Tennis: Rafael Nadal and Garbine Muguruza crowned ITF world champions - the first Spanish double act in 19 years

Rafael Nadal and Garbine Muguruza were named the ITF world champions on Dec 8, 2017.
Rafael Nadal and Garbine Muguruza were named the ITF world champions on Dec 8, 2017.PHOTOS: REUTERS

LONDON (REUTERS) - Spaniards Rafael Nadal and Garbine Muguruza were named as the International Tennis Federation (ITF) world champions on Friday (Dec 8) - the first time in 19 years the awards have gone to players from the same country.

Nadal, who claimed the honour for the third time, made a sensational comeback from an injury-plagued 2016, winning a 10th French Open title and the US Open to take his Grand Slam haul to 16, three behind Roger Federer who also won two of the year's Majors after returning from injury.

The 31-year-old Mallorcan ended the year as world No. 1, although he pulled out of the season-ending ATP Finals in London due to a knee injury.

Muguruza won the ITF award for the first time after capturing the Wimbledon title and ascending to the world No. 1 ranking for the first time.

She ended the year ranked No. 2 behind Romania's Simona Halep who is still chasing a first Grand Slam title.

The last time two players from the same country scooped the awards was in 1998 when Americans Pete Sampras and Lindsay Davenport took the honours.

Lukasz Kubot of Poland and Marcelo Melo of Brazil won the men's doubles award while Chan Yun-Jan of Chinese Taipei and the recently-retired Martina Hingis of Switzerland claimed the women's equivalent.