Nadal's brilliant act of sportsmanship for opponent

Rafael Nadal has again shown why he's one of the classiest players in tennis with an incredible gesture for beaten opponent Hyeon Chung.

The 31-year-old Spaniard assured himself the year-end World No.1 ranking by beating Chung 7-5 6-3 in the second round of the Paris Masters on Wednesday.

The South Korean World No.55 put up a much fiercer challenge than many were expecting against Nadal, and the Paris crowd showed their appreciation for his efforts as he was leaving the court.

Many spectators gave Chung a standing ovation as he departed, before Nadal produced an incredible display of pure class.

As you can see in the video at the top, the Spaniard actually stopped his celebrations to join the crowd in clapping Chung off court.

It was only a simple gesture but one that not many other players would have taken the time to produce.

They also shared a nice moment at the net. Image: Tennis TV

Nadal only needed one win in Paris to secure the year-end top spot, becoming the oldest man in ATP history to achieve that feat.

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The 16-time grand slam winner had not finished the year at the top since 2013, with Novak Djokovic and Andy Murray doing so after that.

"One year ago, for sure I never dreamed about being No.1 again at the end of the season," Nadal said.

What a champion. Image: Getty

Nadal's comeback from injury, loss of form and confidence, has been remarkable.

He reached three grand slam finals this year, losing to Roger Federer at the Australian Open and winning a 10th French Open title before clinching the US Open for the third time.

"It was impossible for me to think about (being No.1) coming back from a tough period without playing, and with so many injuries in the last couple of years," he said.

"It means a lot. After almost 10 years since the first time."

The only downside to his remarkable season has been always losing to Federer, who leads the ATP Tour with seven titles this year.

Federer has beaten Nadal four consecutive times - not dropping a set in three of them - and the 19-time grand slam champion was in outside contention for the No.1 ranking before pulling out of Paris to focus on the season-ending ATP Finals in London next week.

with AAP