For the first time in a year, Rafael Nadal became world no. 1 last Monday, finally managing to pass Novak Djokovic after consistent results in 2019 and the points Novak lost from the ATP Finals 2018. Rafa had to withdraw from the final Masters 1000 event of the season in Paris before the semi-final clash with Denis Shapovalov, suffering a loss in the first match in London to Alexander Zverev and not looking good to defend the lead in the ATP Race ahead of Djokovic.
Still, Nadal earned a massive record after conquering the ATP throne for the eighth time, becoming the second player after Roger Federer with nine years with at least one week as world no. 1, leaving Jimmy Connors, Ivan Lendl, Pete Sampras and Novak Djokovic on eight!
Between 2004-2012, Federer had missed world no. 1 spot for at least a week only in 2011, staying away from the ATP throne since 2013 until that incredible comeback from an injury in 2017 that helped him to become world no.
1 again in 2018 as by far the oldest player to achieve that. Standing on nine different years with one week at the top of the standings, Roger finally got company last week when Nadal joined him on the list as only the second player, notching his ninth season with no.
1 week on his tally, just before the closing stages and the ATP Finals. In August 2008, Nadal became the 24th no. 1 since 1973, staying there until June 2009 and against between June 2010 and July 2011 when he lost the throne to Djokovic.
The Spaniard got back at the top in October 2013 after one of his best seasons, staying in front until Wimbledon next year and failing to deliver his best tennis in 2015 and 2016. Battling with Roger Federer for ten months between August 2017 and June 2018, Nadal added two more years to his tally and stood on eight before checking 2019 as well in a campaign that saw him winning two Majors and two Masters 1000 crowns.
Novak Djokovic should follow his closest rivals and join them on nine years if he maintains the current level in 2020, hoping to pass Connors, Lendl and Sampras and prove his greatness once again. Also, Nadal should have the opportunity to chase the tenth season with no.
1 result, especially if he goes deep in Melbourne and improve the runs in Monte Carlo, Barcelona and Madrid.