The Spaniard also qualified for the semifinals of the only major tennis tournament he has never won, with the 27-year-old boasting a career grand slam in addition to an Olympic gold medal.
Since returning to the sport in February after seven months out with a knee injury, the 13-time grand slam champion has won 10 titles in a year which he has described as one of his best.
Beating Wawrinka in London confirmed that he finishes on top of the world for the third time in his career, with Novak Djokovic now forced to settle for second place. The Serbian had held the honor the past two years, while Nadal is the first player to win it back twice.
“A lot of emotions today,” Nadal said following his 7-6 (7-5) 7-6 (8-6) over the Swiss eighth seed. “It’s the perfect scenario to be finally the year-end No. 1 in this fantastic stadium, in front of this unbelievable crowd, so many thanks for making me feel like this.
“This has been an unbelievable comeback year.”
It certainly has.
When he returned to action in Chile in February, Nadal moved so gingerly at times that he felt it better to leave some points as he attempted to protect his troublesome knee.