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Rafael Nadal began his fourth stint at No. 1 on Monday. (AP)

10 Things to Know About Rafael Nadal Returning to No. 1 in the World

He’s not just one of the greatest tennis players of all time; he’s one of the greatest athletes of all time, period, and he’s back on top. In a season that’s seen him win his 15th Grand Slam title—and more impressively, his 10th career title at the French Open—Rafael Nadal is the world No. 1 again on Monday.

Here are 10 things to know about the Spaniard’s return to the top of the ATP World Tour rankings:

1. This will be his fourth stint at No. 1: Nadal’s first three stints as the world No. 1 went from August 18, 2008 to July 5, 2009; June 7, 2010 to July 3, 2011; and from October 7, 2013 to July 6, 2014.

2. He never fell out of the Top 10 since the last time he was No. 1: In spite of all of the injury layoffs since his last day at No. 1 more than three years ago, Nadal only fell as low as No. 10 in the time since. In fact, he’s been in the Top 10 every week since April 2005 (when he was 18 years old).

3. No man has ever had this much of a career span at No.1: From his very first day at No. 1 (August 18, 2008) to Monday (August 21, 2017), it’s been exactly nine years and three days, which is the longest span between first and most recent dates at No. 1 in the history of the ATP World Tour.

4. He will now begin his 142nd career week at No. 1: Those first three stints totalled 141 career weeks—the first one was 46 weeks, the second one was 56 weeks and the third one was 39 weeks.

5. He has the seventh-most weeks at No. 1 in ATP World Tour history: Nadal only trails Roger Federer (302 career weeks), Pete Sampras (286), Ivan Lendl (270), Jimmy Connors (268), Novak Djokovic (223) and John McEnroe (170).

6. He got No. 1 back in Cincinnati without even hitting a ball: Nadal and Federer were going to battle for No. 1 in Cincinnati, but with Federer withdrawing right before the tournament due to a back injury, Nadal was guaranteed of the top spot regardless of how he did at the Masters 1000 event.

7. He’s reached more finals than anyone this year: Nadal’s been to an ATP World Tour-leading seven finals in 2017, winning four (Monte Carlo, Barcelona, Madrid and Roland Garros) and finishing runner-up three times (Australian Open to Federer, Acapulco to Sam Querrey and Miami to Federer).

8. He’s in pole position for his fourth year-end No.1 finish: Nadal has been the year-end No. 1 three times before, in 2008, 2010 and 2013. He’s the only Spaniard to finish No. 1 in ATP World Tour history.

9. But No. 1 will be on the line again at the U.S. Open: Federer and Andy Murray will both have a shot at taking No. 1 back from Nadal in New York, but the Spaniard has it for at least three weeks now.

10. The Big Four maintains its No. 1 stranglehold: This week will be the 707th week in a row that Nadal, Federer, Djokovic or Murray will be No. 1 (ever since Federer first got it on February 2, 2004).

Read more articles by John Berkok

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