Rafael Nadal dropped out of the top four of men’s tennis for the first time since 2005, while Serena Williams moved to No. 2 on the rankings of the women’s tour.
Eleven-time major singles champion Nadal, who has been sidelined with a knee injury since June, slipped one spot to No. 5 on the rankings of the ATP World Tour published today.
David Ferrer, who reached the last four at the Australian Open, is now the highest-ranked Spaniard at No. 4. The top three is unchanged from two weeks ago. Novak Djokovic of Serbia remains the world’s best male tennis player after he took his third straight Australian Open title against Britain’s Andy Murray yesterday. Wimbledon champion Roger Federer of Switzerland, who was beaten by Murray in the semifinals, is ranked second, while Murray is third.
Williams moved up one spot to close in on Victoria Azarenka of Belarus, who secured the No. 1 ranking by retaining her Australian Open title two days ago. French Open winner Maria Sharapova of Russia dropped one place to No. 3 after losing in the semifinals in Melbourne to Li Na of China, who climbed one spot to No. 5.
American teenager Sloane Stephens, who made headlines in Melbourne by ousting Williams on her way to her first Grand Slam semifinal, jumped eight places to No. 17.
Seven-time French Open winner Nadal, 26, missed the London Olympics, the U.S. Open and this month’s Australian Open as he struggled with a knee injury, and shortly before Melbourne, a stomach virus.
The former world No. 1 is scheduled to make his comeback to the Tour on Feb. 4 at Vina del Mar, Chile. He’s also committed to playing in Sao Paulo a week after that, and in Acapulco, Mexico, on Feb. 25. All these events are on clay, where Nadal’s had his most success, winning 36 titles.
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