Rafael Nadal has achieved another milestone in the rankings on Monday, becoming the third player with 816 weeks in the top 10. Roger Federer is the group leader with 946 weeks (helped a lot by the protected ATP ranking during the pandemic), with Nadal matching Jimmy Connors for second place.
The American had 816 weeks in the elite group, and the Spaniard will advance him by seven days to be only behind Federer. Nadal reached the top 10 in April 2005, still 18 years old. Sixteen years later, the 20-time Major champion is still among the best players in the world, celebrating the 800th consecutive week in the top 10 in January as the first player to do so!
The 16-year-old Nadal entered the 2003 season ranked just outside the top 200, playing top-level tennis to maintain meteoric progress on the ATP rankings list. After 19 Challenger wins (title at Barletta and three finals) and a third round appearance in Monte Carlo, Rafa entered the top-100 in April and stayed on a steady course in the following months to find himself in the top-100.
50 in August. Despite a serious injury that stopped his progress in the spring of 2004, Nadal won the first ATP title in Sopot in August and helped Spain claim the Davis Cup title at the end of the season, gaining momentum before 2005.
That turned out to be Nadal's first big season, competing in the fourth round of the Australian Open before conquering Costa do Sauipe and Acapulco on beloved clay. Superstar footballer Lionel Messi and tennis legend Martina Navratilova extended their congratulations to Rafael Nadal after the latter won the 2021 Laureus World Sportsman of the Year Award on Thursday.
Navratilova talks about Rafael Nadal
"Hi Rafael Nadal. I just wanted to congratulate you on this award which is obviously more than deserved," Lionel Messi said. "I would also like to say that you are an example to everyone because of your hard work, your perseverance and for being at the highest level for so many years.
And I wanted to send you warm regards." Martina Navratilova, meanwhile, penned a heartfelt congratulatory message to Rafael Nadal, lauding him for his unparalleled levels of commitment and professionalism. "What can I say to you that hasn’t been told to you by countless others?" Navratilova said.
"But, for me, watching you play, watching you compete for every point as if it is match point, your total and utter commitment to the sport, your professionalism is off the charts. People will be writing books about you so that they can teach others to do what you have done so well for, now almost 20 years," she added.
"So I salute you, I respect you, I love watching you play and I hope you never quit so you can win, maybe 30 Roland Garros titles. Anyway, congratulations."