Rafael Nadal was struggling to shake that end-of-season feeling from his legs, but had enough left in his arms to raise them in triumph after the guarantee that he will finish 2017 as the number one ranked player.
Among his soaring achievements, claiming that distinction for the fourth time will go down as one of his more remarkable.
Packing in a troubled 2016 a month early to rest his troublesome knees, the 31 year-old Spaniard has rebounded to such effect that he will emerge at the top of the pile, regardless of what Roger Federer might do at the Nitto ATP World Tour Finals in London the week after next.
Rafael Nadal will end 2017 as world No 1 after enjoying a brilliant year on the court
He did not quite seal it with a flourish as he was required to eke out a 7-5 6-3 win over 21 year-old, bespectacled Korean Hyeon Chung. But only one win was needed at the Rolex Paris Masters to clinch the position that Andy Murray snatched from Novak Djokovic last year, and a berth in the third round was sufficient to put him out of sight from Federer, his only pursuer.
Nobody can dispute Nadal’s right to be number one this season, even if his win-loss record of 66-10 is not, in percentage terms, as impressive as the 49-4 amassed by Federer.
One could argue that the Swiss’s four