Rafael Nadal moves closer to Andre Agassi. Will he match Roger Federer?
by JOVICA ILIC | VIEW 12680
Rafael Nadal is spending his first week outside the top-100 since April 2005! A 22-time Major has played only 13 matches after the last year's Wimbledon, losing a massive amount of points and leaving the exclusive group after almost 18 years.
However, Nadal continues his other streaks while trying to regroup his game at the upcoming Masters 1000 event in Monte Carlo. Rafa is spending his 1018th week in the top-100, moving one behind Andre Agassi and preparing to match the American the following Monday.
Nadal will soon become the second player with 1020 top-100 weeks, but he remains far behind the record-holder Roger Federer, who collected 1166 top-100 weeks. Rafa cracked the top-100 in 2003, still standing as the last player to achieve that before turning 17 in the past 30 years!
The 16-year-old Spaniard found himself in the mentioned group in April 2003, skipping junior events and preparing to challenge the more experienced rivals on the professional Tour.
Rafael Nadal stands one top-100 week behind Andre Agassi.
Entering the 2003 season from outside the top-200, Rafa grabbed 19 Challenger triumphs in the first three months and claimed his first title in Barletta.
A teenager reached the third round at his Masters 1000 debut in Monte Carlo in April. He beat the reigning Roland Garros winner and earned enough points to find himself in the top-100 as the youngest player in that group. Nadal scored two wins in both Hamburg and Wimbledon, advanced into the semi-final in Umag and claimed the title in Segovia Challenger to wrap up the season inside the top-50.
At 17 years and six months, Rafa became the fourth-youngest player in that group since 1973 after Michael Chang, Aaron Krickstein and Bjorn Borg! An injury halted Nadal's progress in 2004, but he did enough to keep his ranking and prepare for a top-tier chase in 2005.
The Spaniard became world no. 2 that year after conquering the Roland Garros crown and four Masters 1000 titles. It was Rafa's first notable season, and he remains in the top-20 18 years later. The Spaniard has won 22 Majors and 36 Masters 1000 trophies, rising above all the injuries and setbacks and extending his career and an incredible tennis legacy.
Nadal played only 29 matches in 2021 due to a foot injury. He bounced back in 2022 and claimed the Australian Open and Roland Garros titles to leave Roger Federer and Novak Djokovic behind. As we already said, Rafa has played only 13 matches since August last year, winning only five and struggling to play at his usual pace.
The Spaniard suffered an early Australian Open loss and missed Doha, Dubai, Indian Wells and Miami. Rafa hopes to leave his hip injury behind and compete again in April in Monte Carlo and Barcelona.