Nadal did all he could to catch Djokovic and retake the No. 1 ranking, winning his 13th Grand Slam title with a 6-2, 3-6, 6-4, 6-1 win Monday over Djokovic in the U.S. Open final.
He was brilliant over the course of the U.S. Open in extending an amazing year. He lost his serve four times -- three times to Djokovic -- in seven matches. He is 60-3 on the year with 10 tournament championships and two seconds in 13 appearances.
Djokovic, who has been No. 1 for the last 46 weeks and 99 weeks overall, was assured of keeping the top ranking when he won his semifinal Saturday against Stanislas Wawrinka but Nadal has pulled within 120 rankings points of the No. 1 ranking.
A change at the top could come soon. Djokovic's next two tournaments are the China Open and Shanghai Rolex Masters -- events he won last year. He can only keep his ranking point total from falling. Nadal sat out the second half of 2012 with a knee injury so he'll gain points in every tournament he enters.
Eight of the Top 10 players -- all but Juan Martin del Potro, who lost in the second round, and Jo-Wilfried Tsonga, who missed the tournament with an injury -- reached at least the fourth round at the U.S. Open. That means there was only one change in the top tier of the rankings. Federer passes del Potro for the No. 6 spot in the rankings; del Potro is seventh.
No. 3-ranked Andy Murray joined Djokovic and Nadal as qualifiers for the yearend Barclays ATP World Tour Finals. The other five spots in the invitation-only event are still up for grabs.
There are no ATP tournaments this week as the tour steps aside for the Davis Cup semifinals. Canada travels to Serbia and Argentina plays at the Czech Republic in best-of-five series Friday through Sunday.
The ATP Top 10, listing player's name, home country, rankings points and U.S. Open result:
1, Novak Djokovic, Serbia, 10,980, runner-up
2. Rafael Nadal, Spain, 10,860, champion
3. Andy Murray, Great Britain, 7,060, quarterfinals
4. David Ferrer, Spain, 6,850, quarterfinals
5. Tomas Berdych, Czech Republic, 4,535, fourth round
6. Roger Federer, Switzerland, 4,515, fourth round
7. Juan Martin del Potro, Argentina, 4,425, second round
8. Jo-Wilfried Tsonga, France, 3,425, did not play, injury
9. Richard Gasquet, France, 3,165, semifinals
10. Stanislas Wawrinka, Switzerland, 3,150, semifinals