When Rafael Nadal followed Roger Federer's ranking milestone



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When Rafael Nadal followed Roger Federer's ranking milestone

Rafael Nadal has been ranked in the top-20 since 2005, embracing 18 consecutive year-end finishes in the mentioned group. Nadal will celebrate his 900 straight top-20 weeks in two and a half months, joining Roger Federer on that feat.

In December last year, Rafa became the third player with 850 consecutive top-20 weeks, joining Jimmy Connors and Roger Federer on the record that will take some beating in the future. An 18-year-old Nadal stood on the verge of the top-50 at the beginning of 2005.

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, losing a tight final to Roger Federer after being two points away from victory.

Rafael Nadal is the third player with 850 consecutive weeks in the top-20.

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 in the following two months.

The youngster became Roger Federer's closest rival after Paris, settling into top-2. Nadal has never left the top-20 group after cracking it in April 2005. He embraced an incredible streak and became 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 almost two decades. Bouncing back stronger in 2017, Nadal returned to the top-2 following the first Roland Garros triumph since 2014 and stayed there until 2021, when he had to step down due to injuries and only 29 ATP matches.

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.

He did not play after August, taking a rest and bouncing back stronger in 2022. Nadal claimed two Major titles this season, passing Roger Federer and Novak Djokovic and securing another notable season at 36. Rafa could have become world no. 1 after the US Open, but he lost in the fourth round and allowed his compatriot Carlos Alcaraz to take the throne.