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ATP Heritage: Rafael Nadal, 2008, '10

 

 

On 23 August, ATP celebrates the 40th anniversary of the Emirates ATP Rankings. We continue our countdown with a look at Rafael Nadal, the 2008 and 2010 year-end No. 1. #ATPHeritage

Rafael Nadal, already regarded as an all-time great and considered by many as the best clay-court player in tennis history, was the first left-hander to finish No. 1 since John McEnroe in 1984.

The Spaniard spent a record 160 straight weeks at No. 2 in the Emirates ATP Rankings, from 25 July 2005 to 17 August 2008, until he reached the summit of men's professional tennis following a 6-4, 7-5 quarter-final win over Nicolas Lapentti at the Western & Southern Open in Cincinnati.

"It was a lot of work… with a lot of fantastic results and victories without having the chance to be No. 1, so I felt I deserved it at any moment," said Nadal. "I had a lot of points in the computer, but Roger [Federer] was amazing almost perfect all the time."

Aged 22 years, two months, Nadal became the 24th player since 1973 to reach No. 1 on 18 August 2008, during a career-best year when he won eight titles and 82 matches.

Discuss Nadal Using #ATPHeritage On Twitter

In his first six tournaments of 2008, Nadal compiled a 22-6 record before going 60-5 the rest of the season, which included a fourth Roland Garros crown, his first Wimbledon title – in arguably the greatest singles final at The Championships – and the Beijing Olympics gold medal.

Nadal held top spot for 46 weeks until Federer, his great rival, regained No. 1 on 6 July 2009. Nadal returned to the summit on 7 June 2010 for a further 56 weeks.

"It was something I think I deserved, but [I realised it] only after I reached it, because I didn't consider myself that good," said Nadal, who was thrown into the limelight as a 16 year old at the 2003 Monte-Carlo Rolex Masters.

Since 2005, Nadal has won 12 major trophies (from 17 finals), including a record eight at Roland Garros. He has also won a record 26 ATP World Tour Masters 1000 crowns and holds 59 titles overall.

Read more about Nadal in "No. 1", our special commemorative coffee table book, celebrating all year-end ATP World Tour No. 1s over the past 40 years. Buy Online Through Tennis Warehouse: Europe | Outside Europe

This year, the ATP pays special tribute to 25 former World No. 1s as part of the ATP Heritage programme, marking 40 years since the ranking system was introduced in 1973.

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