On April 25, 2005, Rafael Nadal debuted as a member of the Top-10 of the ATP Ranking. Just one day after beating Juan Carlos Ferrero in the final of the Barcelona Open Banc Sabadell, the then 18-year-old southpaw moved up four spots to No.7 in the rankings, becoming the eighth youngest player in the history of the ATP Rankings to debut in the Top-10, and the youngest to achieve it since Andrei Medvedev in 1993.
It is the 17th anniversary of that feat. And there are several factors that surprise. The one that does not stop dazzling is that, since then, Nadal has not left the Top-10. No man has been able to add so much time in this area of the ladder.
This Monday, the same day that Carlos Alcaraz also makes his Top-10 debut, the 35-year-old southpaw marks 866 consecutive weeks inside the top ten. The current World No. 4, who will return to action from May 1 at the Mutua Madrid Open, has been in each of the boxes of this select group, with No.
2 being the position he has held the most. He has been No. 2 for 370 weeks in his career, a record in the history of the ATP Rankings. And of those 370 weeks, 160 were consecutive just before he rose to No. 1 for the first time, on August 18, 2008.
As the leader of the ranking, he has 209 weeks, which is the sixth best record in history. But if you add his time as No. 1 and No. 2, we are talking about Rafa being the player with the most weeks in the Top-2 in the history of our sport.
There have been 579 in total, surpassing Roger Federer's 528 and Novak Djokovic's 514. But what is most surprising is that this anniversary comes at a special moment for Nadal in his career, after adding his 21st Grand Slam title to the Australian Open and winning his first 20 matches of the year to sign the best start season of your life.
Mouratoglou opens up on Nadal
Patrick Mouratoglou recently took to Instagram to explain three changes he feels Rafael Nadal has made to his game over the years. "In 2005, Rafael Nadal won his first Grand Slam title. He emerged with his own unique gamestyle, standing far behind the baseline and adding crazy spin to every shot.
With this game, he became the king of clay," Mouratoglou said. "Now, he is not just a clay specialist. He's leading the race in terms of Grand Slams won. How did he adapt his game to winning on faster surfaces?" According to the Frenchman, the 35-year-old is looking to keep the rallies as short as possible so he can conserve his energy.
"First, Rafa's game has become more and more aggressive. Early in his career, he would win games by forcing long rallies from baseline," Mouratoglou said. "Now he is looking to step inside the court more, take control of the points and shorten the rallies to conserve energy."