Nadal Returns To ATP World No. 1 Today

Spaniard passes Djokovic for top spot

Spain’s Rafael Nadal today returned to the top of the ATP Rankings for an eighth stint at the pinnacle of men’s professional tennis, exactly 12 months to the day since he completed his 196th and most recent week at No. 1 on 4 November 2018.

As the second-oldest No. 1 in ATP Rankings history (since 1973), after Switzerland’s Roger Federer (aged 36 in 2018), 33-year-old Nadal will now look to stay ahead of Serbia’s Novak Djokovic and finish atop the year-end rankings for the fifth time in his career (2008, 2010, 2013, 2017). Should Nadal clinch year-end No. 1 at the Nitto ATP Finals, he would be the oldest player to do so in history.

“I'm super happy with my season,” said Nadal. “It was a tough beginning but then I was able to find a way to be back playing at a very high level of tennis and be in the situation that I am today. I'm very proud about the year that I am having.”

The Mallorcan first ascended to No. 1 on 18 August 2008 at the age of 22, spending 46 weeks in the top spot until 5 July 2009. He returned to the top spot on six further occasions between 7 June 2010 and 3 July 2011 (56 weeks), from 7 October 2013 to 6 July 2014 (39 weeks), from 21 August 2017 to 18 February 2018 (26 weeks), from 2 April to 13 May 2018 (six weeks), from 21 May to 17 June 2018 (four weeks) and from 25 June to 4 November 2018 (19 weeks).

Nadal, whose eight stints at No. 1 equal the mark of Ivan Lendl, trails Americans John McEnroe (14), Pete Sampras (11), Jimmy Connors (9) for most periods at No. 1. The Spaniard has now been in the top spot at some stage in nine of the past 12 years (2008-11, 2013-14, 2017-19).

Chris Kermode, ATP Executive Chairman and President, said, “Rafa has made a habit of setting the highest of standards throughout his career and his return to No. 1 is just the latest example. It’s an incredible achievement and he continues to amaze with his longevity at the top of the game – many congratulations to him and his team.”

The Spanish superstar, who ended the 2018 season early due to injury, has returned in 2019 playing some of the best tennis of his career. In compiling a 51-6 match record, Nadal has captured four trophies this season, including a historic 12th title at Roland Garros (d. Thiem) in June and a fourth at the US Open (d. Medvedev) in September. He won a ninth Internazionali BNL d’Italia crown (d. Djokovic) in Rome in May and a record-extending 35th ATP Masters 1000 trophy in August at the Coupe Rogers in Montreal. He also reached the Australian Open final (l. to Djokovic) in January and has now contested three Grand Slam championship finals in a calendar year on four occasions (also 2010-11, 2017).

On 11 July, Nadal became the first player to qualify for the 2019 season-ending Nitto ATP Finals. It is the 15th straight year that he has qualified for the elite eight-player tournament.

MOST WEEKS AT NO. 1 IN ATP RANKINGS (since 1973)
A list of the total number of weeks each player has spent at No. 1 in the history of the ATP Rankings (since 1973):

Player Total Weeks At No. 1
Roger Federer (SUI) 310
Pete Sampras (USA) 286
Novak Djokovic (SRB) 275
Ivan Lendl (CZE/USA) 270
Jimmy Connors (USA) 268
Rafael Nadal (ESP) 197 (as of 4 November 2019)
John McEnroe (USA) 170
Bjorn Borg (SWE) 109
Andre Agassi (USA) 101
Lleyton Hewitt (AUS) 80
Stefan Edberg (SWE) 72
Jim Courier (USA) 58
Gustavo Kuerten (BRA) 43
Andy Murray (GBR) 41
Ilie Nastase (ROU) 40
Mats Wilander (SWE) 20
Andy Roddick (USA) 13
Boris Becker (GER) 12
Marat Safin (RUS) 9
Juan Carlos Ferrero (ESP) 8
John Newcombe (AUS) 8
Yevgeny Kafelnikov (RUS) 6
Thomas Muster (AUT) 6
Marcelo Rios (CHI) 6
Carlos Moya (ESP) 2
Patrick Rafter (AUS) 1