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Shark Bites: Top 10 Breakthrough

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Mardy Fish © Getty ImagesAmerican Mardy Fish makes his debut in the Top 10 of the South African Airways ATP Rankings at 29 years of age.

ATP stats and information guru Greg Sharko looks at the numbers behind the stories of the ATP World Tour.

TOP 10 BREAKTHROUGH -- American Mardy Fish this week became the fourth-oldest player to debut in the Top 10 of the South African Airways ATP Rankings at the age of 29 (or older). In fact, he and Austrian Jurgen Melzer, also 29, are the only two players this year to rank in the Top 10 for the first time. Below is a list of players to debut in the Top 10 late in their careers.

Age

Ranking/Rank Date+

1. Tony Roche (AUS)

30 (2 mos., 9 days)

No. 9 - July 26, 1975

2. Jurgen Melzer (AUT)

29 (8 mos., 9 days)

No. 10 - Jan. 31, 2011

3. Alex Metreveli (RUS)

29 (7 mos., 1 day)

No. 9 - June 3, 1974

4. Mardy Fish (USA)

29 (4 mos., 9 days)

No. 10 - Apr. 18, 2011

5. Radek Stepanek (CZE)

27 (7 mos., 13 days)

No. 8 - July 10, 2006

6. Jiri Novak (CZE)

27 (6 mos., 22 days)

No. 9 - Oct. 14, 2002

7. Jan Kodes (CZE)

27 (6 mos., 12 days)

No. 5 - Sept. 13, 1973

8. Guillermo Canas (ARG)

27 (5 mos., 14 days)

No. 10 - May 9, 2005

9. Tom Gorman (USA)

27 (4 mos., 12 days)

No. 10 - May 1, 1974

10.Bill Scanlon (USA)

27 (1 mo., 27 days)

No. 9 - Jan. 9, 1984


+Excludes following players in first ATP Ranking on Aug. 23, 1973

Ken Rosewall (AUS)

38 (9 mos., 21 days)

No. 6

Rod Laver (AUS)

35 (14 days)

No. 5

Arthur Ashe (USA)

30 (1 mos., 13 days)

No. 4

Tom Okker (NED)

29 (7 mo., 1 day)

No. 9

John Newcombe (AUS)

29 (3 mos.)

No. 7

Ilie Nastase (ROM)

27 (1 mo., 4 days)

No. 1

500 MATCH WINS CLUB -- Rafael Nadal is looking to become the 37th player in the Open Era (since 1968) to win at least 500 singles matches in his career. Nadal went into Barcelona with 496 career match wins on the ATP World Tour. At 24 years and 10 mos. of age, he would become the second youngest to reach the 500 match wins club if he reaches the Barcelona final (assuming no walkovers):

Age at 500th Win

1. Bjorn Borg

23 (7 mos.)

2. Ivan Lendl

24 (11 mos., 4 days)

3. John McEnroe

24 (11 mos., 18 days)

4. Jimmy Connors

25 (2 mos., 18 days)

5. Michael Chang

25 (2 mos.)

6. Pete Sampras

25 (3 mos., 10 days)

7. Mats Wilander

25 (5 mos., 3 days)

8. Boris Becker

25 (5 mos., 20 days)

9. Stefan Edberg

25 (6 mos.)

10. Roger Federer

25 (8 mos., 13 days)

FIVE-TIME TOURNAMENT CHAMPIONS -- Nadal is one of six players to win a tournament title five consecutive years in the Open Era (since 1968). He is the only player to win the same tournament six (or more) consecutive times:

Years Won In A Row

Tournament

No.

Rafael Nadal

2005-11

Monte-Carlo

7

Rafael Nadal

2005-09

Barcelona

5

Roger Federer

2004-08

US Open

5

Roger Federer

2003-07

Wimbledon

5

Yevgeny Kafelnikov

1997-2001

Moscow

5

Balazs Taroczy

1978-82

Hilversum

5

Bjorn Borg

1976-80

Wimbledon

5

Guillermo Vilas

1973-77

Buenos Aires

5

AGE OF TOP 10 DEBUT -- Here is a look at the Top 10 South African Airways 2011 ATP Rankings (as of Apr. 18) and the age each player broke into the Top 10:

Top 10 Debut

Ranking Age

1. Rafael Nadal

April 25, 2005

18 (10 mos., 22 days)

2. Novak Djokovic

March 19, 2007

19 (9 mos., 25 days)

3. Roger Federer

May 20, 2002

20 (9 mos., 12 days)

4. Andy Murray

April 16, 2007

19 (11 mos., 1 day)

5. Robin Soderling

October 19, 2009

25 (2 mos., 5 day)s

6. David Ferrer

January 30, 2006

23 (9 mos., 28 days)

7. Tomas Berdych

October 23, 2006

21 (1 month, 6 days)

8. Jurgen Melzer

January 31, 2011

29 (8 mos., 9 days)

9. Gael Monfils

February 23, 2009

22 (5 mos., 22 days)

10. Mardy Fish

April 18, 2011

29 (4 mos., 9 days)


(Special assistance by Matt Fitzgerald)

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