The 20-time Major champion Rafael Nadal will drop out from the top-3 on Monday following an early Citi Open loss. The 35-year-old Spaniard celebrated the 650th week in the elite group two months ago, becoming the second player since 1973 to achieve that after Roger Federer.
Still, Rafa will have to raise his level to return to the top-3 again, losing a position to Stefanos Tsitsipas and finding himself in a challenging situation after having a massive number of points to defend in Toronto and New York.
Nadal found himself in the top-3 for the first time after conquering the Roland Garros crown in 2005, just a few days after turning 19. The Spaniard stayed in the exclusive group for over seven years before dropping out in August 2012.
Nadal returned there after a brilliant run in 2013 and remained in the top-3 until April 2015.
Rafael Nadal will drop out from the top-3 after almost 200 consecutive weeks.
Struggling with injuries, the Spaniard experienced a couple of mediocre seasons for his standards and barely stayed in the top-10 in the following two years.
Making a fresh start, Rafa was the player to beat again in 2017, claiming the Roland Garros crown and settling in the top-3 again. After over four years, Nadal will drop out from the mentioned group, struggling with injuries in the current season and winning only two titles in Barcelona and Rome.
Nadal has failed to reach a Major final in 2021, and he skipped Wimbledon due to a foot injury experienced at the Roland Garros semi-final against Novak Djokovic. Rafa had to miss three weeks, and he returned to the practice court in July ahead of this week's Washington debut.
Chasing a good result ahead of Toronto, Nadal faced Jack Sock in the second round and stayed on the court for over three hours to stress his foot even more. Rafa prevailed in the deciding tie break, admitting he is still not at his best but deciding to play in the third round.
Giving his best against Lloyd Harris, Nadal lost 6-4, 1-6, 6-4 in two hours and ten minutes, wasting his opportunities in the final set and getting broken at 4-5 to propel the South African through. Rafa's current top-3 streak was the ninth-longest since 1973, and he is the fourth 35-year-old player in the top-3 after Rod Laver, Ken Rosewall and Roger Federer.