nadal, John McEnroe and Jimmy Connors are the only left-handers.