The 22-time Major champion Rafael Nadal will return to top-2 on Monday, starting his 580th week in the mentioned group and extending the record. Nadal will replace Casper Ruud in the elite group and achieve his highest ranking his May 2021.
Rafa has no points to defend for the rest of the season, and Ruud failed to remain in front of him following the quarter-final loss in Seoul. The Norwegian won the title in San Diego last year and could not defend 250 points, allowing the Spaniard to join his compatriot Carlos Alcaraz at the top.
Nadal will find himself in the top-2 for the first time since turning 35. Rafa will leave Novak Djokovic behind and become the third-oldest top-2 player since 1973. At 36 years and three months, Nadal trails only to Roger Federer ( 37 years two months) and Ken Rosewall (40 years seven months).
The Spaniard missed a chance to become world no. 1 after the US Open for the first time in two and a half years.
Rafael Nadal will become the third-oldest top-2 player.
Still, he suffered the fourth-round loss to Frances Tiafoe and allowed Carlos Alcaraz to take the throne.
The fact that Rafa can return to top-2 over 17 years after cracking the mentioned group speaks enough about his consistency and incredible results at various moments of his career. Nadal claimed 11 ATP titles in 2005, including Roland Garros and four Masters 1000 crowns.
Rafa found himself in the top-2 at the end of July and stayed there for four years. Nadal was back in the top-2 group in 2010, 2011 and 2012 before losing ground a bit. Recovering from an injury, Rafa became the world’s leading player again in 2013 and stayed in the top-2 until the end of 2014.
The Spaniard waited a couple of years to extend his run, struggling with injuries in the following three seasons. Rafa returned to the top in 2017 after an incredible run that saw him winning two Majors. Nadal secured four year-end top-2 honors between 2017 and 2020 to extend his run and become the player with the most weeks in the top-2 since the start of the ranking in 1973.
Rafa could not repeat that in 2021 after playing only 29 matches, struggling with an injury and making a perfect return in 2022. Nadal is 2nd in the ATP Race behind Carlos Alcaraz, hoping to wrap up another season in the year-end top-2 and return where he belongs.
Rafa is unsure when he will compete again, with his wife and him expecting the first child. Also, the Spaniard has been dealing with an abdominal injury since Wimbledon, unable to serve properly and compete at his 100%.