16 YEARS! Rafael Nadal Attains a Prestigious Niche on the Tennis Tour

Published 04/28/2021, 5:31 PM EDT
Tennis – ATP 500 – Barcelona Open – Real Club de Tennis Barcelona, Barcelona, Spain – April 25, 2021 Spain’s Rafael Nadal celebrates with the trophy after winning the Barcelona Open against Greece’s Stefanos Tsitsipas REUTERS/Albert Gea


After finding his feet on clay by winning the Barcelona Open this year, Rafael Nadal is leading the race to the French Open title. But the Mutua Madrid Open poses a solid threat for the Spaniard as Dominic Thiem, Daniil Medvedev, and Alexander Zverev return to fight for the title.

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Rafael Nadal also surpassed Daniil Medvedev to attain become world number two in the latest ATP rankings. The twenty-time grand slam winner also entered his 814th week as an ATP top-10 player.

Tennis – ATP Masters 1000 – Monte Carlo Masters – Monte-Carlo Country Club, Roquebrune-Cap-Martin, France – April 16, 2021 Spain’s Rafael Nadal in action during his quarter final match against Russia’s Andrey Rublev REUTERS/Eric Gaillard
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Rafael Nadal entered the top-10 for the first time in 2005

The Spaniard first entered the top rankings chart back in 2005 and has never been ranked outside the top-10 since. This record speaks volumes of his consistency right from the beginning of his career.

Despite repeated injuries throughout his career, the Spaniard has always found a way to bounce back stronger. Even though he has won more titles on the red-dirt, he is equally impressive on the other two surfaces as well. The record is also a testament to how long Nadal has conquered different generations of players alongside Roger Federer.

Roger Federer and Novak Djokovic fall behind Nadal

The Spaniard first broke into the top-10 at the start of 2005, where he recorded monumental victories at the Australian Open and won 24 consecutive clay-court matches. This incredible run put him at the number 5 spot in the rankings, and he has continued to stay inside the top-10 for 16 years and counting.

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Compared to the Spaniard, both Roger Federer and Novak Djokovic couldn’t maintain their top-10 rankings for long. While Federer stayed in the top-10 for 14 years straight (2002-2016), the Serb managed to stay there for ten years (2007-2017).

Novak Djokovic of Serbia, Rafael Nadal of Spain and Roger Federer of Switzerlan wait to go on stage during the ATP Heritage Celebration at The Waldorf=Astoria on in New York City. (Photo by Matthew Stockman/Getty Images)

Jimmy Connors, the legendary American player, remained in the top-10 for 15 straight years (1973-1988) and is placed behind Rafael Nadal. The Big-3 have continued to stay on top to create astonishing records which seem unlikely to be broken by the next-gen players anytime soon.

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Sagar Ashtakoula

101 articles

Sagar Ashtakoula is a tennis writer at EssentiallySports. He has been following the sport since 2007. Having developed an interest in creating content, he mixed his passion for writing with his love for tennis for 2 years at SportsKeeda before joining the tennis team at EssentiallySports.

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