Rafael Nadal’s staggering tennis streak comes to an end

Publish Date
Tuesday, 21 March 2023, 10:02AM

Rafael Nadal has dropped out of the world’s top 10 men’s tennis rankings for the first time in almost 18 years.

The Spaniard has been in the top 10 ever since April 2005, but in the new rankings this week fell to 13th after injury forced him to miss Indian Wells.

The last time Nadal wasn’t in the top 10, Moonshine by Savage (feat. Akon) was atop the New Zealand music charts while Star Wars Episode 3: Revenge of the Sith was still a month away from being released at the movies.

Carlos Alcaraz returned to No. 1 in the ATP rankings, replacing Novak Djokovic.

Alcaraz rose one spot, swapping places with Djokovic, a day after ending Daniil Medvedev’s 19-match winning streak by beating him in straight sets in the final at Indian Wells, California. Alcaraz, a 19-year-old from Spain who first ascended to No. 1 by winning the U.S. Open in September, didn’t drop a set in the hard-court tournament.

Djokovic has spent more weeks at No. 1 than any man or woman in tennis history. He did not play in Indian Wells because he is not allowed to enter the United States as a foreign citizen who is not vaccinated against COVID-19. He also will miss the Miami Open that begins this week; Alcaraz is the defending champion there.

Nadal’s run in the top 10 was the longest such run in the ATP; Jimmy Connors is next on the list with about 15 years.

Djokovic and Nadal currently share the men’s record of 22 Grand Slam singles titles.

Elena Rybakina’s straight-set victory over Aryna Sabalenka for the Indian Wells trophy pushed Rybakina up three spots to a career-high No. 7 in the WTA rankings. Iga Swiatek remained at No. 1, followed by Sabalenka, who defeated Rybakina in the Australian Open final in January.

This article was first published on nzherald.co.nz and is republished here with permission

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