ATP world No 1 gallery: Three-week Daniil Medvedev and other short stints at the top

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Pat Rafter

Daniil Medvedev was ATP world No 1 for just three weeks. He was pragmatic about this brief tenure at the top.

“Is it better to be No 1 for, let’s say, one week in your life or never touch it?” asked Medvedev after he was defeated by Gael Monfils at the Indian Wells Masters. “I think it’s still better to at least touch it,” he answered himself.

Who else been at the top of the ATP Rankings for brief periods?

Mats Wilander first reached the No 1 ranking in September 1988. He had the helm for 20 weeks in total. The Swedish star won the French Open and Australian Open three times each across a prolific career.

Mats Wilander was world No 1 for 20 weeks. He clinched 33 career titles and was inducted into the International Tennis Hall of Fame in 2002.

American Andy Roddick was at the helm for 13 weeks. He first got there in November 2003. Roddick’s biggest career achievement, outside of being world No 1, was winning the US Open in 2003, which propelled him to the top while he also finished runner-up at Wimbledon three times.

American Andy Roddick spent 13 weeks at the top of the rankings. He won 32 career titles and joined the International Tennis Hall of Fame in 2017.

Boris Becker closed January 1991 by moving into top position. He had the helm for a dozen weeks in total. The German had won Wimbledon three times before reaching No 1.

Boris Becker was world No 1 for 12 weeks. He clinched 15 career titles. Becker, from Germany, joined the International Tennis Hall of Fame in 2003, having won six Grand Slam singles titles.

Russian Marat Safin reached No 1 in November 2000. It was the pinnacle for a great talent who had turned professional in 1997. He held the post for nine weeks in total with his 2000 US Open win the big reason for topping the world rankings.

Marat Safin was world No 1 for nine weeks. He won 15 career titles and was the first Russian to be inducted into the International Tennis Hall of Fame.

Australian John Newcombe was at the top for eight weeks in total. He first got there in the middle of 1994. Newcombe won the Australian Open and US Open twice each – and Wimbledon thrice.

John Newcombe was world No 1 for eight weeks. He won 68 career titles – 41 of which are open era titles listed by ATP. The Australian joined the International Tennis Hall of Fame in 1986.

Spain’s Juan Carlos Ferrero, like Newcombe many years before him, spent just eight weeks at the top. He first got there in 2003, when he won the French Open.

Juan Carlos Ferrero won 16 career titles. He was world No 1 for eight weeks. The Spain star was a Wimbledon quarter-finalist in 2007 and 2009.

Austrian Thomas Muster spent six weeks as No 1. He first got there in February 1996. He won the French Open in 1995 – and suffered four first-round exits at Wimbledon prior.

Thomas Muster was world No 1 for six weeks. He became the first Austrian to win a Grand Slam singles title. That was the French Open in 1995.

Chile star Marcello Rios had six weeks at the top. Rios is the only player on the list not to win a Grand Slam with a runners-up finish at the 1998 Australian Open his best showing. He eventually retired with 18 career titles.

Marcello Rios was world No 1 for six weeks. Rios was the first Latin American to reach No 1 – and holds the record as the only player to have been No 1 as a junior, professional and senior.

May 1999 first brought Russian Yevgeny Kafelnikov the No 1 ranking. Kafelnikov had the top spot for six weeks for total. He won the Australian Open in 1999 and the French Open in 1996 while he exited the US Open during the semi-finals in 1999.

Yevgeny Kafelnikov was world No 1 for six weeks. He was inducted into the International Tennis Hall of Fame in 2019 after clinching 26 career titles.

Medvedev might return to No 1 in the future, but for now only has his three weeks across February and March 2022 for reference. It was short-lived, indeed, but there have been briefer.

Daniil Medvedev was world No 1 for three weeks. He could add to this tally. The Russian won the US Open in 2021. He lost in the Australian Open final in 2021 and 2022.

Carlos Moya was the world No 1 for just two weeks. He reached the pinnacle in March 1999 and never returned to top spot. He was runner-up at the 1997 Australian Open and won the 1998 French Open.

Carlos Moya was world No 1 for two weeks. He retired with 20 career titles. His French Open triumph in 1998 was his only Grand Slam success.

The player with the shortest stint as No 1 is Australian Pat Rafter. That single week started in late July 1999. He won the US Open in 1997 and 1998.

Pat Rafter was world No 1 for only one week. He is a member of the International Tennis Hall of Fame and Sport Australia Hall of Fame.

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