After Roger Federer’s retirement, another reign in men’s tennis is coming to an end. On March 20, at the end of the Indian Wells Masters, Spaniard Rafael Nadal will be excluded from the top 10 players in the world for the first time in … 18 years.
Those eighteen consecutive years in the top ten on the planet is an unprecedented mark in men’s tennis. Nadal made it 912 weeks in the Premier League, far ahead of American Jimmy Connors, who spent 789 weeks between 1973 and 1988.
In fact, in April 2005, when the man with 21 headlines entered the top 10 there, the iPod nano hadn’t even been released yet.
Only Navratilova is ahead of him
Federer, has been in the top 10 for 742 consecutive weeks, between 2002 and 2016. And all races combined, only one athlete is ahead of Nadal on this longevity list: American Martina Navratilova, who has remained in the top 10 for… 1,000 A week in a row, Tennis.com reports.
Nadal’s extraordinary feat with weapons did not go unnoticed. After being defeated in the semi-finals in Dubai, his biggest rival, Serbian Novak Djokovic, confirmed his great stability, despite a career that was often slowed down by serious injuries.
“I fully respect him, and pay tribute to the world number one, who, for his part, spent 555 consecutive weeks in the top ten between 2007 and 2017. To be in the top ten for almost 20 years is simply amazing.”
“It speaks to the quality of his tennis and his consistency throughout the year. He plays well on all surfaces,” added Djoko.
He injured his leg in his second round loss at the Australian Open to American Mackenzie McDonald in January, and Rafa still does not know when he will be able to resume competition.
The Spaniard, currently eighth in the world, will drop to ninth on Monday. He’s already guaranteed to skip Indian Wells, which starts next week, as well as the Miami Masters at the end of the month.
This is the first package that will hurt his ranking the most. A year ago, “Rafa”, then all the fire and all flame at the start of the season, was aiming to win the fourth consecutive title in California. Nadal reached the final, where he was beaten by American Taylor Fritz.
On March 20, the 36-year-old is certain to lose the 600 points associated with this final and find himself, at best, 11th in the world.