Rafael Nadal Ends 2023 With Lowest Year-End Ranking Since 2002

Rafael Nadal Ends 2023 With Lowest Year-End Ranking Since 2002

by Nurein Ahmed

Rafael Nadal will finish the 2023 season with his lowest ATP year-end ranking in 21 years.

The legendary Spaniard cascaded over 400 spots in the latest rankings and occupies a lowly 664th spot after his season was blighted by a serious hip injury he picked up at the Australian Open.

This is Nadal's lowest ranking since April 29, 2002 - the day he made his ATP main draw debut in Mallorca. He was the World No. 762. Nadal's second-round match in Melbourne (in which he lost to Mackenzie McDonald) was the last he played in 2023.

In March, the man from Manacor lost his incredible streak of being ranked inside the world's Top 10 for around 17 and half years. Since he cracked the Top 10 in April 2005, Nadal remained there for 912 weeks - a record on the men's tour.

In total, Nadal played just four matches this year, with two of those coming at the inaugural United Cup. He lost both outings while representing Spain in singles. The 37-year-old shut down his season on the eve of Roland Garros in an emotional press conference.

Nadal revealed his intention to stop playing the sport at a professional level beyond 2024 and was saving his body for the farewell season. Initially, there were conflicting reports about whether he could play a part during the close season at the Davis Cup.

However, the Davis Cup Finals would have probably come a lot sooner. And Spain never actually qualified, so that possibility was quickly ruled out. Nadal underwent a complex surgery on the hip in early June and the procedure was a success.

He was able to resume light training after a few weeks out from rehab. Recently, Nadal has been actively preparing for the upcoming season by hitting on the court.

It is expected that he will play his first Grand Slam tournament at next year's Australian Open, but that will depend on his recovery process and if his body will sustain a best-of-five set match.

Nadal will definitely need a protected ranking to play in select ATP events. next season. But because of his iconic status and charisma, his phone will be beeping with wild card invitations.


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