At 36, Rafael Nadal is still ranked in the top-2, over 17 years after cracking the exclusive group in 2005! The Spaniard returned to the top-2 in October and achieved his highest ranking position since May last year. Nadal is the record holder with 584 weeks in the top-2, standing as the third-oldest player after Ken Rosewall and Roger Federer.
Rafa lost the ground a bit in 2021, playing only 29 matches and struggling with injuries. He played only two encounters after the Roland Garros semi-final loss and took a rest ahead of 2022. Rafa made an incredible comeback this year, winning the first 20 matches and securing his first Australian Open crown since 2009!
The Spaniard came from the verge of defeat against Daniil Medvedev in the final to become the first player with 21 Major titles. Rafa fractured his rib in Indian Wells and lost the final to Taylor Fritz. He missed Monte Carlo and Barcelona and did not play at his usual level in Madrid and Rome on his beloved clay.
More importantly, his foot was in pain again, requiring injections ahead of every Roland Garros match. Nadal endured all the efforts to lift his 14th Parisian crown and deliver the 22nd Major trophy. Rafa experienced an abdominal injury at Wimbledon and could not play against Nick Kyrgios in the semi-final.
The Spaniard skipped Canada and played only one match in Cincinnati.
Rafael Nadal is not interested in the No. 1 battle.
Giving his best at the US Open, Rafa fell in the fourth round to Frances Tiafoe, feeling the pain in his abdomen and serving miles below his best.
Thus, the legend missed the opportunity to become world no. 1 again, handing the honor to Carlos Alcaraz. It's Nadal's last singles match so far, and it will change tomorrow at the Paris Masters. The Spaniard returns to action against Tommy Paul, hoping for a good run and a chance to fight for his first Paris Masters title.
Rafa is under 900 points behind Alcaraz on the ATP Race list. Still, he does not think about becoming world no. 1 again, achieving that in 2008 and seven times after that and collecting 209 weeks on the ATP throne. After many injuries, Nadal only wants to play competitive tennis without thinking about ranking.
"To clarify, I will not chase the No. 1 spot in the future. I did that in the past and achieved the goal a couple of times in my career. I'm proud that I'm on the list of No. 1 players, but I can not think about that at this stage of my career. My only goal is to play competitive tennis every time I step on the court," Rafael Nadal said.