Rafael Nadal breaks Jimmy Connors' record of most consecutive weeks in top 10 of ATP rankings

Rafael Nadal celebrating his title at the 2020 French Open
Rafael Nadal celebrating his title at the 2020 French Open
Namit Kumar
Modified 09 Nov 2020

Roland Garros 2020 was a special and historic occasion for Rafael Nadal. The Spaniard won his record-extending 13th French Open title in Paris this year, simultaneously equaling Roger Federer's all-time record of 20 Grand Slams.

Nadal also broke the record for most Major titles won without dropping a single set. He achieved the feat for the fourth time by winning the final against Novak Djokovic in straight sets, having been tied with Bjorn Borg at three earlier.

On 9 November 2020, the Spaniard will have created another remarkable record. He will have etched his name in the history books once again by becoming the male player to have spent the most consecutive weeks in the world's top 10.

Rafael Nadal's 790 weeks in the top 10 puts Connors and Federer in the shade

Rafael Nadal is ahead of all-time greats like Jimmy Connors, Ivan Lendl, Pete Sampras and Roger Federer
Rafael Nadal is ahead of all-time greats like Jimmy Connors, Ivan Lendl, Pete Sampras and Roger Federer

Rafael Nadal first entered the top 10 of the ATP rankings on 25 April 2005. That was when he was aged just 18, a little over a month prior to his first Grand Slam title at Roland Garros 2005.

The Spaniard has remained there ever since, and on 9 November he will complete a total of 790 weeks. That means he will have broken the record set by American legend Jimmy Connors, who had spent 789 consecutive weeks in the top 10.

The 34-year-old had overtaken Roger Federer's mark of 734 weeks last year to take hold of second place, after his title-winning run at the Rome Masters.

This is a particularly impressive feat by Nadal given how injury-prone he has been throughout his career. A casual fan would have expected the Spaniard to have repeatedly fallen down the rankings due to his frequent injury breaks, but the reality is that Nadal has always produced enough week-to-week consistency to keep his points tally well above par.

Rafael Nadal's other great rival Novak Djokovic spent 555 weeks in the ATP top 10 from March 2007 up until October 2017, before the Serb had an elbow injury that saw him leave the elite group. Djokovic eventually overcame those issues to return to the top of the game, and is currently on track to break another record himself - the most weeks spent as World No. 1.

The World No. 1 has now spent 292 weeks at the top of the men's game, just 18 shy of Roger Federer's record of 310. Djokovic is likely to break the record on 8 March 2021, barring some extraordinary heroics from either Rafael Nadal or World No. 3 Dominic Thiem.

Nadal on his part would now be looking to consolidate his record-equaling triumph at Roland Garros with his first ever title at the Paris Bercy Masters. He would also be aiming to win his first title at the Nitto ATP Finals after that.

Irrespective of his results in Paris and London though, Rafael Nadal has already cemented his status as one of the greatest players to have ever graced the men's game. He now holds the record for Major titles as well as consecutive weeks in the top 10, showing that he is both incredibly dominant and unbelievably consistent.

Published 27 Oct 2020
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