- Neither Roger Federer or Rafael Nadal in top four for first time since 2003
- The Spaniard is ranked fifth in the world with Federer down in seventh
- The rival pair have won 31 Grand Slam titles between them in the game
- Federer occupies No 7 while Nadal is currently fifth in the rankings
The last time Roger Federer and Rafael Nadal were both outside the world’s top four, Andre Agassi was No 1 and Roman Abramovich was about to purchase Chelsea FC for £150million.
That was back in June 2003 and on Monday — more than 13 years later — was the first time since then that neither the great Swiss or his Spanish rival were among the leading quartet.
Perhaps it will go down as the day that the era of the Big Four was officially over, as Japan’s Kei Nishikori overtook Nadal to take up fourth position in the rankings.
The two legends have not been permanent fixtures in the top four since 2003, but they have dovetailed to the point where at least one of them has always been in residence.
Federer dropped out for part of 2014 while Nadal tumbled as low as no 10 last year, having previously enjoyed a single digit ranking since April 2005.
It gives a different feel to the top of the rankings, and at age 35 and 30 their longevity among the elite has already been remarkable.
Federer plans to get back to what he sees as his rightful position when he resumes playing right at the start of next season in Australia, while Nadal could drop if he fails to make the last four of this week’s Shanghai Open.
Absent since being knocked out of the Wimbledon semi-finals by Milos Raonic in July, Federer, is at No 7.
Their absence gives a different feel to the top of the rankings. Federer plans to make his return at the Australian Open at the start of next year.
Nadal is still trying to qualify for the eight-man Barclays ATP World Tour Finals at the O2 Arena next month.