By Gary Anderson

January 1 - Japan's Shingo Kunieda finished top of the men's ITF rankings once again in 2013 ©Getty Images Japan's Shingo Kunieda and Aniek van Koot of the Netherlands have been crowned the 2013 men's and women's wheelchair tennis world champions after finishing the year on top of the International Tennis Federation (ITF) world rankings.

Kunieda claims the title for the fifth time after yet another year that saw him rack up a number of victories, including a 14th major win at the Australian Open - one of the three Grand Slam singles finals he reached in 2013.

The 29-year-old won the season-ending NEC Wheelchair Tennis Masters in California, while also taking the doubles title at Wimbledon playing alongside the man he defeated in the Australian Open final, Stéphane Houdet of France.

"I am proud that this marks my fifth time as ITF world champion, which gives me great confidence for the next season," said Kunieda, who also has Paralympic singles gold medals from Beijing 2008 and London 2012, as well as a doubles gold from Athens 2004.

"It is always one of my goals to be world champion, and I will try my best to retain the title next year."

On the women's side, Van Koot was even more dominant, particularly in the major events as she claimed singles titles at the Australian and US Opens, as well as achieving the doubles Grand Slam with compatriot Jiske Griffioen. 

Aniek van Koot (left) finished ahead of Sabine Ellerbrock in the ITF world rankings after claiming two Grand Slam singles titles in 2013 ©Getty ImagesAniek van Koot (left) finished ahead of Sabine Ellerbrock in the ITF world rankings after claiming two Grand Slam singles titles in 2013 ©Getty Images

The double silver medallist from London 2012 was also part of the victorious Dutch squad that took top honours at the BNP Paribas World Team Cup in Antalya, Turkey.

Van Koot and Germany's Sabine Ellerbrock were locked in a see-saw battle all year for the world number one spot, with the German taking the French Open crown.

"Never could I have imagined [being] the best of the world in something," Van Koot said.

"Therefore, it gives me great pleasure that it's in wheelchair tennis, my biggest passion."

Both Kunieda and Van Koot will be presented with their awards at the ITF World Champions Dinner in Paris on June 3, which is due to take place during the French Open.

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