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Rafael Nadal passes Connors for second-most career weeks in ATP Top 10
This week is the Spaniard’s 817th career week in the Top 10, which breaks a tie with Jimmy Connors for second place in ATP history. Roger Federer holds the record with 948 weeks.
Published May 17, 2021
It was an historic week for Rafael Nadal in Rome in several ways. Not only did he conquer the Italian capital for a record 10th time, he also tied Novak Djokovic’s record for most career Masters 1000 titles with 36. And his hard-fought 7-5, 1-6, 6-3 victory over the Serb in the final was his 22nd career win over a reigning No. 1, more than any man or woman in ATP or WTA rankings history.
And a day after achieving all of that, he makes even more history.
On Monday, Nadal kicks off his 817th career week in the Top 10, passing Jimmy Connors for the second-most career weeks in the Top 10 in ATP rankings history. He now trails only Roger Federer.
Top 5 most career weeks in the ATP Top 10, as of the week of May 17, 2021:
948: Roger Federer
817: Rafael Nadal
816: Jimmy Connors
747: Andre Agassi
683: Novak Djokovic
Even more impressively, Nadal’s weeks have all come consecutively. The 34-year-old first broke the Top 10 as an 18-year-old on April 25, 2005, and he hasn’t left the elite group since. His 817 weeks don’t include the 22 weeks when the ATP rankings were frozen in 2020 due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
Connors held the previous record with 789 straight weeks in the Top 10. Nadal toppled the American's mark last fall.
Most of Nadal’s more-than-15-years’ worth of weeks in the Top 10 have been spent near the top, too:
209 weeks at No. 1
369 weeks at No. 2
65 weeks at No. 3
54 weeks at No. 4
66 weeks at No. 5
11 weeks at No. 6
15 weeks at No. 7
7 weeks at No. 8
12 weeks at No. 9
9 weeks at No. 10
He’s spent 26% of the time at No. 1, 71% of the time in the Top 2 and 79% of the time in the Top 3.
In two weeks, the Spaniard will kick off his quest for an unprecedented 14th Roland Garros title. Not that his 13 titles there aren’t already unprecedented—no one else has ever won the same major that many times, and no one in the Open Era has even won the same tour-level event that many times.
“It’s always a very special place for me. Everybody knows that probably it’s the most important place in my tennis career,” he said after his win in Rome. “Well, I need to go back home. I need to rest a little bit. I played a lot of hours this week. So a couple of days off, and then start working. I think I can work in a couple of things that I can do a little bit better, or I can keep confirming that I am on the way.
“I think I have been improving this week, but I need to keep going with that improvement, because when you improve and you’re able to do it every day for longer time, then it’s more confidence, and you feel more confident and more safe, no, that you want to do it on the next tournament.
“So I just need to keep going. I know what I need to work on for the next couple of weeks, and I’m going to do it. That’s it, no? Work, relax mentally, and work the right way.”