Rafael Nadal ranking drops to 5th

PARIS -- Eight-time French Open champion Rafael Nadal drops from No. 4 to No. 5 in the ATP rankings this week, swapping places with David Ferrer, the man he beat in the Roland Garros final.

Nadal only retained the ranking points he earned by winning last year's French Open, while Ferrer gained points by reaching his first Grand Slam final.

"Yeah, it's strange, no? I lost the final against Rafael, but tomorrow I am going to be No. 4 and him No. 5," Ferrer joked after Sunday's play. "I prefer to win here and to stay No. 5."

Novak Djokovic remains No. 1 on Monday, followed by No. 2 Andy Murray and No. 3 Roger Federer.

French Open champion Serena Williams increased her lead at No. 1 in the WTA rankings, while the runner-up, 2012 winner Maria Sharapova, fell from No. 2 to No. 3, trading spots with Victoria Azarenka.

Nadal's Grand Slam title total stands at 12, tied with Roy Emerson for the third most in the history of the men's game, behind only Federer's 17 and Pete Sampras' 14. He is 59-1 in the French Open, with four titles in a row from 2005-08 and another four in a row from 2010-13, and the only man to claim eight titles at the same major tournament.

Nadal now shifts his focus to grass. He's done well at Wimbledon, winning it in 2008 and 2010, and losing in the final to Federer in 2006-07 and to Djokovic in 2011.

A year ago, though, Nadal exited in the second round against Lukas Rosol, who was ranked 100th at the time. That would be the last match Nadal played for about seven months because of a painful left knee, an absence that saw him skip the London Olympics, the U.S. Open and the Australian Open and is the reason he's ranked No. 5 this week, not higher.

"Some weeks I didn't feel well, but the last couple of weeks I start to feel ... better," Nadal said Sunday. "I am still going week by week, day by day."

He usually likes to prepare for Wimbledon by playing in another grass-court tournament during the week right after the French Open. But this time, Nadal chose not to, withdrawing from the field in Halle, Germany, and opting for rest, instead.

"That's not the ideal situation before a Grand Slam like Wimbledon that is on grass," Nadal said. "The conditions are very different."

Nadal said he will head to the practice court, to keep on getting better, just as he's done for years.

His serve used to be a real weakness, for example, so Nadal and his uncle and coach Toni studied ways to speed it up and add variety.

At first, he found grass to be problematic, but his accomplishments at Wimbledon are ample proof that he figured out a way to overcome that, too.

"You can improve always, in every way," Nadal said. "And in tennis, for sure, you can keep improving."

Information from The Associated Press was used in this report.

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