A couple of weeks before turning 36, Rafael Nadal is still ranked inside the top-5! Rafa is the fourth-oldest top-5 player since 1973 after Ken Rosewall, Roger Federer and Rod Laver, keeping his game on a high level at this stage of his career and fighting for notable titles. This week, Rafa celebrates a massive ranking milestone, becoming the second player in the ATP rankings history with 800 top-5 weeks behind Roger Federer. The Spaniard made a top-5 debut after winning the Masters 1000 event in Rome in 2005, still at 19. It was Nadal’s second Masters 1000 crown within two months, and he earned it following an epic victory over Guillermo Coria in the decisive tie break after five hours and 15 minutes. Rafa became the sixth-youngest top-5 player since the start of the ATP ranking and the first to achieve that before turning 19 since Michael Chang in 1989.
Rafael Nadal is the second player with 800 weeks in the top-5.
Nadal cemented his position with the first Major crown at Roland Garros in June, and he soon became the second-strongest link on the Tour behind Roger Federer. The great Spaniard stayed in the top-5 for the next ten years, improving his game regularly and becoming one of the most accomplished competitors of all time. After losing ground a bit in 2015 and 2016 due to injuries and lack of form, Nadal had to leave the elite top-5 group for some 50 weeks. He returned in April 2017 following the Monte Carlo title and embraced another streak with over 200 consecutive weeks in the top-5.
Nadal battled with Novak Djokovic for the ATP throne in 2018 and 2019, improving his top-5 run and moving closer to the magical number of 800. Rafa started the 2021 season ranked 2nd, but he could not follow his pace from the previous years. After a couple of injuries and ups and downs, Rafa could not keep the ranking position from the beginning of the year, falling out from the top-5 after the US Open. Also, the Spaniard played only two matches after Roland Garros, struggling with a foot injury and skipping the last part of the season. Nadal made a perfect return at the beginning of the current season, regaining his top-5 position following the Australian Open crown and 20 wins from the opening 21 matches. Iy was enough to reach 800 weeks in the top-5, and Rafa will now try to match Roger Federer’s record of 859.