In a career littered with glittering milestones, it comes as no surprise that Roger Federer notched up yet another tennis record this week. But with all the attention on his navigation through Indian Wells’ ‘Group of Death’, it’s also no surprise that most people missed this landmark in his tennis career.
‘Well, what was it?’ we hear you cry. Why, it was the ridiculously impressive fact that Roger Federer has now been in the ATP Top 50 for 875 consecutive weeks – longer than any other player. Yes, you read that correctly. Roger, or GOAT as a lot of people like to call him, entered the world’s Top 50 in June 2000 at the tender age of 18. He’s still there 875 weeks later, and shows no signs of going anywhere anytime soon.
As any regular reader of Friday Fives would know, we have a tendency to latch on to something like this (and many things far less impressive). And so, in homage to yet another record for Roger, here are the five men who have spent the longest in the world’s Top 50.
‘Pistol’ Pete cracked the world’s Top 50 in 1990 – the same year that he won his first Major, the US Open. He would stay there until 2002, the year he won his fourteenth (and final) Major, once again the US Open. Sampras may be fifth on the all-time list, but he has the highest ratio (40%) of weeks in the Top 50 (710) to weeks at No.1 (286).
After turning pro in 1979 Ivan Lendl raced towards the top of the rankings, winning seven titles in 1980 and ten in 1981. He had to wait for his first Major though (French Open 1984). Needless to say, he was a permanent fixture in the Top 50 until his retirement in 1994. Of the 801 weeks he spent in the Top 50, 270 of those were at No.1.
A prodigy from the off, McEnroe won the French Open doubles as an amateur before signing a professional contract in 1978 and winning five titles. A glittering career ensued that included nine Major titles and 170 weeks as the world’s No.1 player.
One of the true greats of the sport. Jimmy Connors turned pro in 1972 and won his first tournament. During a career that spanned 24 years, Connors notched up 268 weeks at world No.1 (including 160 consecutively), eight Major titles, and an ATP leading 1256 singles victories.
It took Roger Federer a bit of time to crack the world’s Top 50. After turning pro in 1998 he entered the Top 100 in September 1999 and the Top 50 in June 2000. Since then, Roger has been a permanent fixture in the Top 50. During the 875 weeks that Federer has been mixing it with the world’s best, he has spent 302 weeks at No.1 (35% of his time in the Top 50), won 18 Major titles and notched up 1091 singles wins.
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