Roger Federer has long remained at the top of the Grand Slam standings: when in 2009 he broke Pete Sampras' previous record, winning his fifteenth Grand Slam, at Wimbledon, at 27, few thought he would ever be reached or surpassed himself.
By that time, then 23-year-old Rafael Nadal had won six Open and 22-year-old Novak Djokovic only one, in Australia, the previous year. Roger won at least one of the four Grand Slam titles up for grabs each year between 2003 and 2010.
However, partly due to his own injuries and partly due to the growth of the two opponents, his trajectory subsequently began to slow down: He won Wimbledon again in 2012, but he hasn't won any of the top four tournaments in the next four years.
When most of the commentators gave him up, he however returned to affirm himself, winning another three Grand Slam titles to reach 20. He Up there seemed unattainable. Except that, in 2019 Rafa and Novak split the four super tournaments; and with Nadal's victory at last year's French Open, Federer found himself in the company at the top of this special classification, for the first time since he had reached Sampras at 14 in 2009.
Boris Becker believes that Rafael Nadal’s shock five-set defeat to Stefanos Tsitsipas at the Australian Open may have dented the Mallorcan's confidence levels for the 2021 French Open.
Becker on Rafael Nadal's loss
According to the German, Rafael Nadal’s defeat exposed some chinks in the Spaniard’s armor that could be exploited at Roland Garros.
"There was definitely some vulnerability in Nadal if we think forward to Paris," Boris Becker stated. The German also pointed out that Nadal’s play style requires an immense amount of physical exertion, which could come back to haunt the Spaniard.
"For the first time I can recall Rafael Nadal looked really tired in that fifth set, he was beaten physically, and the others will have seen that," Becker said. "The Spaniard’s style is so physical that it is going to take a toll.
I am actually surprised that he has played to this incredibly high level for so long." Though Federer isn’t at the top right now, he has been the World No. 1 for a total of 310 weeks, and Djokovic is close behind him at second.
The Serbian has recorded 307 weeks where he’s been the #1 player in the ATP rankings, and can effectively overtake Federer on March 8th, 2021. Novak Djokovic is in sublime form at the moment, and one can definitely expect to see him as the men’s player with the most weeks at No.1 real soon.