Nadal, in the top 10 since April 2005, dropped to 13th after an injury forced him to miss Indian Wells.
Former world number one and 22-time Grand Slam winner Rafael Nadal has dropped out of the top 10 in the men’s tennis world rankings for the first time in almost 18 years.
Nadal has been in the top 10 since April 2005, but on Monday he fell to 13th in the rankings after an injury forced him to miss Indian Wells.
Unable to defend Indian Wells’ 600 points, Nadal dropped four places to 13th in the rankings, ending his record 912-week stay in the top 10, which began when current number one Carlos Alcaraz was still was not two years old.
The 36-year-old’s run came to an end on the same day teenage compatriot Alcaraz reclaimed his number one spot from Novak Djokovic after defeating Daniil Medvedev in the Indian Wells final on Sunday.
Nadal has yet to recover from the hip injury that has plagued him since leaving the Australian Open to Mackenzie McDonald in January.
While the 22-time Grand Slam winner could return to the top 10 once he returns to action, it won’t be in the next month as he has also withdrawn from the Miami Masters.
Rafael Nadal when he entered the top 10 for the first time in 2005: “In the end I’m 18 years old and I’m just trying to enjoy myself on the pitch. I don’t feel the media pressure, I feel like the same man I was 3 months ago when I # I was 56, now I’m #7 and the only thing that changes is a number, everything else is just the same.” pic.twitter.com/GS6pz3CUjR
— The Tennis Letter (@TheTennisLetter) March 20, 2023
In the latest ATP rankings, Djokovic dropped to second, while Medvedev moved from sixth to fifth, Felix Auger-Aliassime from tenth to sixth, Hubert Hurkacz pushed into the top ten as he moved up two places to ninth, while Taylor Fritz dropped from fifth through 10th.
World number four Casper Ruud, who lost to Nadal in last year’s Roland Garros final, said he wouldn’t be shocked if the 36-year-old Frenchman lifted the French Open trophy again.
“It wouldn’t surprise me because he will probably use these weeks and months to prepare for Roland Garros exactly,” Ruud told Eurosport as part of the Ruud Talk series.
“It doesn’t matter if he loses in Monte Carlo, Rome or Madrid. All he’s probably thinking about these days is being fit, healthy and ready for Roland Garros.”
Last year, tennis lost two of its greats when Serena Williams and Roger Federer retired, but Nadal and rival Djokovic are still going strong.
Djokovic, who will turn 36 in May, has shown little sign of slowing down and tied with Nadal on 22 Grand Slams by winning the Australian Open.
“It would be nice for the entire tennis world to see one last showdown at Roland Garros,” said former US Open champion Dominic Thiem, adding that Djokovic would be the favorite to win the remaining Grand Slams this year.
“The only tournament is Roland Garros: if Rafa is fit there, it’s the other way around. He is the man to beat as he won the tournament 14 times, it is crazy.”
1 Carlos Alcaraz (ESP)
2 Novak Djokovic (SRB)
3 Stefanos Tsitsipas (GRC)
4 Casper Ruud (NOR)
5 Daniel Medvedev (RUS)
6 Felix Auger-Aliassime (CAN)
7 Andrei Rublev (RUS)
8 Holger runes (DNK)
9 Hubert Hurkacz (POL)
10 Taylor Fritz (USA)