It’s never been done before. Rafael Nadal has already broken so many records, and today is another one. He has achieved something that no other player has ever achieved before: After the 2000s and 2010s, he is now at the top of the 52-week world rankings for the first time in the 2020s.
Unique: Rafa now leads the world rankings in the third decade
He has long been one of the greatest of all time, and is already close to Roger Federer, the All-Time-No.1. But today is a historic date, and the 33.5-year-old has achieved something that no one else has ever achieved before: Rafael Nadal now leads the tennis world rankings in the third decade.
On August 18, 2008, after being No. 2 behind Federer without interruption for more than three years (since July 2005), he climbed to the top of the 52-week ATP ranking for the first time at the age of 22.2. He finished the years 2008, 2010, 2013, 2017 and 2019 as the world No. 1, so like Federer and Djokovic, he was player of the year five times. (Pete Sampras even managed this feat six times, from 1993 to 1998 non-stop). Since today, however, Nadal is at the top of the table for the first time in the 2020s, after the 2000s and 2010s. That is unique!
206th week on place 1 in ATP ranking
Rafa will hold this position for the next few weeks until at least the beginning of February. The year 2019 was once again extremely successful for the exceptional player, who won two of the four Grand Slam tournaments (A), the French Open in June for the twelfth time – also the unique world record! – and won the US Open in September for the fourth time, as well as winning the Davis Cup for the fifth time with Spain at the end of November (see cover picture).
All in all, it is the 206th week on the ATP ranking for the Spaniard, who is currently serving his country again at the ATP Cup in Australia. Hardly any other player likes to compete for his country as much and as successfully as Nadal. 30 times he played a singles match for Spain in the Davis Cup, 29 times he won. He only lost his very first match in February 2004 when he was 17 years old, then never again.
In Australia, the reigning world No. 1 started the new decade successfully after his five individual wins at the Davis Cup in November with two wins over the Georgian Nikoloz Basilashvili (No. 26) and against Puablo Cuevas (No. 45) from Uruguay. At the first-ever ATP Cup, Nadal can even increase his score a little, as he did not play in a tournament 52 weeks ago and therefore has no points to defend.
Congratulations, Rafa, for this unbelievable achievement now in the third decade that has just begun! May a few more good years follow. It would be to wish the tennis sport, for which you have done so incredibly much.
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