RAFA RETAINS RECORD
During the last few days there has been a fair amount of justified talk about position changes in the men’s world rankings.
Novak Djokovic has created a new record for the most weeks as world No.1 having started his 378th week at the top which passes the record of 377 weeks Stefanie Graf held for so long and which Djokovic was locked at for a week. Then there was the interest of Taylor Fritz becoming the first American man to break the top 5, at five, for the first time since 2009.
However, on the flip side a streak and record held by Rafa Nadal seemed to be coming to an end only to be kept alive. The week starting 27 February saw Nadal begin a staggering 910th consecutive week in the top 10. Roger Federer never achieved that. Novak Djokovic has not achieved that.
When you break that down into years, it amounts to 17.5 years. That is true greatness and consistency especially when you consider how often Nadal has been riddled with injuries.
He was put in the precarious position of losing his streak because he lost very early at the Australian Open due to injury, stopping him from defending all the 2,000 points he claimed in 2022 for winning the tournament. Then he withdrew from Dubai because of the same injury and that stopped him from trying to retain the 500 points he gained last year when he won in Acapulco.
There are three players from the younger generation that could have had a say in what happened with Rafa’s ranking. All three of these scenarios had to occur otherwise he would remain in the top 10 for the weeks starting 6th and 13th March: 1. No.10 Holger Rune is playing in Acapulco and must reach the semis, 2. No.9 Felix Auger-Aliassime and No.11 Hubert Hurkacz, who won Marseille, are playing in Dubai – a) FAA needs to reach at least the quarters and b) Hurkacz must reach the final.
Nadal has 3,315 points so if all three of the above happened he would have slipped out of the top 10 by a mere five points as Auger-Aliassime would then have had 3,335 points, Rune 3,321 points and Hurkacz 3,320 points.
However, thanks to Lorenzo Sonego, Rafa will stay in the top 10 because Sonego beat Felix Auger-Aliassime in the second round and missed the quarters by one round. But it is probably just prolonging the inevitable as Nadal is out of the BNP Paribas Open where he was runner-up a year ago so those point will not be defended and that is likely to be the factor which sees his record stop.
2023 BNP PARIBAS OPEN
It is one of the most highly regarded tournaments in the world and a slew of awards are proof of that. The BNP Paribas Open, the year’s first 1000 level tournament will once again grace the Indian Wells Tennis Garden, 6-19 March, with Taylor Fritz and Iga Swiatek return to defend the titles they won a year ago.
That victory by Fritz, the biggest title of his career, ended a 21-year drought of American male winners when he snapped Rafa Nadal’s win streak on the year to then, while for Swiatek, it was her fifth career title.
“The 2023 edition of Tennis Paradise is shaping up to be the best one yet,” Tournament Director and former player Tommy Haas said. “With a completely revamped retail experience, a host of new fan activations and events, and of course – the best tennis players in the world competing for the title, we couldn’t be more excited to welcome fans to the Indian Wells Tennis Garden.”
Owned by Larry Ellison, one of the top 10 richest people in the world, this is certainly one of the most attractive venues on the whole tennis circuit and it is a tournament worth visiting. The centre court is the second largest purpose built court in the world after the Arthur Ashe Stadium at the US Open.
One of the most attractive features of the BNP Paribas Open is how up close and personal fans can get to the action, whether it be matches on the outside courts or around the practice courts which frequently attract throngs of people.
From live entertainment to fine dining from shopping to some of the best tennis action, the BNP Paribas Open, billed as the biggest two-week combined event outside the four majors is, yet again, the place to be for tennis in March.
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Felix Auger Aliassime
Holger Noedskov Rune