Federer's and Sampras' weekly ATP Rankings since their first No. 1 ranking

How did the weekly ATP Rankings for both players evolve since they first reached the No. 1 spot? For clarity's sake: Sampras was 1 year younger when he reached the No. 1 spot for the first time, but the graph below shows both players' rankings from their first No. 1 position. The most striking elements on this graph are the similar domination during the first 6,5 years, the exile to 2nd rang before the return to No. 1 and Sampras' faster decline after the 8th year.


Federer & Sampras : ATP ranking since first n1

Dominant years

Both players dominated the first 6,5 years after they first reached the No. 1 ranking :

In these 6,5 years, Federer was never ranked lower than No. 2 and was dethroned only once. Sampras suffered more frequent interruptions and he fell lower, but his interruptions were shorter, which allowed him to grab the year-end No. 1 spot for 6 consecutive times. Federer's single interruption costed him one year-end title, but the Suisse realised the longest Nr. 1 streak ever, more than twice as long as Sampras' longest streak.

Here's the balance of the first 6,5 years, from their first No. 1 to the last week before the longer exiles started :


Player No. 1 No. 2

No. 3

Total Longest streak Interruptions


276 weeks
53 weeks
7 weeks
336 weeks
102 weeks
285 weeks
46 weeks
0 weeks
331 weeks
237 weeks


First year without crowns

After 6,5 years, both players for the first time were deprived from the No. 1 spot for more than an entire year. Federer fell back to No. 3 for the first time since his first No. 1 ranking. Sampras too was pushed back to No. 3 and even to the No. 7 position (for 1 week). Both players made a come-back to No. 2 before the end of the 7th year though.

After 7 years, glory days seemed to be gone: both players fell to No. 3 again. Federer would remain No. 3 for the next year, except for one short decline to No. 4. Sampras suffered 2 short exiles to No. 4 but would return to No. 1 one year earlier than Federer, between year 7 and 8, after Agassi's longest streak (52 weeks). Federer at that time would hit 'rock bottom' (still No. 4 though), suffering his first Top 3 exit almost 8 years after his first No. 1 spot - 1 year later than Sampras.

Sampras' earlier decline

Soon after Sampras' 10 last weeks atop the ATP rankings, the decline became irreversible. Within a year, he exited Top 10 to return only shortly. At a moment that Sampras had already exited Top 10, Federer recaptured the No. 1 spot, one year after his exile to his lowest ranking (No. 4) since he first reached No. 1.

When Federer fell back to No. 4, it seemed his rankings could only go down from then on. He hadn't won a major for almost two years. Djokovic had just won his 3rd Grand Slam title of 2011. Nadal had won 3 majors in 2010. Other young players like Tsonga, Murray and Berdych had raised their level too. But instead of the near and 'final' decline announced by many, Federer from the end of 2011 on stormed the ATP Rankings. With his 7th Wimbledon title in 2012, he would regain the No. 1 spot, two years after his previous No. 1 ranking.

Equivalent to Sampras' final decline, Federer's rankings started to fade after his final 17 weeks atop the ATP rankings. However, after a disastrous 2013 (by his standards) which pushed him out of the Top 4 for the first time in 9 years, the Suisse seems to have refound his 2nd (or 3rd) youth and is climbing the graphs once more. When Sampras had already exited Top 20, Federer made it back to No. 4.

Federer avoiding the decline Sampras suffered, might be a little unexpected, given the facts that :


Sampras might have collected more year-end Nr. 1 titles, but Federer has been a more omnipresent and more undisputed No. 1 on the weekly rankings :




Last Update 03/04/2014 | Site Map | ©2010 B@snick