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The 33-year-old has once again reached the pinnacle of men’s tennis after his French Open and US Open heroics in 2019, toppling his old rival Novak Djokovic.
Despite being five years younger than Federer, there is little chance that he will end his career having spent more time at No. 1.
The Spaniard has recorded 197 weeks at the top of the ATP rankings as of Monday November 4, which puts him sixth in the all-time table.
His Swiss counterpart is miles ahead of the second-placed Pete Sampras with 310 weeks to 286, and still has a chance to add to that if he has a successful start to 2020.
Djokovic, Ivan Lendl and Jimmy Connors make up the rest of the top five with 275, 270 and 268 weeks respectively, as John McEnroe sits one place below Nadal with 170.
Although their Grand Slam title victories will be what ultimately defines their careers, weeks spent at the head of the ATP rankings are a good way to see the impact that each legend has had on the sport.
Despite the debate over whether Djokovic, who won both the Australian Open and Wimbledon in the last year, should’ve retain his spot, ATP Executive Chairman and President, Chris Kermode has praised Nadal because of his age.
Rafael Nadal is still long way off Roger Federer and Novak Djokovic (Image: GETTY)
Rafael Nadal has some way to go to catch Roger Federer (Image: GETTY)
“Rafa has made a habit of setting the highest of standards throughout his career and his return to No. 1 is just the latest example,” said Kermode.
“It’s an incredible achievement and he continues to amaze with his longevity at the top of the game.
“Many congratulations to him and his team.”
Rafael Nadal has won one Grand Slam fewer than Federer and three more than Djokovic (Image: GETTY)
When asked how 2019 has gone for him, Nadal said: I’m super happy with my season.
“It was a tough beginning but then I was able to find a way to be back playing at a very high level of tennis and be in the situation that I am today.
“I’m very proud about the year that I am having.”