Cape Town - Rafael Nadal has lost his world number one spot, as a consequence of his quarter final defeat at the Madrid Open.
Nadal needed to win in the Spanish capital to remain in top spot, but he suffered a straight sets defeat to Dominic Thiem - bringing an end to his record 21-match unbeaten run on clay.
That will see Roger Federer - who is sitting out the clay court season - become world number one again, for the 309th week of his career.
However, Nadal has an immediate chance to regain his ranking, if he triumphs at next week’s Italian Open. The 36-year-old has crashed out in the quarter finals there in each of the last three years, but has previously won the title on seven occasions.
Nadal remains confident on his favourite surface, despite having no complaints about the outcome of his tussle with Thiem.
“I am playing against one of the best players in the world and we were playing in special conditions – the ball flies more here and I was not under control of the point,” the Spaniard told atptour.com.
“I tried to come back but I wasn’t good enough today. I think I’ve placed myself in a good position. I still have two good weeks on clay then I’ll keep moving forward.”