Rafael Nadal’s incredible top-10 run will end after Indian Wells and the Spaniard will drop out from the elite group for the first time after almost 18 years, setting the record, according to Tennis World.
Novak Djokovic was quoted praising his great rival, saying his consistency is ‘unheard of’ while lauding Rafa’s ability to overcome injuries and lengthy breaks and remain in the selected group, playing well on every surface and producing high-level tennis.
Nadal first entered the top-10 at age 18 in April 2005 following his first Barcelona Open title. The Spaniard has always remained in the group, setting an incredible record despite many setbacks, wrote Tennis World.
After two barren years in 2015 and 2016, failing to fight for notable titles, Nadal barely clung to his top-10 position due to injuries and a lack of form. Nadal returned to his best in 2017, claiming more Major titles and is poised on 22, sharing the record with Djokovic.
I am sad that I won’t be able to compete at Indian Wells nor Miami.
Very sad not to be there. I’ll miss all my US fans but I hope to see them later this year during the summer swing. pic.twitter.com/v6dsf1ayTI
— Rafa Nadal (@RafaelNadal) February 28, 2023
He has been dealing with a couple of major injuries over the last 12 months, losing ground despite his Roland Garros title and dropping out from the top-10. Nadal fractured his left rib at the last year’s Indian Wells and experienced ongoing pain in his left foot during the clay swing, as per Tennis World.
He shrugged it off to claim his 14th Roland Garros crown, extending his incredible legacy and reached the Wimbledon semi-final and withdrew due to a seven-millimeter abdominal tear that ruined his season.
Nadal played only nine matches by the end of the year and experienced four straight losses for the first time since 2009, Tennis World wrote. Wishing for a fresh start in 2023, Rafa delivered one victory at the Australian Open before injuring his left hip in the second round, Tennis World listed.
Having missed all the action in February and March, Nadal is expected to return in Monte Carlo or Barcelona in April. “It’s incredible consistency. Rafa has been well-known for that over the years. Yeah, I have total respect for him. Staying in the top-10 for almost 20 years is unheard of, and it speaks about the quality of his tennis and consistency throughout the years on every surface. Rafa had to deal with injuries, and they sometimes sidelined him for six months. However, he would always manage to stay at the top,” Novak Djokovic was quoted by Tennis World.