The ATP rankings had been launched in 1973 and prior to this week only two players had been able to spend 700 consecutive weeks in the Top 10. Jimmy Connors is the ultimate leader with 788 weeks without leaving the Top 10, entering on the very ATP rankings list in August 1973 and staying in the elite group until October 1988 for a week before returning into the Top 10 until April next year, already at the age of 36! Roger Federer has managed to surpass Connors, standing as world number 2 at the age of 37 and holding the leading position in the rankings for six weeks this year as by far the oldest world number since 1973.
Roger had settled into the Top 10 in October 2002 and he stayed in that group for more than 14 years, counting to 734 consecutive weeks in the Top 10 before dropping out to 16th in November 2016 after missing all the action since Wimbledon due to a knee injury.
The Swiss had returned to the Top 10 after winning the Australian Open in January 2017 and he stayed there until now, missing a chance to become the leader in this category because of that injury. Now, Rafael Nadal has joined two legends when the new rankings list came out on Monday, becoming the third player with 700 consecutive weeks in the Top 10 and the last one who can threaten Connors' record in the next 10 years or so! The Spaniard had entered the ATP rankings in 2001 at the age of 15 and he has spent more than 13 of those 17 years in the chosen Top 10 group to catch Jimmy and Roger.
Rafa will need eight and a half months to pass Federer's 734 weeks and almost two years if he wants to attack Connors at the very top. Rafa has been Mr. Consistency year after year, playing well on all surfaces and in almost every part of the season to keep himself safely inside the Top 10, and he was also a Top 5 player in every week for 10 years, which is another remarkable achievement.
The only critical period for the 17-time Grand Slam champion had come in the second part of 2016 when he struggled to make an impression due to injuries (he won just five ATP titles between the Roland Garros 2014 and Monte Carlo 2017) but he managed to survive in the Top 10 and continue his historic streak that has reached a big milestone today.
The players with the most consecutive weeks in the Top 10: