It’s been an historic last several weeks for Rafael Nadal—he won Roland Garros for the 13th time, tied Roger Federer’s all-time record for most Grand Slam titles, and recorded his 1,000th career win at the Paris Masters. And on Monday, he added another remarkable record to his resume: Nadal is currently spending his 790th consecutive week in the ATP Top 10, breaking Jimmy Connors’ record.
An 18-year-old Nadal made his Top 10 debut on April 25, 2005, rising from No. 11 to No. 7 after winning the first of his now-11 career titles in Barcelona, and he hasn’t left the elite tier since.
During his run to the semifinals of Paris Masters this past week, Nadal was asked how he’s been able to sustain such a high level of play for so long.
“Well, I am proud about a lot of things in my career. Of course I’ve faced issues in terms of injuries during different parts of my career,” he said. “But I always hold the passion and the love to keep doing what I do, which is to play tennis. So I’m proud that even after achieving a lot of things, that in some moments I’ve been able to keep being hungry, to keep going, and to be humble enough to accept the challenges, accept that in some moments things were not going the way that I expected.
“I’ve always had great help from the people around me. Without them, this would be impossible.”
Perhaps even more impressive than the 20-time Grand Slam champion’s extended time in the Top 10 is how many of those 790 weeks were spent in its upper range.
Where Nadal has spent his 790 career weeks in the Top 10:
—209 weeks at No. 1
—351 weeks at No. 2
—57 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
—8 weeks at No. 10
Running the numbers, Rafa has spent 26% of the time at No. 1, 81% of the time in the Top 2 and 93% of the time in the Top 5.
** Nadal’s 790 straight weeks inside the Top 10 does not include the 22 weeks the ATP rankings were frozen due to the COVID-19 pandemic this year, from March 23 to August 23, 2020.