At 33, Nadal is the oldest player to complete 12 months-cease No. 1 inside the history of the ATP Rankings (considering 1973).
Having previously completed at the pinnacle in 2008, 2010, 2013 and 2017, Nadal is the first player to keep, lose and regain the year-give up No. 1 on four occasions. Nadal is also the primary player to finish No. 1 5 times in non-consecutive years.
Rafael Nadal had a very good have a look at the ATP World No. 1 trophy, then held it up earlier than drawing it near and patting it more than one times. Perhaps checking to see if it changed into real. It has been that form of a 12 months.
“A lot of hard paintings,” a misty-eyed Nadal stated, summing up the season wherein he have become the oldest 12 months-give up No. 1. It’s not about the ranking – he has claimed it extra emphatically in the beyond – neither is it about completing within the pinnacle spot for the 5th time in his profession.
It’s now not about longevity either – it’s been 11 years since he first finished a season as No. 1. It’s now not even approximately the 2 Grand Slams – Roland Garros, for an astounding 12th time, and the United States Open – he gained this year, as riveting as that and the spoils have been. It’s now not. It’s approximately what he was given out of. Jailbreak. Mental, physical, emotional. A dark, dank nook in his thoughts, an aching frame and a sagging will. In the spring of 2019, status on his liked pink clay, Rafael Nadal contemplated a sabbatical from tennis.
It started out, however, as maximum matters do, inside the month of January. After sitting out for almost five months, battling some other bout of damage woes – abdomen, hip, proper knee – the 33-yr-antique lower back to competition at the Australian Open. He began well, not dropping a fixed until he encountered a ideal Novak Djokovic in the final, wherein he became sufficiently schooled before a greatly surprised Melbourne Park complete-residence. Nadal received a mere eight games in his worst overall performance in a identify spherical of a prime. He just did not show up.