Rafael Nadal matches Andre Agassi and moves closer to Roger Federer
Rafael Nadal has not played since the Australian Open second round, dealing with a hip injury and hoping to return in Monte Carlo or Barcelona. While leaving the top-10 for the first time in almost 18 years, Nadal earned a notable record in the top-100 category.
Nadal is spending his 1019th week in the selected group, becoming the third player who achieved that after Andre Agassi and Roger Federer
. Rafa will start his 1020th top-100 week on Monday, and he still has to remain competitive for almost three years to catch Federer’s 1166!
Rafa cracked the top-100 in 2003, still standing as the last player to achieve that before turning 17 in the past 30 years! In April of that year, the 16-year-old Spaniard found himself in the mentioned group, skipping junior events and preparing to challenge the more experienced rivals on the professional Tour.
Rafael Nadal matched Andre Agassi’s 1019 top-100 weeks.
Entering the 2003 season from outside the top-200, Rafa grabbed 19 Challenger triumphs in the first three months and claimed his first title in Barletta. A teenager reached the third round at his Masters 1000 debut in Monte Carlo in April.
He beat the reigning Roland Garros winner and earned enough points to find himself in the top-100 as the youngest player in that group. Nadal scored two wins in both Hamburg and Wimbledon, advanced into the semi-final in Umag in July and claimed the title in Segovia Challenger to wrap up the season inside the top-50.
At 17 years and six months, Rafa became the fourth-youngest player in that group since 1973 after Michael Chang, Aaron Krickstein and Bjorn Borg! An injury halted Nadal’s progress in 2004. However, he did enough to keep his ranking and prepare for a top-tier chase in 2005.
The Spaniard became world no. 2 that year after conquering the Roland Garros crown and four Masters 1000 titles. It was Rafa’s first notable season, and he remains in the top-20 18 years later. The Spaniard has won 22 Majors and 36 Masters 1000 trophies, rising above all the injuries and setbacks and extending his incredible tennis legacy.
Nadal played only 29 matches in 2021 due to a foot injury. He bounced back in 2022 and claimed the Australian Open and Roland Garros titles to leave Roger Federer and Novak Djokovic behind. Rafa has played only 13 matches since August last year, winning only five and struggling to play at his usual pace.
The Spaniard suffered an early Australian Open loss at the start of 2023 and missed Doha, Dubai, Indian Wells and Miami. Rafa hopes to leave his hip injury behind and compete again in Monte Carlo and Barcelona, although he still can not confirm the return date.