Rafael Nadal vs Novak Djokovic: A tie between two giants in the field

In the era of epic matches, Rafael Nadal and Novak Djokovic have produced many marathon battles. There are some standout matches that the two arch-rivals have played against each other. The French Open 2013 semi-final was one such pulsating contest between the two legends. However, why is the match regarded as one of the most remarkable matches in the history of Roland Garros?

Rafael Nadal heaps praise on Novak Djokovic after world number one adds to his majors tally - ABC News

Nadal first topped the ATP rankings in August 2008, after winning the Olympic gold medal in Beijing. He also concluded the year as No. 1 for the first time in his career.

My intention is to go to Tokyo' - Rafael Nadal adds his name into star-studded Olympics mix - Tennis365

Since then, the Spaniard has held the top rank for a total of 209 weeks. However, when compared to his arch-rival Novak Djokovic, it is far from outstanding.

Rafael Nadal | Biography, Titles, & Facts | Britannica

Djokovic first became World No. 1 in July 2011 after defeating his Spanish rival in the Wimbledon final in a four-set thriller, 6-4, 6-1, 1-6, 6-3, which would be remembered for ages.

New No. 1 Novak Djokovic beats Nadal for Wimbledon title

Since then, the Serb has held the top ranking for 392 weeks so far, making him the only player in history to do so. He broke Steffi Graf’s previous record of 377 weeks at the pinnacle of the sport just this year.

Novak Djokovic Scores 1000th Win: 'I'm Really Blessed and Privileged'

Meanwhile, Carlos Alcaraz has made quite a name for himself in the past two years. The youпg Spaniard has won two Grand Slam titles and became the World No. 1 after last year’s US Open, the first teenager in ATP history to do so.

Carlos Alcaraz Wins the 2022 U.S. Open | Vogue

He has stayed at the top spot for 36 weeks, and could have held it longer if Novak Djokovic had not taken it away from him at the 2023 US Open. 

In Carlos Alcaraz, Novak Djokovic Has a Much-Needed Gift: A Rival - The New York Times

In terms of the aforementioned context, the gap between the older Spaniard and Djokovic is 183 weeks, while the gap between Alcaraz and his compatriot is only 173.

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