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5 ATP Records Likely To Never Be Broken

Professional tennis has had several different eras, and many consider the ATP era to be the true mark of the prime competition. Beginning in 1973, the ATP Tour has made it so that all of the best players in the world compete against each other to determine a ranking system based on points. Along the way, there have been some notable records, some of which may never be broken. Here are five of those records that are likely to be around for many years to come.

1. Consecutive Weeks At No. 1

Becoming the number one player in the world is the dream of every tennis player that turns professional. However, only a select few have ever been able to say that they were the top-ranked player in the world, even if for just one week. Then, you have Roger Federer, who grabbed the top spot from Andy Roddick in February 2004 after winning the Australian Open and didn’t look back for years.

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Federer didn’t lose his number-one ranking until August 2008 when Rafael Nadal replaced him at the top. This meant that Federer’s run surpassed Jimmy Connors’ previous record at 160 weeks. All in all, Federer spent 237 weeks as the world’s number-one player, setting a mark that’s almost impossible to beat.

2. Most No. 1 Players In A Year

When a player grabs the number one ranking in tennis, they’re expected to hang around at that spot for at least a couple of months. In the earlier days of the ATP rankings, though, there would often be some fighting back and forth to determine number one. This was especially true in 1983 when the top spot changed hands 10 times throughout the year.

Jimmy Connors came into the year as the world’s number-one player, losing the spot in January to John McEnroe. Connors and McEnroe went back and forth for months, with multiple reigns as short as one week. McEnroe had the longest reign of the year at 17 weeks while a third entrant, Ivan Lendl, had reigns of six and 11 weeks. 

3. Total Weeks At No. 1

Roger Federer’s record for consecutive weeks at number one is extremely impressive and makes up a bulk of the number of weeks he held the top position in the rankings. However, Federer spent 310 weeks altogether during his illustrious career at number one before retiring, and that number isn’t close to the record for most total weeks at number one.

That honor belongs to Novak Djokovic and his several long reigns at the top. Djokovic has such a stranglehold on the record that Federer would not only have to come out of retirement but hold the number one spot for well over a year without giving it up to surpass Djokovic. Even a legend like Rafael Nadal would around four more total years to surpass Djokovic.

4. Time Between First and Last No. 1 Rankings

Tennis is a sport that skews incredibly young, with the prime of most careers wrapping up before a player turns 30. It seems that the best players in tennis history are able to dominate well into their 30s, but there are only three in the rankings’ history that have achieved their first and last number-one ranking more than a decade apart, and it’s probably the three that you expect.

Novak Djokovic, Rafael Nadal, and Roger Federer are the three that have accomplished this feat. However, it’s Federer that set the standard for longevity. Federer became the world’s number one in February 2004 for the first time and achieved his final number one ranking in June 2018. That’s a span of 14 years and 142 days, a mark that is unlikely to be matched.

5. No. 1 Without Winning A Grand Slam

Back in that wild 1983 season that we mentioned earlier, Ivan Lendl was one of three men to grab the number one ranking. Lendl did that without winning a grand slam, though. The following year, Lendl got his first career grand slam win, making it so that only one man in ATP history has earned number one without winning one in their career.

That distinction belongs to Marcelo Rios of Chile. In early 1998, Rios made it to the finals of the Australian Open to propel himself to number one. He retired in 2004 without winning a grand slam, making him the only number one to do so.

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