Tough Times For Rodger Federer And Rafael Nadal
The passing of time and injuries can take a heavy toll on athletes but that said, tennis fans likely still did a double take Monday when they glanced at the men's rankings.
For the first time since 2003, both Roger Federer and Rafael Nadal, titans of the game who hold a combined 31 majors are outside the top four. Nadal sits at fifth, with Federer seventh.
They've each been outside the top four previously but never in tandem since the last week in June 2003, when Federer held down the No. 5 spot and a teenaged Nadal was 76th. Back then they weren't grand slam champions.
But Federer would land his first major by the time the next rankings were released in early July triumphing at Wimbledon and the Spaniard would follow suit a year later by capturing the French Open, the start of an unblemished five-season reign at Roland Garros.
Together they took part in what many consider to be the greatest tennis match of all-time, a five-set battle at the All England Club in 2008 when Nadal edged the Swiss 9-7 in the fifth set of the finale.
Their contrasting styles the power and left-handed spin of Nadal versus the smooth, attacking, all-around game of the right-handed Federer had onlookers savoring every matchup.
But now Federer is 35 and Nadal 30, with both struggling to win majors ahead of the likes of Novak Djokovic and Andy Murray. The last of Federer's 17 came at Wimbledon in 2012, while the last of Nadal's 14 resulted at the French Open in 2014.