Ranking Reaction: Rafael Nadal back up to No. 2 after Barcelona title

Ranking Reaction: Rafael Nadal back up to No. 2 after Barcelona title

The Spaniard was bumped down to No. 3 six weeks ago by Daniil Medvedev, but takes it back from the Russian this week after conquering Barcelona for the 12th time in his career.

Six weeks ago on March 15, 2021, Daniil Medvedev rose from No. 3 to No. 2, ending one of the most incredible records in ATP rankings history—no one outside of Roger Federer, Rafael Nadal, Novak Djokovic and Andy Murray had been ranked in the Top 2 since July 2005, almost 16 years earlier.

This week, Nadal puts an end to Medvedev’s stay in the Top 2, at least for now.

The Spaniard rises from No. 3 back up to No. 2 on Monday’s ATP rankings after winning his first title of the year—and the 87th of his career—in Barcelona. It’s his 12th career title at the ATP 500 tournament, having already won it in 2005, 2006, 2007, 2008, 2009, 2011, 2012, 2013, 2016, 2017 and 2018.

Nadal's 2021 triumph was one of his toughest yet, as he had to save match point to beat Stefanos Tsitsipas in the final, 6-4, 6-7 (6), 7-5, in the longest best-of-three-set match on the men’s tour this year (3:38).

“It’s important for me, it’s important for my confidence, and it’s an important title,” Nadal said of his victory on Sunday. “It’s an important title in my career. Achieving another ATP 500, and a traditional one, one of the best 500s in the history of our sport with big tradition here in Barcelona, it’s great.

“And I have room to keep improving. It was not perfect. I really believe that I can play better, and I hope that the victory today will help me raise my level to fight for the next couple of tournaments.”

Monday marks the beginning of Nadal’s 578th career week inside the Top 2. To put that in perspective, the stretch totals more than 11 solid years of being one of the two best tennis players in the world.

Of those 578 career weeks in the Top 2, he’s spent 209 at No. 1 and now 369 at No. 2.

Barcelona Open Banc Sabadell

This past Sunday was also the 16-year anniversary of Nadal’s Top 10 debut. He cracked the Top 10 for the first time on April 25, 2005 after winning the first of his now-12 career titles in Barcelona and he’s never dropped out, the longest consecutive streak in the Top 10 in ATP rankings history.

Meanwhile, Jannik Sinner, who took out No. 11 Roberto Bautista Agut and No. 7 Andrey Rublev en route to the semifinals in Barcelona before falling to No. 5 Tsitsipas, moved up from No. 19 to No. 18, a new career-high. The 19-year-old Sinner just made his Top 20 debut a week ago, becoming the first Italian teenager to reach the Top 20 in ATP rankings history.

And there was a notable ranking debut on the WTA rankings this week, as Karolina Muchova broke the Top 20 for the first time, rising from No. 22 to No. 20. Though the Czech, who reached her first Grand Slam semifinal at this year’s Australian Open, fell in the first round of Stuttgart this past week, she inched up two spots after two other players—Marketa Vondrousova and Petra Martic—dipped down the rankings.