Rafa Nadal makes tennis history with never-before-seen streak

Sam Goodwin
·Sports Editor
·3-min read
Rafael Nadal, pictured here in action at the Paris Masters.
Rafael Nadal in action at the Paris Masters. (Photo by FRANCK FIFE/AFP via Getty Images)

Rafael Nadal has broken the all-time men’s record for consecutive weeks ranked inside the world top-10.

On Monday the Spanish great officially extended his streak to 790 weeks in the top-10, overtaking Jimmy Connors’ record of 789 weeks.

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Nadal first entered the top-10 as an 18-year-old in 2005, rising to World No. 7 after winning the Barcelona title for the first time.

And the 20-time grand slam champion hasn’t left since, staying in the elite tier for over 15 years.

The 34-year-old also recorded his 1000th career victory on the ATP tour last week at the Paris Masters.

He joined Connors (1274), Roger Federer (1242) and Ivan Lendl (1068) as the only players to achieve the feat.

“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 in Paris.

“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.”

Of the 790 weeks Nadal has spent in the top-10, 560 have been at either World No.1 or No.2.

He has spent 26 per cent of that time at No. 1, 81 per cent in the top-2 and 93 per cent in the top-5.

Rafael Nadal, pictured here after winning the 2020 French Open.
Rafael Nadal won his 13th French Open title in October. (Photo by MARTIN BUREAU/AFP via Getty Images)

Nadal falls short of elusive Paris Masters title

Despite his record-breaking feats, Nadal fell short of his first-career title at the Paris Masters.

His run was ended by Alexander Zverev in the semi-finals, who went on to lose to Daniil Medvedev in the final.

It was only the second time that Zverev had prevailed in seven meetings with Nadal after claiming a first straight-sets win over the Spaniard at last season’s ATP Finals in London.

Nadal was appearing in a record-extending 74th Masters semi-final but the 20-times major champion has not had the same fortune on the indoor courts of the city where he has claimed 13 French Open titles on clay.

The World No.2 last featured in a Paris Masters final in 2007 and that unlucky run continued with Zverev's dominant display as the German’s power consistently pushed Nadal onto the back foot.

After Nadal finally claimed a break back into the match at 4-4 in the second set, he shook his head when a drop shot from Zverev clipped the top of the net at 5-5 to allow the German the final break that helped him through to a seventh Masters final.

with AAP

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