Rafael Nadal makes history as first tennis player to rank No.1 in three different decades

PERTH, AUSTRALIA – DECEMBER 30: Rafael Nadal of Spain looks on during a practice session ahead of the 2020 ATP Cup Group Stage at RAC Arena on December 30, 2019 in Perth, Australia. (Photo by Paul Kane/Getty Images)

Rafael Nadal has officially become the first tennis player – male or female –  to be ranked No. 1 in three different decades.

Rafa has lost and regained the ranking seven times since 2008, and enters 2020 in top spot yet again, becoming the only player to do so in three decades.

Novak Djokovic and Roger Federer, who are ranked No. 2. and No. 3 respectively, are the only active male tennis players who can match Rafa’s No.1 accolade. British pro Andy Murray, who also held No. 1 rankings in the last two decades, is currently ranked No. 87.

On the women’s side, Serena and Venus Williams, as well as Maria Sharapova, and Kim Clijsters (who announced her return from retirement in September), are the only active players to have reached No. 1 in two different decades.

Source: Fox News


  1. Every decade starts at xxx1 and finished at xxx0. First decade starts at 1st year not zero ones. So the end of second decade of 21st centyry will be dec 31,2020. But besides that salute to Rafa

    • No, when you are born, you ave lived a decade on ur 10th birthday, ur second decade begins on day 1 of ur 11th year

    • Zoran, I agree with you totally! I investigated further and found to my dismay that there are two schools of thought: Team 0 and Team 1. Team 0 counts from 0 to 9, while Team 1 counts from 1 to 10.

      Furthermore, the article which I found online, favours Team 1 for the simple reason that dates found in history books, be it BC or AD invariably contained numbers and no Year 0s have ever appeared at any time nor anywhere. However, the very same article admits that you and I are in the minority. Ranting about it is simply ignored. Or we are labeled as pedants.

      I never was a fan of the popular view. The whole world may be against my view, it won’t detract me from my beliefs. Besides, numbers are unshakable facts; back in school or university I have always been drawn to mathematics as opposed to arts and letters–the former is exact, the latter is subjective and debatable.

      Apologies to fellow fans as I have obviously digressed….

      Back to Rafa—I admire his mindset, the way he compartmentalizes all his activities. If he’s playing the ATP Cup, then he’s focused purely on that. No wonder he excels in whatever he puts his mind to and heart on, with emphasis on heart or passion for tennis.

      I wonder whether Rafa is a proponent for Team 0 or Team 1.

      Whatever he may be, it doesn’t change my high regard for the player, for the man.

    • Wrong! But its actually correct about centuries and millenniums. For example: 01.01.2000 was start of new decade, but not start of new century and new millenium. Confusing, I know!

  2. Please comment on Andy Murray reference here to 2 decades as no. 1: when did he first become number 1? It was 2016.

  3. An amazing tennis player, on and off the court. A true gentleman. Well done Rafael. I thank you for each and every match that I have seen, a true professional. 💖

    • …it is not true yet!
      Next decade starts in a year from today…this is an acceptable mistake by a not very serious sport news site!!! My2ç!!!

      • This website is not working properly. Why aren’t fans’ comments sent to my inbox???

        Where are the up/down buttons?

      • Wrong! But its actually correct about centuries and millenniums. For example: 01.01.2000 was start of new decade, but not start of new century and new millenium. Confusing, I know!

  4. I can’t register any likes. The thumbs up/thumbs down symbols have disappeared. Can someone explain?

  5. Rafa keeps making history and there’s no reason to believe he won’t make history in 2020. We have all picked a winner.

  6. Congratulation Rafa … another feather in your cap! You are now playing “catch me if you can”! I am sooo excited as 4/1 draws closer when I will see you play in person. I am now 84 n thought this would never happen. Vamos, Vamos Rafa I’ll be one of your cheer squad in Perth! Your Aussie Abuela Nan Shirley. 🐂👑👑🏆🏆🏆🎉🎉💥💥

  7. Happy New Year to everyone here.

    And, what an achievement by Rafa! Can Fed match this? Possible but I doubt it. Djoko? Djoko was no. 1 during the 2010s but not during the 2000s, so for Djoko to match this, he has to play till 2030s to have a chance to be no.1 in three different decades, even harder to achieve that.

  8. Congratulations Rafa, so proud of you👏❤️
    Good luck to you and your teammates at the ATP Cup🍀
    Looking forward to cheering you on in person at the Aussie Open🤗
    Vamos Rafa💪

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