ATP Rankings: Rafael Nadal’s top ten streak to end after Indian Wells

Rafael Nadal unhappy Credit: Alamy
Rafael Nadal unhappy Credit: Alamy

Rafael Nadal is set to drop out of the top ten on the ATP rankings for the first time since April 2005.

Nadal’s close to 18-year streak is the longest period a player has spent in the top ten of the rankings since their inception.

The Raging Bull injured his hip during a second round loss to American Mackenzie McDonald at the Australian Open in January and has been absent from the tour since.

Nadal had looked set to return to action at Indian Wells but after getting back on court in Mallorca, he has opted to withdraw from the event.

His early defeat at the Australian Open saw Nadal drop a stack of points as he failed to defend the title he won in 2022.

Now Nadal is guaranteed to drop out of the top ten after Indian Wells after Taylor Fritz advanced to the Acapulco semi-finals.

Fritz beat Nadal in the Indian Wells final last season but even if he fails to defend his crown he will stay ahead of Nadal once the Spaniard drops the 600 points he earned for his run to the final last term.

Nadal’s 912 consecutive weeks among the top ten gives him a record 124 weeks longer than the previous mark established by Jimmy Connors.

If Nadal is able to engineer a return to the tour for the beginning of the clay swing he could surge right back up into the top five with a few good results.

Last season he missed the Monte Carlo Masters event and the ATP 500 Barcelona Open and also suffered relatively early exits at the ATP 1000 Madrid and Rome tournaments.

Fritz didn’t remark on his role in unseating Nadal after his victory over compatriot Frances Tiafoe in Acapulco.

The American is desperate to ward off his own negative thinking and kick on this year.

“I’m happy with how I played the big points,” said the 25-year-old, who saved all four break points he faced, including three in the second set. “It’s really easy to get frustrated with myself when I’m missing every first serve.

“It’s really easy to get down on myself for that, and I kind of just fought it out, accepted that I’m going to have to play and grind out all these points and I wasn’t going to be getting the amount of free points that I’m used to getting. I’m pretty proud of how I competed through a lot of those long games on my serve.”

Fritz has a Masters title to his name but is still chasing a Grand Slam. He is drawing interest as a potential Wimbledon dark horse but first faces a challenging clay court season.

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