Rafael Nadal embraced another season in the top-20 and increased his tally to over 850 consecutive weeks in the mentioned group as the third player after Roger Federer and Jimmy Connors. An 18-year-old Nadal was ranked just outside the top-50 at the beginning of 2005, hampered by injuries in the previous season and determined to show his full potential.
After reaching the Australian Open fourth round, a teenager conquered Costa do Sauipe and Acapulco on his beloved clay in February. Rafa skipped Indian Wells and gathered energy for Miami, where he lost a tight final to Roger Federer after being two points away from victory and the Masters 1000 crown.
On April 4, Nadal cracked the top-20 for the first time and used that boost to conquer Monte Carlo, Barcelona, Rome and Roland Garros. After lifting the first Major crown, the youngster became Roger Federer's closest rival, improving his game on every surface and settling into the top-2.
Nadal has never left the top-20 group after cracking it in April 2005, embracing an incredible streak and becoming the third player since 1973 with 850 consecutive weeks in that company after Jimmy Connors and Roger Federer!
Nadal has never left the top-10 since the end of April 2005, overcoming all the setbacks with injuries, especially in 2015 and 2016, and remaining competitive for over 15 years. Returning stronger in 2017, Nadal returned to the top-2 following the first Roland Garros triumph since 2014 and stayed there until this year when he had to step down due to injuries and only 29 ATP matches.
Rafael Nadal is the third player with 850 consecutive weeks in the top-20.
Nadal will pass Jimmy Connors in less than three months, with the famous American standing on 860 consecutive top-20 weeks between 1973-1990. Roger Federer should leave the top-20 group soon, but he stands too far in front of Rafa after collecting over 1050 consecutive top-20 weeks since April 2001!
Nadal claimed two ATP titles in 2021, dealing with injuries and failing to conquer a Major trophy only for the third year since 2005! Rafa endured all the efforts in Barcelona and Rome to lift trophies and keep himself in the top-10 for the 17th straight season, not playing official matches since August and hoping for a fresh start in 2022.
Nadal currently serves the coronavirus quarantine, and he should travel to Australia after that to compete at the season's first Major.