Rafael Nadal experiences career-worst ranking blow!

Rafael Nadal lost all the points from the previous season

by Jovica Ilic
Rafael Nadal experiences career-worst ranking blow!
© Kim Landy / Stringer - Getty Images Sport

A 22-time Major winner Rafael Nadal dropped out from the top-650 for the first time since May 2002, experiencing his career-worst setback! The veteran lost 200 ATP points for last year's ATP Finals victory over Casper Ruud, losing 420 spots on the list and finding himself with the worst ranking in 21 and a half years!

Nadal has not played since January, experiencing a severe hip injury at the Australian Open and ruining an entire season. Rafa trains hard at home in Mallorca, hoping for a comeback in January 2024 and at least another season on the Tour.

The 15-year-old Nadal entered the ATP ranking list in September 2001. Seven months later, the young Spaniard cracked the top-600 for the first time in May 2002, carving his path toward the top of men's tennis. Rafa stayed in the top-10 for almost 18 years between 2005 and 2023, dropping out in March this year and ending an incredible streak that will take some beating.

Rafael Nadal is world no. 664, losing 420 spots on the list.

Everything worked fine for Rafa early in 2022, winning two Major crowns despite injuries and standing at 22. The Spaniard reached the Wimbledon semi-final despite an abdominal injury, staying away from the court against Nick Kyrgios and losing ground.

Wimbledon remains Nadal's last great run, playing only a couple of tournaments and collecting a few wins. From the ATP Race leader, Rafa lost his form due to physical issues. The Spaniard entered the US Open, having a nice chance to conquer the ATP throne at 36.

Instead, he fell to Frances Tiafoe in the fourth round, still feeling the abdominal pain and gathering dark clouds over his season. Rafa has played only 13 matches since last August, never finding the rhythm and witnessing more blows.

The Spaniard wrapped up the previous season with a victory at the ATP Finals, beating Casper Ruud and keeping those 200 ATP points until this Monday. Instead of a fresh start in 2023, Nadal lost both matches at the United Cup despite taking the opening set.

The defending Australian Open champion gave his everything to play competitive tennis in Melbourne, although he knew it was not enough. Rafa ousted Jack Draper in the first round and faced Mackenzie McDonald in the second. Nadal experienced a severe left hip injury in the second set, refusing to retire but losing after getting broken late in the third set.

The Spaniard revealed a Grade 2 iliopsoas, undergoing surgery a couple of months later and missing the rest of the season. Nadal is currently world no. 664, hoping for a fresh start in 2024.

Rafael Nadal