Rafael Nadal joins Roger Federer on milestone ranking

Rafael Nadal turned 36 a month ago. The Spaniard claimed his 22nd Major crown a few days later, conquering Roland Garros for the 14th time and hoping for more of the same at Wimbledon. Dealing with an abdominal injury, Rafa secured five victories in London before withdrawing ahead of the Nick Kyrgios semi-final clash.

There were no points at this year’s Wimbledon, and the players could not defend what they earned 12 months ago. Nadal did not play at Wimbledon in 2021 due to a foot injury, and he took advantage of Novak Djokovic’s bizarre situation to gain a place on the ranking list.

Novak defended the Wimbledon crown, lost 2000 points and dropped four spots on the list, falling from third to seventh. Thus, Rafa moved from fourth to third and entered the top-3 despite playing only eight tournaments in the previous 12 months!

At 36 years and one month, Nadal is the fourth-oldest top-3 player since the start of the ATP ranking in 1973.

Rafael Nadal is the fourth-oldest top-3 player.

Ken Rosewall and Rod Laver were ranked in the top-3 in 1975 at 40 and 36, respectively.

Roger Federer joined the Aussie legends in 2020, remaining in the top-3 until February and standing second on the list at 38 years and six months. Rafa has entered the charts as the fourth 36-year-old on this exclusive list, struggling with injuries but still claiming two Major titles this year.

The Spaniard cracked the top-3 after his first Major title at Roland Garros 2005, and he is still among the world’s best players 17 years later. Staying in the top-3 until 2012, Rafa lost ground due to injuries. He made another big push before massive problems in 2015 and 2016 when he barely stayed in the top-10.

Nadal was back at his best from 2017, regaining his Roland Garros dominance and claiming three more Parisian titles in 2018, 2019 and 2020. Rafa started the 2021 season ranked 2nd, but he could not stay there for the entire year after playing only 29 matches .

The king of clay worked hard to claim titles in Barcelona and Rome, hoping for more at his beloved Roland Garros. The Spaniard reached the semi-final and faced Novak Djokovic in a blockbuster clash. The Serb prevailed after four hours and 11 minutes, and Nadal struggled with foot pain.

He played only two more matches at the end of the season and dropped out from the top-3 in August. Rafa made a perfect return at the beginning of 2022, claiming his second Australian Open title and extending his run at Majors with the 14th Roland Garros crown.

Nadal currently leads the ATP Race and will try to stay there for the rest of the season despite numerous setbacks with injuries.

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