Rafael Nadal: The No. 1 Ranking Is No Longer A Goal Of Mine In My Career [Video]

by Tom Gainey | December 28th, 2014, 1:49 pm

Speaking to France’s Stade 2 in a promotion for his tennis academy, Rafael Nadal looked ahead to his goals for next year including a 10th French Open title and a return to No. 1, which Nadal revealed is no longer a career goal.

“For me it won’t be a goal in my career anymore,” Nadal said at the 4:10 mark about the No. 1 ranking. “If I have become No. 1 because of the results I have, it’s great. But I’m not going to pursue this objective. I will follow my schedule.

“My big goal is to play as many years as possible. What I won’t do is put at risk the best years of my career to get the No. 1 spot. It won’t be anymore an objective for me.

“My goal is to be happy and I think I am.”

Nadal has finished No. 1 three times (2008, 2010, 2013) and has spent 141 weeks at the top spot.

After an injury-plagued 2014, Nadal opens play next week in Abu Dhabi on Thursday.

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87 Comments for Rafael Nadal: The No. 1 Ranking Is No Longer A Goal Of Mine In My Career [Video]

brando Says:

Spot on and smart thinking. Been there done that, and not much too achieve there. Cannot break Federer, Sampras, lendl record so what’s to achieve on that front? Bust a gut for being 4th lol? If you cannot get the record, nor top 3 then there’s nothing to write home about after that. Anyhow: no one remembers weeks at one but slams. Everyone knows feds, Pete’s slam totals but how many know weeks at 1? Exactly. Excellent attitude by Rafael considering his scenario: great if I get it, but don’t give a damn if I don’t. He knows he has plenty to pursue, achieve and be happy about so I like his thinking. He’s moving to the beat of his own drum rather than strumming along dictated by the thinking of others. Good luck Rafael!!!

jane Says:

toni thinks nadal can break fed’s record of 17 slams but “it won’t be easy”. sounds like that’s the target though. also, getting #10 at the french:


skeezer Says:

Find this dicey at best. If he is chasing Slams he has to be concerned about ranking. If he just wants to be happy, then fine. Chasing #1 and Slams goes hand in hand. If your ranking drops, you’ll face tougher opponets early on making a run in a tournament much tougher. But Unc know it all Toni knows best, no?
“Anyhow: no one remembers weeks at one but slams. ”
Laugher statement so far. Why don’t you go ask the players if weeks at # 1 is remembered instead of assuming you know that its not.

SG1 Says:

I think Rafa knows that with the injury bug being a persistent issue, he’ll have to play a more restrained schedule if he’s going to be to have a shot at the slam record. Despite the opinion of coach Roche, I’m thinking Fed’s slam total of 17 won’t be moving any time soon.

It is a fine line though for Rafa. If he doesn’t put up enough points in enough tournaments, his ranking will fall and he could end up facing a Federer or a Djokovic in the quarters of majors. I’m wondering how the Rafa camp will handle his schedule if he comes out of the gate a little slowly.

SG1 Says:

Agree with Skeezer that weeks at No.1 is at least somewhat important. Not as important as slam count but I don’t think you can dismiss being at the top of the rankings for almost 300 weeks. It’s a phenomenal accomplishment and result of long term dominance. I think that players are likely quite proud of their number weeks at number 1. Particularly the guys with really big numbers like Federer, Sampras, Borg & Connors.

jane Says:

there was a big celebration not long ago with all the ATP #1s and it certainly seemed like a big deal to the lot of them:


jane Says:

sg-1, “he’ll have to play a more restrained schedule” – it’s notable that’s he’s already played a truncated schedule for the past 3 years, due to injury breaks. the last full season rafa played was 2011. he has added the south american clay swing though, in the past 2 (?) seasons, perhaps as a way of working into a groove for the major clay swing? and certainly as a way to take less of a toll on his body than playing an additional hard court event between AO and FO when there are already 2 masters in IW and miami. it’ll be interesting to see how his schedule plays out if / when he’s not injured: will he play a schedule like 2011 or will he drop events, and if so, where/when? i suspect the latter part of the year will never be a big focus for rafa, although one wonders if winning one WTF is a goal for him?

Giles Says:

Rafa is not looking to chase the #1 ranking but how does that relate to his ranking dropping whereby he might have to face fed or joker in the early rounds??? “Chasing #1 and Slams goes hand in hand”. Who says?? As long as he maintains his top 4 ranking and goes about his business trying his best in tourneys I don’t see a problem. All he said was he wasnt going to chase #1. And then the drama queens come out headed by skeezer who I see is still experiencing comprehension problems!

Giles Says:

Rafa hasn’t stated what his goals are for 2015 but at least we know chasing #1 is not one of his goals.

Jimmy Says:

Rafa chased number 1 after the U.S. Open in 2013 and maybe it was connected to his back injury in Australia in the 2014 AO, and probably cost him a slam.

skeezer Says:

You need to educate yourself about how Tennis works. Keep up on your schoolwork.

Wog Boy Says:

The reason why Rafa is not going to chase #1 any more is that, from now on, he is going to miss good chunk of the season every year (what he is alredy doing for the last three or so years) in order to play as long as he can and beat Roger’s #17, and I think by doing it that way he has good shot at it. That is Uncle Toni’s master plan, the question is how fair (ethical) it is to the other players who are playing normal schedule (is it gaining unfair advantage by resting his body more than the others) and is it going to make precedent for future players and tennis as we know it?

jane Says:

i think after a certain amount of years or matches played or something, players can “officially” skip tournaments can’t they? i.e., they can skip some masters, but not slams? some 500s and 250s? i don’t know the precise rules, but i am sure they’re allowed to miss some by choice.

Wog Boy Says:

jane, but if they are “injured” they can miss as many as they want and more importantly, certain part of the season they choose to miss, for example, out of so many injuries and such a long periods away from tennis courts, Rafa never got injured nor he missed CC part of the year.

jane Says:

yeah injury leave is separate from what i was talking about. i was thinking more along the lines of what sg-1 was saying. that if rafa and toni want to shorten his schedule, they can do that now officially i think, because he’s played long enough for that. but i don’t know the full rules. like can they miss slams too? a certain number of masters? or what? i don’t know the specifics, but have a general sense of it being a “thing”.

skeezer Says:

If you look up the ATP rule book on the ATP site you’ll find out that. Haven’t looked lately myself but I believe there are mandatory number of Tourneys you have to play with exceptions …..

jane Says:

thanks skeezer; i just looked at that and it talks about masters 1000 reductions only, as far as i could tell, but i scanned through quickly. you can reduce by one if you’ve a) played 600 matches, b) played for 12 years, and c) are 31 years or over. if you qualify for all 3 of those conditions then i think you are not obligated to play ANY masters 1000s, which means you could focus only on slams i guess? but then how would you keep your ranking up and/or be competition grooved? seems a bit like a catch-22.

Yolita Says:

Obviously he will not change his schedule in pursuit of the #1, that would be folly. That goes without saying. Even Novak didn’t do that in 2013, when the race for #1 was so close…
But I’m sure Rafa cares about being #1, especially year-end #1…They all do.
Not enough to jeoparise his health, of course.

SG1 Says:

Rafa and his team want 10 FO’s and 18 majors. I think they’ll employ any strategy they feel necessary to get to those goals. I haven’t listened to the video but it seems like they want these goals to be at least a little under the radar but honestly…who in the tennis world doesn’t know what the Rafa team really wants?

I think that in Rafa’s mind, he wants the 18 majors and he’ll then let folks decide for themselves who the best ever is. Major count weighs more than any other factor in how most tennis folks perceive players historically and Rafa knows it. All great players have egos and Rafa isn’t any different.

Sienna Says:

I remember Rios being #1, but not Johansson winning Ao 02.
there are far more different slamwinners as to #1 ranked players.

Just because he cant doesnt mean that #1 matters. If #1 doesnot matter better pull the plug on tennis.
Difference between Roger is huge. Roger plays for the love of the game. He wants to make tennis a better sport.
Nadal is thinking of himself and couldnt care what happens to the sport.
Take the money and run kind of person.

Essential difference between the both of them.

But I have said on numerous occassions that team Nadal is going for 17.
And they need AU open 15 to break it.

Sienna Says:

I read in your comment that you said almost #300 weeks is not to be dismissed.

almost 300 might not to be dismissed, but 302 is not almost and you can label that ffing awesom.

Get your facts together in making points, even if they are invalid as usual.

Michael Says:

Being No.1 is not new for players like Rafa. He has already experienced that sky high feeling in his illustrious career. So, being No.1 cannot be a motivator or a primary goal any more. Conscious of his physical vulnerability, Rafa’s goal of yearning for a long career is quite understandable. If Champions have a long career, they are obviously going to set records along the way. Yet again, Rafa’s best bet will be at the start of clay court season where once again he would be showing to the World his sheer superiority over the rest. This year would be a challenge as last year, he couldn’t manage a great clay court season relativily speaking. It would be too much to expect him to come out with all guns blazing at the Australian Open. I think he would be mighty pleased if he makes a semi final appearance there. Once he re-asserts his dominance on Clay, he would set a nice platform for the rest of the year from where he can take things far and wide. Rafa holds an advantage as far as the No.l race as last year turned out to be disastrous and this year, he can do no worse, but can only get better as the bar is too low.

vags Says:

I don’t think there would be major change on Rafa’s schedule. Maybe just missing a couple of tournaments that he used to participate at most.

Sunit Says:

Start where u are.Use what u have. Do what u can.Looking at the way tennis is being played and the career and playing style Rafa had over the course of a decade I think it is the smartest decision that could have been made. I think Rafa and Toni have their target fixed. It is a number and it is 18.

Felipe Says:

Nadals future depends on winning Roland Garros 2015. He knows it and tony knows it.

sienna Says:

If Kriek would have been #1 we would have remembered that double slamwinner.
Nadal is mocking history of tennis. and not for the first time.

Giles Says:

And obviously you know it Felipe!!!
You people are so clever, NOT!!

Daniel Says:

What is curious in Nadal’s career is that for the last 10 years (ever since he won his first RG) he always wins a major after 2 majors played. The sole year he didn’t win RG he won AO in 2009. I am curious to see how he will regroup if he eventually find himself after French Open without a major in the year. This never happen to him before and all the other greats have to deal with it, everybody but him. Maybe this will change his approach for the remaining of the year. Of course for that to happen he will have to not win RG, something that only happen once in the last 10 years. Odds are on his side once again:-)

Tennis Island Says:

Rank is not as important if you achieved it before. Slams and good performances are much more rewarding than just being on the paper

Giles Says:

Daniel. Don’t spend too much time worrying about Nadal. He is a champion!

Giles Says:

Joker must be smacking his chops at the prospect of another y/e #1 in 2015. With Rafa not chasing the coast is clear for him. Some people have all the luck!

brando Says:

@Michael: excellent post and per usual: the sanest one out of the lot. I cannot understand the controversy over Rafael’s position and my stance on number one ranking at all. The following: 1- of course number one ranking is great, it matters. That’s not even upfor debate. Nor am I knocking it either. But all I am saying is the obvious: compared to slams they come second. Period. And most in tennis community know about legend x number of slams but not weeks at 1. Period. I think neither is a erroneous thing to state, but clearly it is for some: that’s on them. Personally, I am a long time Nadal fan I do not know how many weeks he’s spent as number one since ultimately it’s not of interest to me. And it would not surprise me if millions from Nadal’s great number of fans- dare I say the same is for other fans- ultimately do not know how many weeks he has been at the top, since really it’s not all that consuming to know. 2- what on earth is wrong with Rafael’s thinking? He’s a 28 year old injury prone player who’s saying he does not wish to press himself any longer for the ranking top spot since he rather prolong his career which is what makes him happy: playing tennis. What on earth is devious about that as some here seem to be suggesting with the points they raise. For me: it’s just a common sense position Rafael-as always- has taken. I mean what can he achieve on the number one front? A temporary stay at the top which will not really see him get anywhere near Federer, Sampras or lendl’s total. Why would he just a gut to go for number 4,5? Champions go for breaking records: not being the next in line after 4 others. He’s been there done that, he’s scaled the mountain and feels no real desire or urge to do so again. He’s comfortable within his skin: he knows his own goals, and he sets them not the cynics. He’s won no WTF nor has he spent a great deal at number 1: yet the tennis conmu at large- not some anonymous agenda ridden posters on TX- had no hesitation in labelling him the 6th greatest player of all time in tennis history and 4th in the mens game. Quite clearly he’s done something right: and Rafael is correctly focusing on his own goals as he always has done. So for me he’s taken the wise and only position for him regarding number one: if it were to happen then it’s brilliant but if not the c’est la vie. I think reasonable minds can understand and even agree to that, but quite clearly others harbor other thoughts about him. Shame that most of it is just baseless prejudice lacking in evidence or genuine rationale.

Patson Says:

Chasing no. 1 and chasing slams is not one and the same thing. If as a tennis player, you want to win a slam per year for the next say 5 years, then the moment you win a slam in a year, you wouldn’t be pushing yourself that much.

The ranking system requires consistent performance s round the year. Just winning a couple of slams and a few masters won’t guarantee a no.1 ranking. But to get reasonable seeding in every tournament, that should be enough.

Look at Nadal’s ranking right now, he missed almost half the season and yet he’s ranked number 3. He would not run into seeding issues as long as he stays within the top 4.

To me, the logic behind the statement makes perfect sense. You don’t have to play the whole year to stay #3 or #4.

brando Says:

@Patson: great post. If you win a slam then really it doesn’t take that much more to maintain a top 4 ranking: look at wawrinka this year, barring AO and MC a poor year yet he’s top 4.

Giles Says:

Hey @skeezer. Read @ Patson’s post at 12.10 pm. You might learn something.

lyle nubbins Says:

His body won’t let him play the amount he has to to get the # 1 ranking, and he really cares about the slam record, makes sense to me!

Okiegal Says:

I too am trying to figure what the big deal is in Rafa’s statement about not chasing the number one ranking?? Sounds perfectly logical to me too. He’s just going into preservation mode…..thinking of his body first and foremost……..thank goodness!! For the record I have no idea who was number one in the rankings for how long…..just not an important stat for me……but I can sure tell you how many slams every player has.

Great posts to each and everyone of you.

Brando, are you “Goat Poster” or another one? Just curious…….

brando Says:

@Brando: hi okie! It’s still me, just decided to drop the monikers, troll posts for cheap kicks etc for 2015. Go back to enjoying the game and leaving the fighting for others. Back to topic: my point precisely about the rankings. Everyone pretty much knows what a said legend has won interms of slams: many can tell you who are the top 3 all time slams winners and how many each have, but how many know top 3 ranking week leaders and how many weeks also? Hardly many, and that’s just recognizing a simple truth as opposed to knocking the ranking. As a fan: if my fav were to be number one then that’s obviously great but it just does not compare to the desire, sensation of seeing him win a slam. Not even close. Ultimately one remembers the winning of trophies, performances, matches, magical moments of a player not rankings lol. It’s never really been much of a thrill for me as a fan of Rafael when he’s been number one anyhow: getting the top pales in comparison to seeing him compete, win big matches, slams, master series etc for me. Each to their own in the end but as a fan of Rafael I am pleased to see my fav say: hey I have had my fill regarding the top spot, I’ll that race to others and I’ll just focus on what makes me happy: competing. And I think that’s all his fans want anyhow: for him to be happy competing.

brando Says:

Lmfao at brainfart: @okiegal> self.

jane Says:

patson, is a player’s ranking protected if they’re injured, or how does that work? in this case, maybe rafa had such a huge lead in points that missing most of the tour after wimbledon didn’t matter, i don’t know. but i think sometimes with injury a player has a protected ranking.

rafa has stated quite clearly that number 1 is not his “goal”, but he hasn’t said it doesn’t matter. having the most weeks at the top is not a record rafa is close to meeting/breaking, even though he’s 6th all time on that list right now with 141 weeks. nole may pass him, or get very close, since he’s already at 127 weeks. for either of them to reach 5th, they’d have to pass j-mac’s 170 weeks, and then it’s a big jump to 268 weeks for connors at 4th.

on the other hand, rafa IS close to passing fed’s 17 slam titles, only 3 titles away. thus it makes sense for them to pursue that goal, as well as winning a 10th roland garros. these are records they can break and set so why not make them their goal? i think sg-1 at 10:02 yesterday is right.

rafa himself said that if number 1 follows from winning the titles, then, great. winning slams comes first, but if number 1 follows it’s an added bonus. in his words:

“My big goal is to play as many years as possible. What I won’t do is put at risk the best years of my career to get the No. 1 spot.”

Yolita Says:

Protected ranking applies to players who have dropped drastically in the rankings due to injury and need to qualify for events like grand slams. So they get protected ranking (for entry purposes only, not for seeding) so that they don’t have to play qualies.
Delpo used it when his ranking dropped after his first wrist surgery.
Rafa’s results are always so good that even missing 7 months he hasn’t dropped out of the top 10, so he doesn’t need protected ranking, he still gets direct entry to any tournament.

Patson Says:


I don’t think there is any ranking protection. If you don’t play, you lose points. That’s why Nadal is 3rd and sitting at 6835 points right now. Del potro who hasn’t played for a long while due to injury, is ranked 137. That’s the thing I like about the ranking system. It’s fair in that if you don’t play – irrespective of the reason – you lose points.

Patson Says:

Aaah I stand corrected for the cases Yolita mentioned.

Cecilia Francescon Says:

Rafa,I am so glad you are going for your Slams…..I know you will get them this coming new year 2015….love you.

jane Says:

thanks for clarifying you two; i knew there was some sort of protected ranking. i remember it way back from when nalbandian had surgery or something. but i wasn’t sure in which cases it applies. clearly, rafa had enough of a points lead in this case, having reached the finals of the AO and won the FO, that it didn’t matter too much in the long run how much he dropped.

without injury, however, he couldn’t miss that much of the season because based on the rules i read yesterday, he’d have to be over 31 to be fully exempt from masters. i think, at this point, because he’s played over 600 matches, he’s exempt from one. if he’s played 12 years or over (which i don’t think he has??) he’s exempt from 2.

otherwise, the way i understand it, they are penalized if they miss masters or slams? i only skimmed through that part of the rule book yesterday though.

is rafa still playing the south american clay swing this coming year?

skeezer Says:

He’ll probably play a lot less HC and indoor would be my guess. I still say this will hamper his attempts at more Slame, not help. The ranking is important in Slams. There are more rounds to play in Slams, and it helps a lot to be a high seed. But……..
Rafa usually dominates the Clay court season, so that will keep his ranking up there for the rest of the year, if indeed he does the usual.

Michael Says:

Brando @ 11.28 am,

Thanks and I extend my New Year greetings to you and your family !!

To be a great player, I think it is the whole package a player delivers that counts and ie. including Majors, Weeks as No.1, Master series tournaments and other smaller tournaments. May be we can leave out Davis Cup from the equation as it is a Team sport and it is just prestigious and ignites a matter of pride in a player who represents his Country.

There are two players namely Ivan Lendl and Marcello Rios who became No.1 even without having won a Grand slam tournament. So, it may be possible to become No.l even without winning a major if certain things turn out in your favour including your competitors under performance. Let us now get into the number crunching game. If my memory is right, Rafa has been World No.1 for a period of 141 weeks and that is really a good number. The professional player who enjoys the record of most weeks as No.1 is ofcourse Roger with 302 weeks and even Novak is nearing Rafa’s count with 127 in his favour. You hold the view that Majors are more important than anything else and it is a perception which has been discounted even by the top players. Majors are ofcourse important and acquire special significance, but so are other tournaments which are equally important but their weightage would vary with the points that are accorded and they are designed by ATP. If you take Rafa, he scores in all spheres and has a complete record and at this moment, I am just not able to recollect as to how long he was World No.2 ? For quite a long time, he reigned in the top 2. To be in the top three is itself a great feeling. As you rightly said, Rafa is at the stage in his career, where he can afford to choose what is best for him and his body. He has the liberty to play a waiting game and can concentrate on just winning major tournaments. He has a definite shot at surpassing Roger’s major count. He is also aware that going too much behind in ranking might hurt his chances of winning majors and so I think his Team would be concentrating much on the scheduling aspect henceforth. It is the right scheduling which can prolong the career of Rafa and I think he would not let history repeat itself jeopardising his chances as he is not getting any younger.

Okiegal Says:

@Brando…..Thanks for clarification of the “real” Brando. Just like to know who I’m talking to.

Don’t be concerned with the brain fart…..didn’t even notice…..read it just like you intended. I read it again and thought what is he talking about….then I finally got it. I’m guilty of the BF too…….lol

Okiegal Says:

@Michael……glad you brought up the #2 ranking, I was going to but didn’t know enough about it to say anything. I think being number 2 is a great achievement also. I personally thought Rafa played better being 2 or 3 than 1. The number one spot carries lots of pressure. Not a big deal for me. I want Rafa to be very selective for health’s sake. They know what needs to be done to prolong his career. The guy just wants to play. With his age and recurring injuries, he knows changes are in order.

Change of subject matter. I saw the movie “Unbroken”…..Mr. Louie Zamparenni was one tough Italian. Excellent human interest story. I recommend seeing it, if at all possible. I may have spelled his name wrong……

Michael Says:

Okiegal @ 12.37 am,

At the outset, let me take this opportunity to wish you and yr family a happy and prosperous 2015.

Ofcourse being No.2 is not a jest and it takes a great deal of effort to get right up there. Infact being in the top 10 itself requires lot of doing. There are not many who attain it in their career and it is a matter of immense pride if you ascend to that pedestal. But theoratically and practically, it is the top layer which we are all focused upon and they hog all the attention and glory which they truly deserve through their accomplishments.

Regarding your contention that Rafa played better when he was No.2 or 3, yes the records speak for itself and as you said and I endorse, being No.1 always places tremendous pressure on oneself. That being said, I think Rafa’s Team have goofed up with his schedule in the past which has wrecked his chances by too much physical exertion showing deep strains in his body, one instance I remember is 2008-2009. I only hope that history doesn’t repeat itself and they learn lessons from the past.

Thank you for referring the movie Unbroken. I will surely try to view it at my leisure and give you my feed back.

sienna Says:

I understand Nadal doesnt want #1 ranking.
He couldnt handle it being #1 in the past, so more sense in playing role of underdog.

Every tennisfan understands that doesnot belong to CHAMPION.
Djokovic is natural successor of Federer they are leading menstennis.
Nadal is nothing more then footnote in their Wikipedia.

Okiegal Says:

@Michael…..Thanks for the New Year wishes! Hope you and yours have a prosperous 2015 also.

We will soon see if team Rafa makes the right decisions……I hope so. The early clay court tournaments will be healthier for him, not as taxing on the body. I believe everyone agrees with that. I’m anxious to see how the back is after the stem cell therapy. Fox news had a report on stem cell replacement the other day and I think it’s here to stay. They were singing its praises……modern medicine is mind blowing……

Michael, I think you would like the movie…..it is very sad, but from all accounts, very true. The book is supposed to be better than the movie. I’m gonna read it.


JF Says:

LOL @ Sienna. Keep dreaming.

sienna Says:

Keep dreaming?

Nadal never has been convincing front runner. When #1 he always had difficulty in staying on top.
he is the ultimate underdog.

jane Says:

not sure where to post this, but cilic has officially withdrawn from brisbane now. fed, raonic, nishikori and dimitrov are all playing.

Humble Rafa Says:

Nadal is nothing more then footnote in their Wikipedia.

Did you inherit Skeeze’s disease?

Brando Says:

Excuse the few long posts- just cannot help myself:

– Re the Nadal feels the ‘crown is heavy’ theory being no.1:

First of all let’s recognize that this is a matter of opinion as opposed to certain fact. With that said I feel on this matter I have the position of:

I am sorry but that’s a erroneous opinion, in my opinion. With all due respect, here’s why:

Just look at the facts of when Nadal got to number 1 and how he lost it:

1- First reign as Number circa 2008/2009:

This ended when Roger Federer ascended to the top spot post winning Wimbledon 2009.

Now Nadal did not play that event, forfeited 2,000 ranking points as a result, along with 250 champions points at Queens and over a 1,800 points due to his early loss at French Open.

That’s over 4,000 points!

Now Nadal- as we all know- was out injured in this period. That’s a fact known to all.

His only rival for the top spot at that time was Roger Federer: someone, as we know, he enjoys a favourable matchup to and in that year beat him in the Australian Open final: his 3rd consecutive Grand Slam final win against RF.

Quite clearly if Federer was his main rival- which he was back then- it’s clear to see he was one that Nadal could do well against.

For me, quite clearly, his demise from the top spot here was more to do with fitness as opposed to being usurped by the competition.

Heck: check the press of 2009 and you’ll even find Federer saying Nadal’s absence due to injury had alot to do with him getting to the top.

He even backed Nadal to get to the top again……….lo and behold full fitness in 2010 and 3 Grand Slams plus number one in the bag.

Hence: I think it’s clear his first reign was at an end due to personal, fitness issues as opposed to being number one and finding it too much when clearly he had no real issues against his major rivals at the time.

2- End of second reign in 2011:

Nadal won the French Open in 2011.

He reached the Wimbledon and USO final that year.

He won 4 titles and reached 7 other finals.

He was having no major issues against his big rivals Federer, Murray etc.

Heck: pre WTF that year he had only lost 7 mere matches all season: which goes down to 6 if you dismiss his unfortunate match v Ferrer at that years Australian Open.

So quite clearly he was performing well, not losing many matches at all and nor where his major rivals, competition much of an issue for him.

Yet he lost the top spot: why?

Hurricane Djokovic of course.

He lost the top spot- rightfully so of course- to a player who in the month of September, post USO, had lost only 2 matches in 10 months!

2 mere matches!

It’s quite blatantly clear that Nadal got usurped by a freakish, rare, all time good year that would have seen the present incumbent get usurped in any year or era since the form guy- Novak Djokovic- was winning in a manner that was just plain ridiculous.

So for me it’s a case of:

The number one ranking was not exactly burdensome, it’s just Nadal- unfortunately for him- got hit with Hurricane Djokovic, something no one saw happening pre season.

Every number one would lose their ranking in a season when the other guy is 42-0 till May, 64-2 till the end of USO with one of those losses being a retirement.

64-1 till the end of USO! LOL: Federer, Sampras you name it would lose their top spot in the face of a opposition whose performance was that high for 10 months.

So IMHO: it would be erroneous to say Nadal lost the ranking because it was too much for him. That is unfair considering how he reached 3/4 Grand Slams finals and probably would have won against anyone not named Novak.

Rather, I believe, he got usurped by a level of performance that would have toppled any reigning number one.

3- End of recent reign in July of this year:

Nadal lost the top spot when he exited in R16 at Wimbledon.

He officially lost all chances of defending the top spot with his injury withdrawal and forfeit of 4,000 ranking points as defending champion in the USO series.

Later in the fall he was completely blighted with a appendicitis issue.


I would say it’s unfair to criticize him here since quite clearly most reasonable minds can see his performance was compromised this year due to injury.

Back spasm in the AO final- an issue that he openly admitted to bothering him for a while- loss of confidence as a result of this issue and hurtful AO loss lingered with him into the clay season.

You know when Rafa loses to Ferrer and Almagro on Clay quite clearly something’s not right!

And the final nail in the coffin was ridiculous misfortune of wrist injury ruling him out of the USO and Appendicitis in the fall.

Is it unreasonable to say:

Hey, quite clearly his year was more affected by injury misfortune striking him pretty much throughout the year than having the field cause him major issues as number one.


For me barring Novak in 2011 I think it’s clear to see for most reasonable minds that Nadal has:

– Been a good number one
– Has not really experienced major issues from the field (his h2h v the top 30, especially his main rivals in Slams is testament to that belief)

But rather has had the misfortune of having to deal with injury issues that have quite obviously compromised his reign.

If you consider the facts of his performance in his reigns, look at it in a fair and reasonable manner then I cannot see how one can reach a conclusion other than:

Barring Djokovic in 2011- a 64-2 performer who would topple any reigning number one in any year with that form- his main issue was not being number one, not the field, not his performance in Grand Slams but rather:

Being injury stricken and having his performance compromised as a result.

It’s his bad luck, if you hate him you’ll say his fault. But if you want to be fair about how you rate his reign then you cannot ignore how injuries have blighted his reign.

After all:

Does anyone here honestly think that Rafael Nadal- long seen as the toughest mentally of this era, possibly all time- really going to succumb to a competition he has long enjoyed a great h2h against all because he’s number one?

I think we all know the answer to that.

My 2 cents on this.

Brando Says:



Re Unbroken:

The fella who it’s based on is truly interesting and certainly was a walking definition if a brave, tenacious, tough cookie.

But the reviews for the film have been poor and Angelina Jolie’s track record as a film maker is poor to say the least.

However, based on your enthusiasm I may give it a watch, but probably seek out the book itself.

Brando Says:


Thank you for extending the good wishes and of course I reciprocate by extending you and your loved ones the same well wishes and hope you enjoy a great new year!

Re Rafael Nadal:

I have nothing more to add seeing as you have pretty much eloquently covered all bases on that front.

‘If you take Rafa, he scores in all spheres and has a complete record and at this moment’:

Spot on and really that’s a consensus fact in the Tennis community!

Barring WTF he’s won all that is worth winning and answered all that has been asked of him.

It’s not for nothing the likes of Roger Federer, Pete Sampras, Bjorn Borg, Rod Laver and many present contemporaries lavish praise on him in the manner they do.

It’s not an act of charity when the Tennis Community circa spring 2012 labelled Nadal:

– 4th Greatest men’s singles player of all time
– 6th Greatest Tennis singles player of all time

They do that in recognition of the great many colossal feats he’s achieved in the game so far.

Some may even dare say:

Actually he’s more than a foot note in Tennis history, he’s actually a significant, influential chapter lol!

sienna Says:

actually rethinking Nadals comments about #1.
it maddens me to the bone. The arrogant demeanor it reflex and the lack of respect for history of tennis.

Who does this guyzer think he is? every single player dreams of #1. it is the ultimate you can achieve in tennis. And decides to put it in the garbage can.
my english is not good enough to give my respone without being banned for good.

but you know what I mean in stating that.

have a good one with that arrogant alltime underdog

sienna Says:

No. Ididnot say footnote in tennis.

Hell be a footnote in Roger and Novak wikipediapages.
Nadal is a follower not a leader.
that is why throws away the #1. In a way he scared of leading like Roger and Novak are doing.

Daniel Says:

It is a twi way analyses for 2011. Of coirse Djokovic had a stellar year bu t he beat Nadal, who was number 1, 6 times in that run. Had Nadal won 2 or 3 of those matches and maybe he wouldn’t lose #1. For example the Wimbledon final.

So in this regard we can speculate that being number 1 he wasn’t succesfully agaisnt Djokovic as he was when number #2. Hence even end of 2013 he was #1 and lost 4 straight matches to Djokovic (2 in 2013 and 2 in 2014), only exception was RG 14′ (clay).

So yes you are right that injury played a factor in Nadal’s loss of #1 2 times but on the other hand he won most matches against his main rivals not as #1 so some can say he is not a good front runner as Djoko and Fed. Maybe there is a psychological effect and he gets more injured when being number due to the extra mental fortitude required to jeep that ranking.

So we have both facts, he lost number twice not able to compete properly but also when at number lost a lot of matches to his main rivals. We can go to the HxH between agaisnt Fed and Djoko but i can bet now that he lost more matches as number one than the other when number. Maybe with Fed is even due to his superior record.

Cole Says:


Juan Martin Del Potro ne retrouvera pas la compétition la semaine prochaine à Brisbane. L’Argentin, absent du circuit ATP depuis février dernier en raison d’une opération au poignet gauche, a préféré renoncer au tournoi australien.

Selon La Nacion, Del Potro souffrirait encore du poignet et ne serait pas en mesure de jouer à 100%. Attendu à Sydney la semaine suivante, il pourrait également faire une croix sur l’épreuve. Ce qui n’augure rien de bon quant à une participation à l’Open d’Australie (19 janvier-1er février).

En cas de nouveau délai, Del Potro pourrait finalement retrouver la compétition à Delray Beach, mi-février, puis enchaîner à Acapulco.

Translation :
Juan Martin del Potro won’t be back on tour next week in Brisbane. The Argentine, out from the ATP tour since last February because of a left wrist surgery, prefered to pull out of the Australian event.

According to ‘La Nacion’, del Potro is still suffering from his wrist and couldn’t play at 100%. Scheduled to play Sydney the very next week, he could also miss that tournament. That doesn’t bode well for a possible appearance at the Australian Open.

In case of a new withdrawal, del Potro could be back on tour at Delray Beach, mid-February, before then playing at Acapulco.

Wog Boy Says:

Bugger, I was looking forward seeing Delpo in Sydney:(

Brando Says:


Sorry but I completely and utterly disagree regarding 2011.

Fact is:

Novak Djokovic had a stellar year that’s now gone done as arguably the greatest season of all time.

When you go 64-1 in completed matches in any given year, under any incumbent number one’s reign you shall take that top spot off them.


So to hold that against Nadal, I feel, is rather ridiculous.

– ‘So in this regard we can speculate that being number 1 he wasn’t succesfully agaisnt Djokovic as he was when number #2.’:

I am sorry but in this regard the ranking is completely and utterly irrelevant and pointless.

The notion that Nadal’s ranking has alot to do with his performance against Djokovic is even quite ridiculous.

I am sorry to say, possibly even idiotic(side note: obviously I do not consider yourself that Daniel, I poster I enjoy reading and regard well).

I mean the very fact that Nadal has beaten the GOAT Roger Federer in the same fashion ranked 1,2, 3 or 4 without much change in performance is evident enough to suggest that actually Nadal’s ranking makes no difference or bearing to his performance against the players.

What does make a difference or bearing on his performance, quite obviously for him as all, is his physical fitness, general form etc.

Such issues care not for ranking, but rather your good fortune at the time.

– Now to this Djokovic question:

Sorry but his ranking is completely incidental to the situation here:

Everyone agrees that:

1. Pre 2011 Nadal had the better of this rivalry. The ranking quite obviously was not an issue then.

2. Djokovic had a barnstorming year in 2011. He surprised everyone, likely himself. It’s a year he has not since or before repeated.

Now had Nadal been 2,3 or 4 would have made no difference to his faring against Novak in that year, LOL.

It’s prepostoreous to chastise him for faring 0-6 v Novak as number one when quite clearly had he been 2,3 or 4 he would have still been 0-6.

Sorry but: It’s actually laughably ridiculous even.

Nadal fared poorly v Djokovic that year since- just like the rest of the tour that year till September- he just could not cope with Djokovic.

Novak was playing at a level no one really had seen, expected from him and Nadal was clueless as to how to respond since he- like the tour- was taken aback with this new game Djokovic was suddenly playing.

Him being number 1 made no difference to his performance since the number 2,3,4 all the way till 100 where getting spanked by Novak that year.

Sure: he got 0-6 but in 68 matches in 10 months the entire tour only managed one mere win v Novak!

One mere win in 10 months!

So to hold Nadal as a poor number one in the face of a player who was spanking the entire tour that time is IMO, utterly ridiculous.

– ‘but on the other hand he won most matches against his main rivals not as #1 so some can say he is not a good front runner as Djoko and Fed’:

Where is the evidence for such thinking?

I have clearly listed Nadal’s reign as number 1 and it’s clear to see:

He lost 2/3 top spot rankings due to compromised fitness issues. You agree to that.

The other was to Nole 2.0 in 2011: hardly a crime to lose your ranking to such a performance now is it?

Champions in the past have lost the top spot to a lot less interms of performance, so to chastise Nadal, I think, for losing his ranking to someone who is 66-1 in 10 months in completed matches is quite ridiculous to say the least.

And then there is h2h v top players as number one:

1. Djokovic:

I have clearly stated that in 2011 had Nadal been 2,3 or 4 his performance would have still been 0-6 v Novak in that given year.

There is ZERO EVIDENCE to suggest his ranking would have seen a change to score, lol.

So to even suggest his ranking was an issue v Novak interms of performance is quite ridiculous.

His ranking was a irrelevant factor. Period.

How did Nadal fare v Novak as number 1 the other 2 reigns then?

– First reign: 5-1 to NADAL.

Quite clearly being no.1 did not affect him v Djokovic. LOL.

– Third and last reign: 1-4 to DJOKOVIC.

In this regard though, as we all know, Nadal lost 2 matches in the fall of 2013 where we know historically he hardly wins regardless of his ranking (re titles) and then 2 matches in early this season where again, as we know, he had to grapple with fitness issues along with below par form for him.


The one Grand Slam match, a final, they played he won.

Quite clearly his ranking was not something that stopped him beating Novak on the big stage of Grand Slam finals.

So it’s quite clear to see:

It’s ridiculous to say NADAL’S ranking as number 1 compromises his performances against DJOKOVIC.

2011? His ranking clearly would have made no difference to his performance v Novak that year. It’s just incidental he was number 1.

And the other times at number one he’s actually a combined 6-5 v Novak meaning: he’s the majority of the matches.

And he won the 1 Grand Slam final they played.

Those are facts: which clearly show this theory is quite ridiculous and lacking in strong rationale.

And now Federer:

– Reign 1: 1-1

The only match he lost was MADRID final 2009, the day earlier he played a 4 hour semi final v Novak that many commentators have noted must have already helped his performance in this match.

I’d argue that- physical performance- not being number 1 would have affected him v Fed lol.

– Reign 2: 3-1 NADAL

The one loss was indoor’s.

How on earth did NADAL being number affect him here v Federer?

– Reign 3: 2- 0 NADAL

100% win: clearly he’s been affected by being number one right? LOL.


The facts clearly indicate that being number one makes little difference to Nadal’s performance against the top players, the only rivals he has for top spot:

Federer and Djokovic.

Against Federer he’s always kept on winning as per usual regardless of rank.

Djokovic? Quite clearly in 2011 his ranking would have made no difference to his performance, to suggest as such would be quite idiotic even.

Clearly his ranking was not an issue in that year: it’s just his tennis was not upto the level that had the entire tour eeking out 1 mere win in 10 months v Novak.

He was losing just like any other ranked player v Novak then. Period.

In the other 2 reigns combined Nadal has won more than he’s lost to Novak, even dominated him in one reign and won their only Slam match in that stretch.

Quite clearly enough to show that being Number 1 was hardly an issue for him v Novak.

Most of the facts, good, sound reason indicate that barring Nole 2.0 in 2011- a performance level that was 66-1 in 10 months v the ATP tour- Nadal’s fitness issues, NOT being number one (lol), are what have clearly hampered his reign at the top.

The facts, evidence and reason are there to support such a notion.

But there is no credible fact or reason to support most of the ridiculous, basesless assertions such as this claim:

”Maybe there is a psychological effect and he gets more injured when being number due to the extra mental fortitude required to jeep that ranking”.

key word there is ‘maybe’.

But that’s not good enough. Where is the evidence?

Are you honestly claiming that:

Nadal experienced a back spasm due to being number 1?

That he experienced knee issues in 2009 due to being number one? When faced with a tour he clearly was comfortably dominating?

It’s obviously a ridiculous claim, as there is no credible evidence cited by a medical expert or a tennis commentator, heck Nadal himself, as to how being number one makes him suddenly get back spasms, knee injuries and experience wrist injuries lol.

It’s laughable just thinking about it.

This is ONLY a claim held as truth by cynics who question NADAL (who else makes such laughable claims?) yet- as always-:

There is ZERO credible evidence to support these ridiculous claims.


Clearly shows how his reign at the top ended 3 times.


Show his performance against the best does not dip nor is too different from per usual against them when not at the top.

Yet the cynics hold true to this silly claim of NADAL being number 1 affecting his performance and health.

LOL: some people will convince them of anything I guess even if there is little to support their claims.

Brando Says:


Does anyone not find it silly to say that NADAL has psychological issues with being number one when the same player, NADAL, is also univerally regarded as the mentally toughest player to have ever played the game?

LOL, surely I cannot be the only one find that ridiculous.

IF only Nadal had been number 2 then he may not have experienced the knee injury of 2009, back spasm and loss of confidence in early 2014.

The pressures of being no.1 got the better of him and saw him lose to Ferrer, Almagro on Clay.


Humble Rafa Says:

Some people think if they write a 50,000 word post, it shows their intelligence and knowledge of tennis.

All you need to know can be said in a few words – one is a goat, other a goat owner.

GrandmaMyrtle Says:

Rafa is not only a better tennis player than Mr. Roger, but he is more handsome (hunk) and has better character. than Mr. Roger

Okiegal Says:

@Brando……I did hear the book was better than the movie…..which is usually the case. I was just amazed how he withstood the horribl

Okiegal Says:

Oops, Brando, sent that before I was finished…
I was amazed how he was able to withstand the horrible treatment he received. He was a tough cookie! Our local news interviewed a friend of his who now lives in Sherman, Texas. He said when Louie got home from the war that he started drinking heavily. He got religious and pulled his life together and was an upstanding citizen. As far as Jolie goes, she’s not a favorite of mine, but did like her movie. I love a true human interest story.

skeezer Says:

“Rafa is not only a better tennis player than Mr. Roger, but he is more handsome (hunk)…”

This confirms the rafafanatic syndrome. The bod is everything, the tennis is only a means to an ” end “.

Fed is the better Tennis player on this planet, but Rafa has the better butt, according to the all knowers.

Thanh Dinh Says:

The new his objective is to get more grand slam as much as possible before he retired.

GrandmaMyrtle Says:

Better Bod
Better tennis player
Better person

is Rafael!

Kathy Says:

Sienna said “Difference between Roger is huge. Roger plays for the love of the game. He wants to make tennis a better sport.”

Having read comments like this on numerous occaions, I thought he played for the love of the game, but it seems it’s more for the adulation of the crowds. He recently did an interview for the BBC and said,
that one of the reasons he keeps competing is that he is still able to play on the big stages.

“I definitely am fortunate to always be playing on Centre Court and very often prime time,” said the world No. 2. “I must say—and this is honest—I don’t know if I would still be playing if they would put me on Court 4 every day.”

I can’t see a problem with the comments made by Rafa. He is being honest and realistic with himself and that is what counts. Good luck to him. I hope to see him competing for a few more years.

sienna Says:

so in other words Fed always sthrives for the highest because that os how you get center court stages.
if you fail to see this difference in mental approach then it is certainly your loss.

Roger plays to be the best. Convinced he still has what it takes, even if that might not be the case. Djokovic has same mindset.

it is about leading the way and setting new goals and standards in tennis.

Rafa has throughout his career been underdog from where he fights a though and hard battle.
but even at garros they usually downplay their chances.
Rafa always the follower without Federer he would never have emerged to what he is. he could hunt but never lead.

that my friends is difference between alltime great and the one who stands above that.

Giles Says:

This seems to be the most popular thread at the moment so I will post my New Year wishes on here.
Wishing all the Tennis X staff and all the posters on here a very happy and healthy 2015.

Alexandra Says:

I’m sure Fed loves tennis, but to say he plays for the love of the game, whereas Rafa only plays for money is absolutely laughable. Federer has a much bigger ego, he loves being adored. His comments clearly suggest that.
So now Rafa saying he won’t be chasing No.1 is being disrespectful to the tennis community? How can anyone think like that? He probably knows he will always have to deal with injuries, and you can’t have that when you want to be No.1. That should be pretty clear to everyone. And by claiming Rafa is only an insignificant footnote you are discretiting yourself.

sienna Says:

read my comments.
I never said the things you say.

Hippy Chick Says:

Tennis-X staff,please remove that post at 4.31am,which is rather distastful, disrespectful,and totally uncalled for….

Hippy Chick Says:

Happy New year to all the Tennis-X staff,and my fellow posters….

Brando Says:


Great post.

To say Nadal is a footnote in Tennis history and that he also plays purely for self interest when others plays for love of the game, well, to say it is ridiculous actually feels like an understatement.

It’s outright, baseless rubbish being spoken.


If you consider who voices that comment-only one individual- and consider their history of posting you’ll understand why folks here choose to ignore that poster and particularly their views on Nadal.

When rampant hate of a bizarre kind exists: just ignore it.

Don’t pay attention to that drivel I suggest.

james Says:

Happy New Year everyone! All the best for 2015 :)

And…Vamos Rafa!

sienna Says:

Vamos Rafa! Vamos Rafa!
The guy just explaned he couldnot care less what happens in tennis.
#1 no longer a goal??

Tok tok tok ….

Giles Says:

Hey sienna. What language is “Tok tok tok”? What does it mean?

wilfried Says:

Tok, tok tok is dutch, Giles.
It’s a word that imitates the sound which chickens produce when they’re looking for food, or the sound we produce when we knock on a door or something hard or solid (an onomatopeaia).
The word doesn’t have a real meaning.

Giles Says:

Thanks Wilfried. And here I was thinking she was trying to say “talk talk talk”. Lol

Matador Says:

Matador will win 2,3 or even 4 more majors. This is ALL the matters, folks.
I think from now until 2017 he can break the record, the swiss recod. And climb to the highest mountain. If he is healthy enough, I think he can do it.

Top story: Rafael Nadal Confirms He'll Skip Wimbledon, Focus On Olympics