Roger Federer and Rafael Nadal are the only players with 800 weeks in the top-5. The Swiss leads the table with 859, and the Spaniard is 22 weeks behind him.. Rafa made a great return to the top in 2017, settling into the top 5 and narrowing the deficit to Roger.
A 22-time Major champion needs six more months in the elite group to catch and pass his great rival, and there is a question mark over that achievement. Nadal has been dealing with injuries for the past two years, bouncing back each time but losing ground since Wimbledon last year.
Rafa’s 837th top-5 week came in the second week of the Australian Open, and he left the group after failing to defend the title at the first Major of the season.. Nadal has played just 13 matches after last year’s Wimbledon, struggling with an abdominal injury and missing out on a chance to become world number one.
1 at the US Open. The Spaniard led the ATP Race after winning the Australian Open and Roland Garros in 2022, but he was unable to maintain that pace after several setbacks. The most recent of his came in the second round of the Australian Open a few weeks ago when he injured his left hip against Mackenzie McDonald.
Nadal suffered a 6-4, 6-4, 7-5 loss, allowed four opponents to pass him on the ATP ranking list and dropped out of the top 5 after more than a year. Rafa suffered a grade 2 iliopsoas injury and will miss six to eight weeks. Thus, the Spaniard could drop out of the top-10 for the first time since April 2005 if he fails to recover until Indian Wells!
Rafa arrived in Melbourne in absolutely no shape, struggling with injury for months and experiencing eight losses in the previous 13 meetings.
Rafael Nadal is 22 weeks in the top 5 behind Roger Federer.
Nadal beat Jack Draper in the first round before falling to McDonald in straight sets, struggling from the start and feeling the pain from the end of the second set.
McDonald played well and stayed focused against an injured opponent to advance to the third round. The Spaniard made his debut in the top 5 after winning the 2005 Masters 1000 in Rome, still 18 years old.. It was Nadal’s second Masters 1000 crown in two months, and he won it following an epic victory over Guillermo Coria in the deciding tiebreak after five hours and 15 minutes.
Rafa became the sixth youngest player in the top 5 since the beginning of the ATP rankings and the first to do so before turning 19 since Michael Chang in 1989! Nadal cemented his position with the first Major crown at Roland Garros in June, becoming the second strongest link on the Tour behind Roger Federer.
The Spaniard stayed in the top 5 for the next ten years, regularly improving his game and becoming one of the most successful competitors. Nadal had to leave the elite group of the top 5 for a year after losing a bit of ground in 2015 and 2016 due to injuries and lack of form.
He returned in April 2017 following the Monte Carlo title and embraced another streak with more than 200 consecutive weeks in the top 5. Nadal battled Novak Djokovic for the ATP throne in 2018 and 2019, improving his streak and approaching the magic number of 800.
Rafa did it in May last week, joining Roger on the list and setting his sights on the Swiss’s record. Nadal has 3100 points to defend in Acapulco, Indian Wells and Roland Garros, which seems unlikely now. However, he can win a lot of points in Masters 1000 clay court events if he gets his form back.
Also, Rafa has almost nothing to defend after Roland Garros, and we could see him back inside the top 5 if he recovers and plays injury-free for the rest of the season.