The end of Nadal’s golden era. The Spaniard drops out of the TOP 100! What happened?

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Rafael Nadal; AFP PHOTO / WANG ZHAO

Rafael Nadal is one of only two tennis players in history to have managed to stay in the top 100 of the ATP rankings for more than two decades. Unfortunately, Nadal’s winning streak has come to an end. On Monday, June 12, the Spanish tennis player dropped more than 100 places in the ranking, landing in 136th place. Why did Nadal drop out of the top 100?

The achievements of Rafael Nadal and the records he broke can be listed for a long time. Suffice it to say that Nadal is a two-time Olympic gold medalist, record holder for the most single grand slam wins—he won Roland Garros 14 times – and only one tennis player in history has more Grand Slam titles than Nadal – Novak Djokovic with 23, Nadal has 22. So how did such a decorated player and considered one of the greatest players in tennis history, Nadal drop out of the top 100 of the ATP rankings?

Rafael Nadal has been ranked in the top 100 for more than two decades and has been in the top 10 for 18 consecutive years, most of which has been in the top five. He is still the second player with over 1020 weeks in the top 100 after Roger Federer, but his streak had to end after Roland Garros. How on earth did a tennis player with such a track record drop out of the top 100? All because of an injury.

Although Nadal won two Grand Slam tournaments in 2022, he struggled with injuries that could not be fully healed. As a result, the Spaniard’s body was so exhausted that it stopped responding to any treatment and the Spaniard suffered another injury in January 2023. En route to defending his Australian Open title, Nadal suffered a serious hip injury in the second round of this year’s Australian Slam. The Spaniard has announced he has a Grade 2 iliopsoas injury which should keep him off the court for two months. Instead, the 22-time grand slam winner is out of action until now, and moreover, he will not return to competition this season as he has undergone leg and hip surgery. This has kept Nadal out of the game for almost the entire season. As a result, he loses every ranking point he earned last year, because he can’t defend those points this year because he doesn’t compete in tournaments. What made Nadal drop out of the TOP 100 of the rankings was his absence at Roland Garros 2023, as a result of which he lost 2,000 ranking points.

Currently, Nadal is ranked 136th in the ATP rankings. The Spaniard is now at home in Mallorca where he will be rehabilitating for the next five months following hip surgery. He will be back in the game next year. The 2024 season will be his final season in his career.

READ: Rafael Nadal has undergone surgery. When will he be back on the court?

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