On Monday, the 20-time Major winner Rafael Nadal celebrated his 6000th consecutive day in the elite top-10 group, a record that will take some beating in the future! Despite numerous injuries and setbacks, Rafa enjoys his 837th straight week in the top-10, entering the group in April 2005 at 18 and never dropping out.
In January, Nadal celebrated his 800th top-10 week, becoming the third player to achieve that after Jimmy Connors and Roger Federer and standing alone on 817 straight weeks in the group after passing Jimmy Connors in May.
The 16-year-old Nadal entered the 2003 season ranked just outside the top-200, playing high-level tennis to pass one rival after another on the ATP ranking list. Despite a nasty injury that halted his progress in the spring of 2004, Nadal won the first ATP title in Sopot in August and helped Spain secure the Davis Cup title at the end of the season, gathering momentum ahead of 2005.
That proved to be Nadal's first great season, reaching the Australian Open fourth round before conquering Costa do Sauipe and Acapulco on beloved clay.
Rafael Nadal is the second player with 817 weeks in the top-10, passing Jimmy Connors.
The best was yet to come for an extraordinary teenager, standing two points away from winning the Miami crown against Roger Federer and lifting the first Masters 1000 trophy in Monte Carlo a few weeks later to write history books.
Hungry for more, Rafa headed to Barcelona with no rest and defeated Juan Carlos Ferrero in the best-of-five final to secure another title and additional 300 points that propelled him into the top-10 for the first time! At 18 years and ten months, Rafa became the eighth-youngest top-10 player since the beginning of the ATP ranking in 1973, joining Aaron Krickstein, Michael Chang, Boris Becker, Bjorn Borg, Mats Wilander, Andre Agassi and Andrei Medvedev.
Nadal has never left the exclusive group, counting one tremendous or at least reliable season after another to gather over 800 top-10 weeks in a unique milestone. In his darkest seasons in 2015 and 2016, Rafa dealt with injuries and stayed away from Major titles, struggling against the rivals from the top and barely keeping himself in the top-10.
Returning at his best in 2017, Rafa has been ranked in the top-6 ever since, joining Federer on 20 Major crowns last October and failing to add more notable titles to his tally this season after struggling with injuries that ruined his season.